Laura Tsaggaris
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Laura Tsaggaris

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rebel Spirit Music, NYC - March 4, 2009"

Having spent her formative years trying to outrun a longing to create music, by 2005 there would only be one, seemingly unavoidable, outcome. Laura Tsaggaris recorded 'Proof', a debut offering that dispelled any fear she may have still had regarding a recording career. Fast-forward almost four years, her talent realised, and Tsaggaris looks set to release her finest, most complete work to date. 'Keep Talking' is an inspirational, self-exploratory record that will ignite your imagination - a record comprised of moving, provocative songs wonderfully suited to a live setting. I shudder to think what might have been had she kept 'running' - thankfully, Rebel Spirit audiences needn't concern themselves. -

"PopMatters - June 24, 2009"

Washington, DC singer-songwriter, guitarist/pianist Laura Tsaggaris’s Keep Talking. reveals a rich emotional template. Opener “Warning Signs” melds Sam Clowney’s driving electric guitar and the confession, “I could’ve told you you’d fall for the lines, mine them for hope and then toss them aside.” The ‘60s boy- band feel of “Out of My Mind” precedes “Roads”, co-written by Townshend, a piano-driven ballad that flanks electric guitar. “I’ve paved these roads to drive smooth as my hand runs over you,” commands Tsaggaris.
“Go and Do Everything (Again)” imprints Avril Lavigne and borders punk imploying the luscious hook, “but, is this all another call to what you’ll never be anyway?”
Titler: kitschy “Keep Talking” spawns spunky horn arrangements (Carluzzo/Schreier) contrasting the cocky vocal rant strapped to suspensions, “Under The Gun.” “Get Yourself Right” spins dreamy, redemptive ode while “Catastrophic” streams melodica passages waltzing through a key-change forest.- commingling with Tsaggaris’s frothy delivery. -

"DCist - July 2, 2009"

Despite what they say about first impressions, in music it's the second impression that can be the most important. Call it what you want, the sophomore jinx or the sophomore slump, the second album determines whether an artist can match his or her first effort or even grow beyond it. D.C.-based artist Laura Tsaggaris (suh Gair iss) must've spent the four years between her 2005 debut Proof and her newest record, Keep Talking, thinking about second impressions, because it's clear she wants to throw out some of the singer/songwriter conventions from her introduction.

While Proof contained lush ballads broken up by the occasional up-tempo alt-country song, Keep Talking immediately breaks into three-chord rock and spacey synthesizers with the opening track, "Warning Signs". You could say it's Tsaggaris' warning that you're going to be disappointed if you're expecting more of the same. The piano and acoustic guitars still make an appearance, but the level of energy is generally kept at a seven or eight on the Spinal Tap scale. The upside with Keep Talking's new direction is that Tsaggaris displays a knack for crafting catchy pop songs, and she definitely has the chops to pull off rock vocals. The downside, however, is that the end result often verges on prosaic. There's very little to distinguish it from countless other artists. "Go and Do Everything (Again)" and "The Politician" could be Kelly Clarkson covers, with their fist-pumping choruses and call-and-response backing vocals.

That's not to say Keep Talking is unremarkable. Not at all. The album's slower numbers expand upon the talent Tsaggaris displayed on Proof, revealing her growth as a musician and a songwriter. "Catastrophic", one of the album's best tracks, is hauntingly beautiful in its simplicity. Tsaggaris' hushed vocals are pushed aside halfway through the song by a combination of swelling keyboard lines, a French horn and clarinets. The title track, "Keep Talking", ambles along like a true New Orleans-style jazz number, with a horn section accompanying Tsaggaris. Co-produced with Ian Schreier — who produced Proof and has worked with artists like Velvet Revolver and Clay Aiken — the production on the more rock-inspired numbers may be a little too clean at times, but it's pitch-perfect on tracks like "Keep Talking" and "Get Yourself Right". Of course, we're a sucker for a good pedal steel guitar.

If anything, Keep Talking is a great example of an artist comfortable with pushing herself in new directions, and we fully support that. Hopefully it doesn't take another four years to hear what she has to offer next.

