In conversation with Lauren Jauregui
Interview by Jana Letonja
Multi-platinum Cuban-American singer-songwriter Lauren Jauregui has projected her voice across popular culture, including collaborations with everyone from Halsey and Steve Aoki to Ty Dolla Sign and Russ. Her sophomore EP ‘In Between’ was released on 26th May.
set & necklace MUGLER X H&M
shoes STEVE MADDEN
Lauren, your new EP ‘In Between’, which was just released, dives inward to craft an ode to the process of becoming one’s true, whole self. Tell us more about the inspiration and meaning of this EP.
This project is I feel titled pretty appropriately. It is a collection of songs, opened by a spoken word piece also titled ‘In Between’, which I think really captures what this project means. The ‘In Between’ is the space before you fully arrive,so these are pieces of figuring out and releasing to be honest. I’ve held these songs for 5 years, so it’s good to just let them go and for everyone to be able to hear and feel and live with them.
Your new single from the EP, ‘Wolves’, features Ty Dolla Sign and Russ. It marks your first collaboration with Ty Dolla Sign since 2017. How was it collaborating with him again, after such a long time?
I have a lot of respect for both Ty and Russ as artists and humans and I consider them both friends of mine. They’re two people who have always uplifted, supported, shown up and helped guide my spirit in this industry, so working with them on this song was an easy choice, especially back in 2018 when it was made. I’m grateful they both still believed in it the way I did and still do. The message is timeless. It’s about finding your light and purpose and allowing yourself to chase your dreams and visions outside of the constructs and BS they feed us.
dress MIRROR PALAIS
shoes STEVE MADDEN
jewels MUD PEARL
The first two released singles from the EP are a poignant ballad ‘Always Love’ and vulnerable and intimate ‘Trust Issues’. What are the stories behind these two personal and deep singles?
They both are branches on the same tree of time. ‘Always Love’ is an ode to unconditional love and the way that I love. I wrote it when I was trying to process my feelings of a breakup. And ‘Trust Issues’ stemmed from the same period of healing, where people start entering your life or you’re lightly dating again, but you’re warning this lover that you’re probably not in the best time to be getting too involved in a relationship.
Your first album ‘Prelude’ showcased every side of you with no shortage of spirit, sensuality, style and soul. How does ‘In Between’ differ from it? And in what ways does it connect to it?
To me ‘Prelude’ and ‘In Between’ are sisters. They’re songs that came from the same version of me. The naive, stubborn, healing, grateful, excited, scared, passionate, present, ambitious dreamer that allowed me to get to where I am today and these songs are her exploring her healing, heart and self. They would’ve been part of the same project once upon a time to introduce myself, but I’m not her anymore. I’ve grown and she’s evolved, but these songs are still as much a part of my journey as the ones that will come from who I’ve been since you all last heard from me. So they had to be heard.
dress ANN DEMEULEMEESTER
bracelets & earrings ALEXIS BITTAR
Who are your biggest musical inspirations and influences and why?
I honestly have a really wide range if I’m being real. I’m heavily inspired by pop, r&b, alternative rock music. I love salsa, boleros and reggaetón. I was heavily influenced by growing up in Miami and around my dad who was in a bunch of bands and always playing the drums and music in the house. I love a whole wide range of things. It’s hard for me to fit into a box, but if I think of who I’m inspired by, I’m inspired by all the badass songstresses, songwriters and producers like Hayley Williams, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Summer Walker, SZA, Kali Uchis, Jhene Aiko, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, P!nk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Kaytranada, Shakira, Celia Cruz. I like people who tell their stories through their music. I love Jazz too. I’m hard to pin, which is my strength and weakness I suppose. I’m versatile.
You’ve collaborated with many artists, from Halsey to Steve Aoki to Ty Dolla Sign and Russ, who are all from different genres. How do you choose who you’re going to collaborate with? What makes it exciting to create outside of your genre?
I don’t believe I’ve defined a genre for myself as of yet. Like I mentioned, I’m influenced by energy from a lot of different genres, so getting to explore making music with artists I’m friends with and look up to and am inspired by is really my only goal with collaborations. Having fun and creating interesting things with other creatives is a blessing.
Tell us more about your songwriting process. What usually inspires you the most when writing songs?
I feel very inspired by love and being alive. The sounds and whatever the producer and I are feeling that day usually drive the direction the song goes in. I love exploring a concept from beginning to end and for the music to align with the words. I usually start off with a track and then build the melodies by playing around until I find what I like and then write the words.
dress MARINE SERRE
Being in the spotlight can be challenging? How do you deal with it?
I’ve been doing this for a while, so I think at a certain point there was acceptance. I’m grateful to do what I love and I focus on the real love and support around me. Just stay grounded and true to myself at all times.
Lauren, you also actively speak up for social justice initiatives, including human rights, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. What are your views and opinions on these pressuring matters?
Well, that’s a vague question, but I think my overall opinion in reference to the why is just that I believe we are all worthy of safety and a right to live life joyously and as ourselves, no matter our identity. I believe we all deserve to have the right to life, freedom, clean water and foods, shelter and autonomy over our bodies and minds. That’s what I believe and I just try my best to speak that truth to power as often as I can when handed a mic. I also believe it’s extremely important to be as loud about love as possible for this world to even remotely begin to shift into one where that can be a reality for everyone.
Now that your new EP is out, what is coming up next? Can you share a bit about your upcoming projects.
I’m focused on ‘In Between’ right now. She’s really fresh and new in the world, so I’m going to let her take a breath and live a little. In the meantime, I’ll be creating for my debut album while traveling a bit this summer and I’ll be going on tour in the Fall.
dress TIA ADEOLA
shoes STEVE MADDEN
earrings ALEXIS BITTAR
talent LAUREN JAUREGUI @laurenjauregui
photographer BRIANNA ALYSSE @brialysse
photo editor KWAMI LEE @notemplate.xyz
stylist RAZ MARTINEZ @itsmerazzie
make-up VITTORIO MASECCHIA @vittoriomasecchiabeuty
hair NATHANIEL DEZAN @nathanieldezan
producer DANIELLE HAWKINS @daniellehstyles @tunnelmediagroup
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja