Lauren Anderson
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Lauren Anderson

Nashville, TN | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Nashville, TN | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Rock Soul




"Lauren Anderson review"

One really does have to wonder just what it is about the Kansas City area that makes it so rich in talented young blues players. Along with the Schnebelen family that once comprised Trampled Under Foot, as well as many others, we are proud to bring you the debut from a startlingly-soulful young woman from that fertile area, Lauren Anderson. She is a fantastic guitarist, composer, and singer who recently won a Midwest Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, and, when you listen to her album of fourteen originals, “Truly Me,” you’ll get a good glimpse of who she is, what she’s about, and where she’s headed.
Joining Lauren on this set are Adam Stuber on guitar, Dylan Reiter on bass, and Kris Schnebelen on drums. Lauren writes these songs from her soul, many dealing with love and its many pitfalls. You gotta love that rolling Delta slide that drives the opening cut, which might well serve as Lauren’s autobiography. “One Day” details her life “wishing I was someone else, until One Day I found the blues!” The lustful longings of youth are spelled out in the on-again, off-again lovers of “Shame,” while she begs a balking paramour to commit with “Can’t You See I can’t let go of this feeling you give to me!” This one is done acoustically, and has a sweet touch of funk. And, those “bad girls” we are all drawn to, with those “crimson lips”and that “deceitful grin,” are, really, “just No Good.” “Where Are You Now” rocks from the opening piano riff from Shinetop, while “My Reminder” is a vintage shot of soul, with Shinetop’s testifyin’ organ lines over Lauren’s vocal, looking to find that place that is “really and Truly Me.”
Our favorite was easy. Lauren has the perfect voice for a “torch song”–sultry and sexy–and “No Regrets” is a good one. Brush-stroked drums and Shinetop’s jazzy piano trace the tale of two lovers tasting that “forbidden fruit,” with “No Regrets ’til we’re through!”
It is always a pleasure to be able to introduce to our readers fresh new blues talent. With “Truly Me,” Lauren Anderson is sho’ nuff ready to blast off! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society. - Don Crow

"Lauren Anderson's debut is a triumph"

An hour after returning to Kansas City from Topeka on a Sunday night — following a performance at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge regional qualifier — Lauren Anderson is sipping wine on the patio of a Crossroads restaurant. She hasn't taken off her performance makeup, and the moonlight finds its way to the glitter around her eyelids.

"There was a lot of talent there today, and we didn't get the nomination," Anderson tells me with a slight shrug. "Which, you know, as bluesy as we are, we're not that traditional — and I think that's what they were looking for. And that's OK."

Anderson's music is closer to the blues-soul fusion of, say, Joss Stone or Norah Jones than it is to the loud, furious riffs of her contemporaries — including Katy Guillen and the Girls, 2014 International Blues Challenge finalists. But Anderson doesn't see the Topeka venture as a wasted trip.

"I felt really good about what we played, and that alone was a good enough reason to compete," she says. "I think the IBC puts you in front of a lot of people that you wouldn't normally be in front of. Even though we're not traditional blues and I'm not interested in really changing what we're doing, it's still a good opportunity for us."

Besides, she adds, the preparation for the competition was the ideal primer for her Thursday night show at Knuckleheads, marking the release of Truly Me. It's the 30-year-old singer's debut album, arriving nearly a year after the EP Do & Hope.

The 14 tracks on Truly Me are cherry-picked, Anderson says, from the stack of songs she wrote throughout her 20s, starting around the time she relocated to Kansas City from her native Chicago. These are the songs that appear most regularly in her live sets. Now, on record, with their easy, catchy hooks and retro rhythms, they make an ideal backdrop for Anderson's impressive voice.

Most of Anderson's lyrics takel their inspiration from the predictable themes of love and its myriad shades, but Truly Me is far from pedestrian. When Anderson's husky, honeyed voice drops the steamy opening lines of "Shame" — I know you think I'm sexy, you know I want it, too — the confidence on display is that of a veteran, not a beginner. Truly Me — made with bassist Dylan Reiter, guitarist Adam Stuber and drummer Jeff Daniels — pulses with purpose, and shows the singer very much in command.

"I'd really always known that I wanted to sing," Anderson says of her relatively late start. "There was a time where I thought about classic opera singing, and I went to school for vocal performance. But halfway through that degree, I began to realize that I don't really love opera." She punctuates this admission with a wry laugh. "With the intention of still being able to have a day job, I got my masters in musical therapy. I didn't finish that until September 2012, and really, at that point, I finally felt like I had the time to put more of an effort in performing."

Anderson still works as a musical therapist in the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She enjoys it, she says, but it's not her reason for waking up in the morning.

"As much as I do love being a musical therapist, the drive to be a performer has never gone away," Anderson says. "Sometimes I regret not going for this earlier, but then I think one of the benefits of starting this in my late 20s is life experience. I'm motivated now because I'm older, I'm 30, and I've got a lot of catching up to do. Even though 30 is not that old, it's easy for you to feel like you should have started a lot earlier."

The next step, Anderson says, is a tour to promote Truly Me — including a stop in Chicago, where she'll hold a CD release show "mostly for my parents' friends," she admits with a laugh.

Anderson sees Truly Me as the result of an upbringing heavy on Chicago blues and, later, what she heard in Kansas City. "There is such a vibrant, rich musical scene here," she says at one point. And now that scene includes her among the area's leading blues talents — joining Danielle Nicole Schnebelen (formerly of Trampled Under Foot), Samantha Fish and Katy Guillen and the Girls. Is this market, in fact, almost too rich?

"The main thing that I think all of us should remember is that there's no reason we can't all succeed," Anderson says. "I think a lot of times — especially females — we get competitive, but there's no reason that we can't all exist and prosper as individuals here. That being said, my music is not quite as traditional blues — but neither are Danielle and Samantha and Katy. I think we all have our own take on the blues, and I think there's room for all of us." - The Pitch

"Lauren Anderson Band Releases Truly Me"

Lauren Anderson has a passion for music that extends beyond her soulful, blues-colored songs. “I love helping other people work through struggles, and better understand themselves and communicate.” Anderson works full-time as a music therapist, and implements songwriting as a powerful therapeutic tool for her clients. Her debut full-length album Truly Me is evidence that she practices what she preaches, with 14 tracks that eloquently express her experiences and emotions.

Though music has always been a significant part of Anderson’s life, she hasn’t been performing her own songs for very long. “I’ve been singing since I can remember and grew up joining every choir I could find. However, as I grew up I was told how tough it is to pursue a career in performance.” Anderson instead chose music as a scholarly pursuit, completing a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis on voice and later, a master’s in music therapy. It wasn’t until after finishing grad school that she decided to perform more often. “I only played 2 or 3 shows a year for awhile. After I finished my thesis, I stepped it up and started playing several shows each month and working on promoting my music.” For 2 years, she played a number of solo gigs, and formed a band a little over a year ago.

With Truly Me, Anderson is carving out a career as a performer and showcasing her range as a musician and songwriter. “The [album] title was chosen for several reasons, one of which was my decision to stop trying to pick a genre or niche and write music to fit,” she says. Recorded at Weights & Measures Soundlab with Duane Trower, the LP is comprised of material Anderson has written over the past decade. This summation of her efforts reveals a songwriter who isn’t afraid to bare her soul or pull in a cohesive sound from a variety of influences. While some of her tunes have a distinct blues flair, others incorporate elements of hip hop, jazz, big band, modern pop, or Delta blues. Along with having these songs fully realized with a skilled backing band of Adam Stuber, Dylan Reiter, and Jeff Daniels, Anderson is able to explore the full magnitude of her voice—sometimes poised and controlled, and other times an impressive, impassioned wail.

Anderson and her band played a show in her hometown of Chicago over the weekend to celebrate the release of Truly Me, and will host a release party at Knuckleheads Saloon tomorrow night. “It’s a helpful advantage to be able to call two cities home,” says Anderson, who has been made Kansas City her home for almost 5 years. “There are a lot of fantastic musicians and everyone is supportive and friendly. The music community is rich but not overly populated, and it’s not impossible to find your voice.” - 909 News

"Day 4 of Folk Alliance: Upstairs is where the vibe gets intimate and transcendent"

Lauren Anderson played a 1:30 a.m. set in one of the Kansas City showcase rooms. Barefoot with guitar, she busked through several high-energy rock-soul tunes. She has a powerful voice, one that bears some resemblances to Melissa Etheridge or Janis Joplin. According to her Facebook page, she is in a four-piece band that includes drummer Kristopher Schnebelen, formerly of Trampled Under Foot. She bears watching. - The Kansas City Star

"Review: Lauren Anderson - Truly Me"

Lauren Anderson originally hails from Chicago, and now resides in Kansas City. On “Truly Me”, her first full length release, she has delivered an enjoyable 14-track collection which mixes blues influences, rock and more rootsy material – that shows off her fine, gutsy voice and the abilities of her band.
Apart from the lady herself, the band comprises of Adam Stuber (guitar), Dylan Reiter (bass), and Kris Schnebelen (drums) – with Jeff Daniels helping out on drums, on just one track. The music is ‘fleshed out’ by some guest appearances from the likes of Go-Go Ray, Mark Anderson and the horns of Garrett Schubert and Mike Walker.
Things get off to a high-energy start on the slide-driven “One Day”; which is followed by the rockier “Shame”; before the pace is taken down for the very nice “My Reminder”, which is beautifully underpinned by the organ playing of Shinetop. The band get funky on the horn-driven “I Don’t Need”, featuring the afore-mentioned Messrs Schubert and Walker, on saxophone and trombone respectively, with excellent solos from Garrett Schubert.
Elsewhere, the pretty “Lady Jane” is a stand out, with its delicate acoustic guitar; and the lengthy “Winter Waltz” is a jazz-tinged number that doesn’t overstay its welcome at 6:39. In contrast it is followed by the rollicking “Where Are You Now?”, with kudos to Shinetop again, this time on piano, and some tough guitar from Adam Stuber.
Overall, a most enjoyable and varied release from a new name to me. Lauren Anderson and “Truly Me” are well worth checking out – although not a blues album in the strictest sense, it is nicely produced, written and performed, with original songs – and has something for all tastes! - Blues in the Northwest