"OnTap Magazine - Artist of the Month - May 2009"

Lots to like here from local singer song rocker Laura Tsaggaris. She ably utilizes every musical tool in her deep arsenal, and the result is a multi-layered, catchy listenable piece of work. Love the combination of gritty guitar and loopy sounds on “Warning Signs;” the jazzy horn-complemented title track; and the rocking “Under the Gun.” But don’t take our word for it. Catch Laura May 9 at the Rock & Roll Hotel for her CD release show. -

"Metro Music Scene - July 14, 2009"

We kick things off this week with "Under the Gun," a track from DC singer/songwriter Laura Tsaggaris (above) - that's suh-GAIR-iss for the phonetically inclined. It's got some fiery electric guitar and machine-gun drums that lend a powerful energy to Tsaggaris' strong vocals and lyrics. She's been constantly building on her layers of sound with each album release, and her new CD, "Keep Talking" is no exception. Usually it's solo acoustic gigs for Tsaggaris around here in DC, but her full band is in town for this Saturday's show at IOTA (7/18), and she's pretty psyched to have 'em up from North Carolina backing her up - "It takes your own performance to a new level and, I think, makes things really fun for a crowd of listeners." -

"OnTap Magazine (April 2005)"

Seldom can one play a compact disc recorded by a local artist and mistake it for a major label production. Proof is one such rarity. The execution by all the musicians is top-shelf, the songs range from solid to devastating, and the vocals of Ms. Tsaggaris are always sublime. "Hard" is the opening track of the album and perhaps the most vital of the bunch. The first and last lines of the song are idenical, yet sung to markedly different effect. Such prudent word choice is a hallmark of Tsaggaris, and like the mid-range jumpshot in professional basketball, something of a lost art. Because her voice is capable of delivering a simple three-word phrase delicately or intensely, often within the same measure, her style of writing is made all the more potent. Track ten, “Hurricane” is an anthem that begs for a wider audience. It’s hook is gargantuan, and the most prominent bit of two-part harmony on the album pops up in the middle of the tune, sending it into the stratosphere.The temptation to compare Tsaggaris's vocals to female singers of the past might arise, but resist the impulse. Recognize the singular talents of Laura Tsaggaris on their own merits. - David Cotton

"Space City Rock - June 2005"

Why do people do this to themselves? Folks, let me give you a quick glimpse into the murky realm known as ReviewerLand: appearances do matter. No, I'm telling you not how to dress or that you need to bathe regularly (although I'm sure that's helpful in other areas), but that you need to make sure you're presenting yourself and your music the right way. Professionalism helps; a good-looking CD sleeve beats the hell out of a photocopied scrap of paper, even if the CD inside's still a CD-R. You'd be amazed at how hard it is for us reviewer folk to get past the immediate negative impression made by a crappy-ass-looking album.

Laura Tsaggaris doesn't have that particular problem, mind you -- her CD, Proof, looks as beautiful as it sounds. What gets Ms. Tsaggaris, instead, is the more subtle area of, well, genre positioning. See, when I get a one-sheet and CD that focuses on shots of the artist strumming his or her guitar, especially paired with minimal, arty layouts, the first thing that comes to mind is "folk." And sadly, I tend to associate folky music with goofy late-night singalongs at the campus rec center. It's fun, sure, but not necessarily something I feel the need to really give a damn about, and when I get a CD that looks like it falls into that category, I tend to come up with prejudgements about it, in spite of all my best efforts. Now, I know, I know -- never judge a book by its cover and all that. That's kind of my point, though: we all know that, but we do it anyway. Ever bought a CD just because of the cover? I know I have, and sometimes it's been great, but sometimes I've kicked myself afterward.

Okay. Now that that's all out of the way, let's get to the reason why I'm fussing so much about this -- basically, it's because Proof is damn good. Despite the "positioning" stuff I mentioned above, it's not a folk record, but rather a lush, melancholy pop gem of a breakup album. It's not necessarily the kind of thing I listen to a lot of the time, but it's amazingly captivating even still. The closest real comparison I can come up with is to Alanis Morrisette (particularly on the opening track, "Hard"), minus that aggravating warbling -- for some reason, they both seem to me to share a similar range, if not similar lyrical interests. Like Morrisette, Ms. Tsaggaris isn't the greatest singer in the world, but she's got a clear, real voice and knows how she can use it.

