Lauren Monroe on the Necessity of BIG LOVE and Global Healing
– An in-depth INTERVIEW with an Altruistic ROCK Star
We’re in 2020 right now, and from a bird’s eye view, it is evident that things are not the way nature intended them to be. The answers to all of our questions and solutions are right in front of us, underneath our feet, and above us – all we need to do is slow up, focus, and connect humanely to start the healing process. Music is one tool that gets the ball rolling in the direction to heal because it is universal in transcending genders, languages, and cultures. One artist that is creating music that encompasses this type of healing is Lauren Monroe. I had the honor to interview this altruistic Rock star. In this in-depth interview, fans will see how this singer, songwriter, musician, activist, and humanitarian, is placing down footprints for society to follow with her music. Her latest album, Big Love, which releases today, musically illustrates how one BIG love has the ultimate power to heal.
(KiKi) What inspired you to get into music, and how did this musical journey begin?
(Lauren) I come from a musical family so music has been a part of my life since I can remember.
My Dad was a crooner.. The music of Frank Sinatra was always around the house. He also loved Italian opera and Italian singer Mario Lanza, and was constantly belting out in song no matter where we were. The memories are wonderful. My grandfather played acoustic guitar and fiddle and loved bluegrass music...He gave me my first guitar.
So, do you like the old school craftsmanship when it comes to creating music when compared to the way music is created today, more FX, more detached and void of emotion or storylines?
I like both really, but for the kind of music I’m releasing now, working with a neve console in a more traditional studio really was the right fit. I like recording with the entire band to create a tangible energy with the music. There’s something special about recording in a room full of musicians sharing inspiration that brings more organic life to recorded music. I think that’s why so many recordings from the 70’s are still so meaningful to so many of us. They had that kind of magic.
You have some strong roots in the music industry, what is your staying power?
Honestly, my roots are more in my spiritual healing work and my music than in the music industry. I live in a family where the industry has been a part of our lives, but I really think that my staying power has only been possible because of my spiritual nature.
Thanks for the clarifications Lauren – it is good to see that two different aspects of your life can go hand in hand to forge such a well-structured musical path. The new album Big Love is very optimistic; I cannot wait to hear the full EP.
The single “Big Love” is a gem that needs to be held by the world, how did you come up with the title of the EP?
Thank you, I’m really looking forward to sharing it. I wrote the song in the summer of 2016. It was a presidential campaigning summer. So intense. Remember?
Yes, I remember . . .
It was the start of our current culture really showing a visible division and our anger, there was a great deal of sorrow flying around, fires in Australia and the opioid crisis beginning to reach our awareness through the media. Images of human beings and animals and our earth suffering inspired me to write Big Love.
WOW! It’s amazing how your song had the right recipe, lyrically and conceptually to carry over into 2020 – great writing.
The Intent to Heal
Were you always passionate about our mother Earth?
Yes, my grandfather taught me many ways to feel and be with nature. Since I was a small child I was connected to the elements, the trees, the lakes and the wildlife. I have memories as far back as 3 years old. I also was introduced to indigenous people at a young age. That first meeting awoke a strong connection to indigenous cultures I would then explore and study for the rest of my life. I learned much more about our natural world and how to be connected through their sacred teachings.
So, you are a humanitarian and activist, and I have read about you and your husband Rick Allen’s Raven Drum Foundation, can you elaborate on this some for my audience?
Rick and I created the foundation through our own experiences of how music, mindfulness and energy healing helped heal and brought people together. We became a 501C3 org in 2001 and began presenting workshops and programs for many populations of people dealing with trauma or crisis including incarcerated teens, mothers and children recovering from domestic violence, cancer care patients, wounded veterans and special needs children. Our programs today also include equine therapy, yoga for Veterans as well as community drum circles.
That is great how you and Rick selflessly created a foundation that has many branches to heal on so many levels.
Speaking of healing, how was your [study] with the Tribal Healers of Brazil?
