Lara Smiles tours the world with the Australian Pink Floyd Show AND gets her air-time for her own music.
Lara collaborates with producers and DJs including Groove Armada and has performed at the Glastonbury Festival 3 times.
As a busy artist, performer and collaborator, she shares her top industry tips and career highlights with VoiceCouncil:
First ever gig you played?
My first proper gig was at a pub called the Leviathan in Watford. I was so nervous I drunk a lot of brandy beforehand as someone told me it was good for the voice, that was a mistake!
Best gig you’ve ever played?
I’ve sung with Aussie Floyd for over 5 years now and all the gigs with them have been an amazing experience, singing in front of thousands of people gives you a real natural high. I think the best one for me was at The Bell Centre in Canada, I sung Great gig in the sky for the first time and it was a big one!
Wouldn’t go on stage without…?
Wouldn’t go on tour without…?
My steamer, lip balm and chewing gum. I have some sort of OCD with lip balm and chewing gum and need these before I go on stage. I find chewing gum helps warm up my mouth and the brand Airwaves helps any congestion.
Do you have time to work on your own material whilst touring with The Australian Pink Floyd Show?
I do have some time in the day. I love writing and travelling, it helps get the inspiration flowing.
How do you make that time work for you?
I take my laptop with me and I use logic to put some ideas down. I usually work before sound check and in my bunk after the gigs. We get a hotel room on the days off so I work on my songs then too.
What apps do you use that keep you musical and into music?
I use the voice memo app on my iphone to get ideas down, it’s very handy!
Do you have a song writing system?
I write in many ways, sometimes starting with a cool drum sample. I find it easy to make vocal and guitar melodies up around drums and percussion. Recently I’ve been using the music software logic, it has some great synth samples on there.
Where do you find inspiration?
I take inspiration from everyday life. I like to listen to people’s problems or joys. I use the YouTube app and I listen to the radio a lot, especially BBC Radio 6 where they play a mixture of new and old bands and singers.
Top advice for collaborating with someone?
If you’re writing with someone and it’s a song for yourself make sure you don’t lose focus on how you want it to be. I find writing with people difficult sometimes as I’m trying to please them and we end up negotiating on lyrics and melodies and this can sometimes lead to a song that I don’t want to use.
Lessons you have learnt the hard way?
Do everything yourself, you can’t rely on anyone. I’ve had managers in my time promising this and that but it’s all really down to you. If you’re in a band, get tight, do some gigs then record the song. I’ve gone straight into recording a song that I’ve not really played live and when I’ve come to playing it live it doesn’t sound anything like the recording
What troubles do you find as a female musician and DJ in the industry?
The industry can be very sexist, especially in the rock world. We are slowly evolving though and there seems to be more female singers and musicians selling out headline shows than ever before. I must say though, listening to radio X has been very frustrating as they very rarely have female singers on their show. On average they play one female singer an hour.
If I had to pick one, it would have to be Tina Turner. She’s one of my idols. I love that her voice is so original and you know it’s her when she comes on the radio. Also she’s so diverse, she could literally sing anything, she can sound soft and beautiful and then really let rip when she wants to.
Favorite piece of gear?
I’ve recently bought a AKG414 XLS2 mic for recording with. It has a lovely clear and deep sound to it.
Biggest dream yet to be accomplished?
I feel like I’ve met my dream singing in The Australian Pink Floyd Show but it’s natural to want more so the next step for me is a small tour with my own band.
Fusing an avant-garde mix of indie and electro, Lara’s music is guitar-driven, synth-inspired and brimming with colourful layers of alt-pop. In recent years, having caught the eye of BBC and international DJs, Lara’s music has so far received extensive airplay on radio stations in the UK and across the world.
Find out more about Lara Smiles on her website.