Dustin Chats With Lauren Babic

Dustin Chats With Lauren Babic
Photos By Dustin Luttrell

Vocalist of Red Handed Denial, CrazyEightyEight, multi-Grammy award-winning Skylimit, and all-around badass. Coming fresh from a successful Europe tour with Halocene, I had the pleasure of asking the highly talented Lauren Babic

Dustin: First of all, how have you settled into your first year in America?

Lauren: It’s been very fulfilling! Being in Music City is a welcomed change for me. A little piece of my heart will always remain in Toronto, though! I still manage to go back up North to see the RHD boys and cook with them.

Dustin: What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality?

Lauren: My three big inspirations and hobbies are gaming, movies, and anime. I always do a yearly rewatch of my all-time favorite movies – the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love drawing ideas from stories I relate to. My life is currently being consumed by Baldur’s Gate 3.

Dustin: How did working with League of Legends happen, and how fun was writing "Zeri"?

Lauren: I’m still in disbelief that I got to work on one of my favorite video games. The lead composer for the song, Justin Walsh, emailed me and said he found me through CrazyEightyEight, which is a massive bonus point! I thought that was so cool. At first, I thought the email was too good to be accurate, but I verified that it was genuine. I got the initial concept artwork and lore for "Zeri," which helped me conceptualize the lyric direction. Justin and I collaborated and refined the melodies and lyrics together. We did about 2-3 vocal revisions; the rest is history!

Dustin: How do you think the music industry has changed since you started?

Lauren: Oh wow, this is a loaded question, haha. There has been a massive shift in how people find and consume music. I’ve been fortunate to coast on my YouTube success and keep snowballing my song catalog, but I couldn’t imagine starting NOW. There has never been more onus on the artists to market themselves (even big record labels are struggling with this), mostly with short-form content. In my opinion, it has pros and cons – this has made artists more relatable than ever BUT, simultaneously, has sacrificed quality. Gone are the days of conceptual higher-budget music videos for promotion, especially since social media is about quantity. Picking up your phone and making a 20-second video has never been easier. For me, I’ve always rejected quantity and have always focused on quality. Ultimately, I think this has made me a better artist with longevity, and I’ve been able to hone my craft for good art instead of views. In my heart, good music will find its way to people. You’d be astounded how many TikTok artists have millions of followers but have no idea how to create an entire song and monetize their work. It’s ridiculous right now!

Dustin: What is your creative process like when writing and recording new music?

Lauren: I like to work in organized chaos, haha. It always feels like I have a million loose ends to tie up, but I always try to work when inspired. Things need to get done, but if I’m stoked about a project, it will always result in a better product. When it’s time to record vocals, I must be in a good headspace that day; otherwise, I’ll work on other things. Writing is the same. After I finished the new Red Handed Denial album, I learned so much about general songwriting and got to flex my lyric-writing muscle daily. Writing with Skylimit was also super eye-opening. Writing with a time constraint was difficult, but I felt like I leveled up.

Dustin: What do you hope listeners take away from your music?

Lauren: I’m just happy to be here. Doing what I love is a privilege, and I hope people can feel my gratitude through the songs.

Dustin: How do you balance artistic expression with commercial appeal when creating new music?

Lauren: Commercial appeal is very subjective, especially with the rise of independent artists. There has been a massive shift from the conventional “image appeal,” which is nice. I think we are getting more authenticity from a lot of independents. My mantra has always been to do whatever I want when I want. No one will ever be in control of what I wear or what I do. Music will always come first.

Dustin: What was it like working with a guy like Chris Liepe on your vocal course?

Lauren: Chris Liepe is exceptional! As we planned and filmed the course, I learned much about my voice, which is a massive testament to his talent and guidance. It was an absolute pleasure, and I hope people know a lot about the course! We had live seminars with our students who signed up for the top tier of the course, and I could have cried seeing how much everyone was improving and learning.

Dustin: 2023 seemed like a massive year for you. Can we see a focus shift to more original music or maintain a balance of covers and originals? More RHD and CrazyEightyEight?

Lauren: There will be original music from ALL my projects – solo, RHD, C88, and even Skylimit. It’s going to be a massive year for original music. I still have covers lined up to fill in the gaps.

Dustin: You have a massive social media following, sold-out European shows, and your vocal course with Chris Leipe. How do you keep finding new ways and make new goals when you have already achieved so much?

Lauren: I’ve made sure to practice gratitude and look back on achievements. It’s easy to keep looking ahead, but being in the moment and soaking it all in is super important. My new and old listeners have been part of my lifeblood, and we’ve made a cute little community. It’s easy to take this all for granted. Every day, I am just happy to make still music that makes me happy and other people happy.

Dustin: What can we expect 2024 to look like for Lauren Babic?

Lauren: Lots of original music and some shows!

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