It was deep and intense and gave me experiences of understanding how the spiritual world can be accessed in the body through sound and rhythm. I’ve been a dancer for most of my life and this connection was a very important piece for me.
What ideals did you take away from that experience to import into America’s society or daily life?
The body is a doorway to healing that can be opened through sound and music. We can heal greatly when we are mindfully present with our body and with all of the intergenerational memories and emotions it may hold.
Your music is therapeutic – have you always written songs with the intent to heal?
Yes, my training as a healer began when I was a little girl. I wrote my first song when I was 6, It was called “I Believe In God”.
Sometimes I feel like all of my songs in some way have the soul my very first song. And I’m still singing it out into the world sharing its love to people.
What is your perspective on the social injustices in the USA right now – I wanted to get the point of view from a non-African American female – if you do not mind?
This topic touches me very deeply on so many levels. I don’t mind at all.
I believe we are witnessing the soul of human consciousness beginning to see itself right now. This can be a very long and painful process..to embrace our darkness, our underlying negative belief systems and accept who we are as human beings. It requires unity and strength and deep devotion and compassion for oneself and others. My views on the world and our suffering comes from the lens of an empath and seer not so much as an activist but as an activator of change.
That’s a good way to look at it – that it takes both “deep devotion and compassion for oneself AND other” – I 100% agree.
Do you see “big love,” meaning the embracing of all cultures, as a necessity for global healing?
Yes! And more. I see Big Love as a message of embracing all cultures, animals and all living things in our natural world to bring us healing.
So, I would say that this EP, Big Love, has a lyrical elixir to heal many of the globe’s issues, musically and politically, as well as organically, was the title track the first song penned?
Actually, the song Joshua on the E.P. was written in 1999.
The song Big Love was written in 2016 and its message is certainly threaded throughout all of my writing since I can remember.
Which brings us to the video.
The video that accompanies the single “Big Love” is FIRE! It really puts into perspective the wide kaleidoscopic view of all of the social issues and global issues – it is like layers. And with layers, it is best to sort through them bit by bit to get to the core. What do you think is at the core of the globe’s problems, politically, socially, and environmentally?
I believe the core of the world problems come from the mind. The human mind believes that it is an “I” instead of a “We”.
That is DEEP, and so compelling – the “I” vs the “we.”
Once we are able to oversee the mind and move into our higher intelligence and into the power of our heart then we can rise above the egos belief systems of separateness. In my opinion, this is the greatest quest of being human. Oneness.
How did you come up with the premise of “Big Love’s” video?
I saw the images simultaneously as I received the lyrics. That's' how most of my songs come in... with images. I was very fortunate to have such a talented and collaborative director, Shaun Monson. He was able to take the images of humanity that I described and create something very special. We began working on it in April. It was 99% completed when the BLM protests began here in LA. It was completely serendipitous and emotional pulling it together. The video became a live stream experience of what was happening in our world.
Was the video shot on location somewhere?
We drew footage from other sources and then shot images of me in LA at the studio. My presence in the video was very last minute since I originally just wanted the video to be a message video without me in it. When I presented it to the label and my team, they said I needed to be in it.
They wanted me to bring my energy into it, so I danced around and sang and played guitar in the wind for an hour…. It was fun!
Yes, placing YOU inside of the video brings the message more into view.
In the song “Big Love,” you have the line “everybody’s fine living in anger.” It made me think of the protests, riots, and human dysfunction and how we, as a society, have numbed our natural instinct to love because, as a lazy society, it is easier to be angry than it is to cultivate love – love takes effort and work! do you agree?
Yes I do. A compassionate love of others takes practice and commitment and it begins with loving and accepting yourself. Sometimes the most difficult practice of all.
Your EP contains five tracks: Big Love, Lie, Get Happy, When the Rain Comes, and Joshua. What song resonates deeply with you?
All of the songs resonate deeply with me, but I would say Big Love and Joshua and When the Rain Comes carry the deepest message of this E.P.
Regarding your EP that is releasing today, what is your favorite song? Which one was the toughest track to finish?