Beyond that, she's got an intensity that renders that whole singer-songwriter/folk thing moot -- she's not here to plink gently at her guitar (no offense intended, by the way, to people who do that) but rather to rage and moan and exorcise some demons. And that's what rock, not folk -- at least, not the modern kind -- is about. Take the title track, "Proof," for instance. The song is an increasingly desperate cry to a loved one, asking what Tsaggaris needs to do to get their attention, and it begins with a quiet piano but then sucks the listener in nicely as both the song's momentum and instrumentation builds to a pained crescendo. Hell, if there was a little distortion on the guitars, and a guy was singing, we'd call it "emo"; it's got the same build-and-explode dynamic.

There are other highlights here, as well, like "High Tide," which gets a little jangly but actually comes across as angry and dark-sounding, the stark and pretty "Firefly," and the bluesy "Letters," which looks to be a bit of a tribute to Bob Dylan. "Birthday Tune" is almost reminiscent of Aimee Mann (or, rather, of Jon Brion's production of Aimee Mann), while "I Just Can't Share" makes me think of a torch song, and yet both seem to fit together as effortlessly as puzzle pieces. The only song on here that doesn't really grab me, in the end, is "Halloween," and that's mostly because of all of 'em, it's the one "predictable" folk tune (well, okay; it's as predictable as a folk song about somebody getting dumped while in costume on Halloween can be). On the whole, Proof leaves me feeling a bit surprised -- from the setup, I certainly wasn't expecting something as good as this. (JH)

"DC Pulse Magazine (May 2005)"

Growing up in Pittsburgh Laura Tsaggaris’ musical family provided an appropriate foundation that would eventually bring her to write her own songs. Proof evokes the suspicion that these melodies and stories have been waiting to be shared with a large audience for 10 years. With a carefully selected backing band (courtesy of Chapel Hill, NC) and pinpoint production, her stripped down songs soar to the heights they deserve to make this an astounding debut album. Influenced by everything from the emotive rock of Jeff Buckley to the rhythmic seduction of Portishead, Tsaggaris has a heart wrenching and poetic delivery that is impossible to ignore, which keeps the diverse sound of the record sewn together. With her contemporary and accessible sound you could make the obvious connections to the likes of Aimee Mann, Tracy Chapman and Ani DiFranco. But make no mistake this woman has a voice that proves she is an experience all her own. Solo artists take note, get it right the first time even if you need to drive five hours to do so. (MD)

"NPR - May 2009"

"a soothing rocker." -

"Pure Music - June 2005"

Imagine you are on a boat that is drifting down a wide river. This ship is not small, and yet it makes its way along fairly quietly, hardly intruding on the late evening calm. You're up on deck, leaning against the railing, taking in the shifting character of the shore and the river's surface. Co-incidentally, today's your birthday. One might say you're "feeling your age," though you aren't wistfully recalling earlier times and don't feel at all tired out. You're realizing that everything you want of life is ahead of you, in the direction that you're traveling.

And as this freeing awareness registers, you hear a woman start to sing. The effect is cinematic. The song doesn't pull you out of the space you're in, but joins you there, deepening the mood. It's the perfect thing. (You notice a sliver of moon through the trees.)

When that song ends and another begins, the singer is the same but now backed by a solid band. The arrangement is stunning, an eclectic mix of flavors delivered as though nothing could be more natural. So, naturally, you're curious. You leave where you've been standing and walk in the direction of the sound, until you see a girl sitting near the bow of the boat, a lime-green boom-box on her lap. Spilling from its surprisingly high-fidelity speakers is this lovely, non-soprano, jazz-tinged music--"pop/folk" for lack of a better term. It shimmers without slickness, like the play of lights across dark water.

Not wishing to startle the girl, you cough, signaling your approach. She turns toward you. "Excuse me," you say as you come nearer, "who is that singing?" Without releasing you from her serious gaze, she pulls a CD case from her jacket pocket and hands it to you. "May I...?" you ask, gesturing toward the lit windows of the cabin. She nods, and you take the cover over where you can get a better view.

The front features a photo of a plain lightbulb burning in a chipped, enameled ceiling fixture. The troubled plaster around it is a creamy mocha color, and set into a corner where the shadow begins, in lowercase sans serif type, is the name Laura Tsaggaris and the word proof. On the back there's a partial silhouette and someone vaguely reflected in a shop window, presumably the modest Ms. Tsaggaris herself. Inside, more distressed walls or ceilings ("if these walls could talk" comes to mind), plus a clump of text too tiny to read just now.

Another track begins, and it occurs to you that the singer's voice transmits feeling with the same absence of shielding that the exposed bulb on the cover offers illumination. There's enough of a pop feel to her delivery that you could say she's not quite showing you the filament, but you wouldn't wish for her emotions to be bared any more nakedly than they are.

When you look up again, the album's owner is still watching you, deadpan. You walk over and hand her the cover, saying something simple like, "This is really good." Her face starts to take on an expression that sensitive kids often adopt for defense as they get older. But then it opens into a smile and she says, "Yeah," and then, after a second, she adds confidingly, "I love her." You nod, and when you thank her you hope she knows that you appreciate both the introduction and the atmosphere that's been provided. Then you walk back to your previous spot down the rail, where you are gently serenaded by several more terrific selections before you call it a night.

Two days later, the ship having docked at a good-sized city, you seek out an internet cafe to check your email. While online, you visit to find out a little about the artist and the album. Her name is pronounced suh-GAIR-iss, she lives in D.C., originally from Pittsburgh. Ian Schreier produced, and he engineered all but one song at his Osceola Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina. There was apparently a prolonged search for the right producer, and the skillfulness in evidence throughout makes you appreciate the singer/songwriter's tenacity and her luck. The band is made up of heavy hitters from the Raleigh/Chapel Hill area: John Custer (electric guitar), Matt Brandau (bass), Jim Crew (piano and B3), and Stephen Levitin (drums and percussion), with strings supplied by four members of the Raleigh Symphony. Some of the tracks that form the beautiful ballad "Permanent" were recorded by Mike Fisher at Bias Studios in Springfield, VA, with Kevin Neimond playing bass. Tsaggaris accompanies herself on guitar. Also available is an earlier solo EP, six-songs, guitar and vocals, recorded live in the studio. (You'll find the EP reveals her acoustic guitar chops, while Proof focuses more on her wonderful voice and shows the reach of her writing when given a full presentation by players such as these.) You purchase Proof at the site store, buy the EP while you're at it, and have them shipped to an address that you'll be visiting next week.

When you arrive back at the boat, the girl with the lime-green CD player is stepping onto the pier, carrying her suitcase. Had she remained on board, you would've definitely tried to bum another listen to Proof. Now you'll just have to be patient. You don't say anything to one another as you pass, but standing alone at the stern as your ship sets off (you're absentmindedly whistling the melody of one of those songs), the two of you notice each other and exchange small waves. - James Meyers


Proof (2004)
Keep Talking (2009)



Out to prove she’s more than just a soulful voice, Laura Tsaggaris has a knack for crafting catchy songs that seem to speak to your own life and experiences. She is a throwback to artists like Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley and Suzanne Vega who have used the studio to push the limits of genre and create cohesive pieces of art. With her captivating melodies, complex pop song structures and dynamic acoustic guitar playing, Laura Tsaggaris is, more than anything, just great listening.

Laura’s early life in suburbia Pittsburgh, PA gave few indications of her eventual calling. To the surprise of many who knew her, she started her own record label and recorded her first album (Proof) in 2005. What happened next was no shock for those who heard Proof. Galvanized by the local, national and international reaction to her debut, Laura quit her job at a Washington, D.C. law firm, packed her bags and toured the country alone to promote the record and launch her career as a performer.

After the cycle of touring ended in 2008, Laura began work on her second studio album, Keep Talking. Her sophomore offering is a rare effort that rocks, soothes and inspired The Washington Post to write, “When a singer-songwriter builds an array of songs, often arising from a solid pop foundation with a splash of blues, a touch of rock and a hint of soul, that affirms a genuine musical gift.” Laura supported Keep Talking with a 2-month, 20 state U.S. tour in 2010.

Laura has recorded and performed with a great collection of artists and producers, including Ryan Adams, Zac Brown Band, The Low Anthem, The Proclaimers, Erin McKeown, and Ryan Montbleau Band. She is currently recording her fourth studio album, slated for a later 2012 release.