Really hard to pick a favorite but I can tell you that Big Love was the most involved for sure. Many tracks of world percussion, bagpipes, backing vocals… so much fun.
How was the process of recording during COVID-19?
Thankfully The music I’m releasing this year was all recorded in 2019 prior to COVID but I have been in the studio lately and we are masked, sanitized and socially distant… … I guess my answer would be... hot, sweaty and weird.:)
What is your favorite song to perform?
Big Love. I get to play Djembe
I wish I could play an instrument. When my band TK Skinner were actually performing, I was just a songwriter and vocalist.
Def Leppard is one of my favorite bands, actually I would mirror my band TK Skinner back in the day on rock stars like Def Leppard. Hysteria and Pyromania are my fav albums. So I have to ask, how is Rick doing?
Rick is great, enjoying the unexpected time at home...it’s been fun working with him on various home projects and playing my music with him.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
So many songwriters and musicians I admire.. To name a few..
Rufus Wainwright, Amy Winehouse, Linda Ronstadt, Brandi Carlyle, Mellissa Etheridge, Jim Morrison, Susan Tedeschi. I could go on. . .
Your husband, Rockstar Rick Allen of Def Leppard, is a musical warrior as he battled his way through a circumstance that would have left some musicians frozen. My hat goes off to him. Does his endearing and multifaceted strength come through in some of your lyrics?
Yes, he is and I see how he needs to push through every day. Thank you. I believe that my music indeed reveals a deep strength we all have the capacity to reach and that the songs can hold the listeners hand and guide them there.
Watch this short clip of Rick Allen speaking on Big Love here!
You’ve collaborated with Roger Walter, Peter Gabriel, and Stewart Copeland to name a few artists, what is the best advice you’ve been given?
My song was on a compilation CD that was a collaboration of work. I wish I was able to meet those legendary artists but that wasn't the kind of project it was.
A psychologist friend of mine said that we can do more with our positive words than physically trying to change things with riots, protests, violence, etc. Do you agree? If so, expound on that –
I do agree positivity is more powerful. I think the art of making progress is to be able to voice the truth and stand together and present the rage and sorrow so that it can be understood by everyone, not just those who have empathy. I believe that non violent acts are the only way to move forward. Focusing on what we want instead of what we don’t want can yield a greater outcome.
I need to be clear that I am not casting my opinion on how people should grieve but I am saying that in order to become unified and achieve our goals of equality we need to move through these stages of anger and as a society learn to communicate from a higher level. That is just my humble opinion. We need to lead with love.
I completely understand what you are saying here Lauren.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That Vulnerability is Power
As the adage states, “from darkness comes light,” so do you think we will have a more unified society once everything involving the pandemic and the riots subside?
That’s a really good question...I believe we are just beginning. The door has been opened and we have the potential to do the necessary work to change and heal the deep intergenerational wounding and intolerant governing that permeates our society. I hope we get to experience unity and equality in our lifetime, but I do believe that the next generations can achieve it. It is up to us to lay the foundations and do the hard work now, for them.
Since the pandemic, with recording artists doing pretty much everything virtually, how do you think this will affect the industry as a whole when it comes to going forward with live performances, open air arenas, etc?
I’m not getting any clear read on that right now although I believe it will return at some point. Hopefully better, safer and I’m sure very appreciated by performers and audiences alike!
Do you have any virtual shows lined up?
July 11 Scenes Media Takeover
5pm PT/ 8pm ET
Last question: when did you last give yourself permission to let go?
Right Now... as I’ve been answering your beautifully deep questions my friend.
Thank you Lauren!
Your very Welcome! ❤️
Bob Dylan said “You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” meaning that all a person must do is open their eyes to see what needs to be done and then do it. Well, Lauren Monroe aesthetically follows that road in her craft – from her activism, to her music, to her passions, her heart is not only worn on her sleeve, it is tattooed on her lyrics.
Make sure to check out Lauren’s July 11th Scenes Media Takeover at 5:00 pm (PT) and 8:00 pm (ET). And be sure to get your copy of Big Love TODAY!!