"Music Review: Lauren Anderson's 'Truly Me'"

It’s easy to miss the obvious with Kansas City blueswoman Lauren Anderson — that dangerous label after the slash after “singer.”

Lauren Anderson is a fine songwriter, too, versatile and honest. She puts her cards — and her heart — on the table, right there in the liner notes: “This CD ... includes most of what I know, who I am, who I’d like to be and where I’d like to go.”

That’s a rare and vulnerable admission for somebody working the blues. It’s also an important part of what makes Truly Me work. It leaves these songs, especially the ones about every shade of good-but-not-quite-right relationships, a lot of room for interpretation — most importantly, her own. Anderson currently works as a music therapist in the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas Hospital, and her underlying understanding of music’s ability to heal is an unconscious undercurrent throughout the album.

The opener, “One Day,” frames the album like an origin story, testifying about her inability to “keep it in” and building to a shout of gratitude for the way the blues finally gave her a way to let all of it out. With guitarist Adam Stuber’s jagged, manic slide lines backing her up, Anderson seems as if she might burst with the need for release. She growls “until one day I found the blues” with the intensity of a religious conversion. As those blues build, it’s clear that the conversion has taken her a long way.

On a song like the smooth, confident, and silky “No Regrets,” Anderson’s lush voice wraps around a tale of inevitable infidelity. With Shinetop’s piano dropping mysterious smoky chords and octaves behind her, Anderson lets it be known that this tryst is going to be taken to its logical conclusion: “There’s no stopping us now/Forget all your rationality/The monster from within is calling out/We love the taste of sin.” She closes that phrase with the moaned “No regrets till we’re through,” the unexpected sincerity of the line capturing the wonderful and terrible desire of that moment.

That directness, and her willingness to take the blues places they don’t generally go, make her songs special. Even the horn-driven, Saturday-night-friendly “I Don’t Need,” with its chorus of “I just need one thing/to be understood” winds up being a jump tribute to paying attention to the person you need.

And strictly speaking, there are plenty of songs here that aren’t the blues. The optimistic lyrics and Caribbean rhythms of “Hole in the Boat,” with the refrain “We know how to swim/We will be all right,” winds up being the happiest moment here.

On the other emotional end of the spectrum, not pessimistic but just plain lost, is the folky “Winter’s Waltz,” which Anderson co-wrote with her brother Mark (who plays guitar on the song) and Eric Olson (whose “Lady Jane” Anderson also covers). With classical, almost-gypsy guitar minor-key arpeggios barely holding up her voice, it’s a series of vignettes about a relationship gone cold, a frigid, brittle a testament to Anderson’s range.

Instead of going for a “just like they’re live” sound (which rarely works well, especially for the blues), and even with the crunch and crush of Stuber’s guitar and the always-just-right-there rhythms of bassist Dylan Reiter and drummer Kris Schnebelen, the songs are mixed with plenty of space and clarity. The result is that Anderson’s voice is always centered in the mix. Though her voice occasionally meanders down a blind alley, such melodic detours make the songs feel that much more real.

This set, eight years in making, is Anderson’s first full-length CD (after last year’s EP Do & Hope), and she’s emerged on the scene at full speed with an impressive repertoire. Throughout Truly Me, Anderson’s voice makes her words come alive — and vice versa. - KCUR

"The Chocolate Pizza by Amore"

David had vetted some of the performers, such as; Lauren Anderson from Chicago, Ill. who is now based out of Kansas City, and by day is a Music Therapist at KU Medical Center, while working on her Graduate degree. But this evening not only did she sing solo, with her acoustic guitar and mandolin, but she utilized some of her Music Therapy hospital skills from Pediatric, to work with a children's group of singers who made their stage debut, for their Mom, Nana and the assembled friends, families and customers. -


Nutcracker... that always makes me giggle... any way... boulevard's nutcracker is "inexpensive" tonight and it's a drink I can make. Also... should you get an opportunity to see Lauren Anderson perform you will be not be disappointed. She tickled the keys at Green Lady Lounge last night. She has a bright future and I'm not above duct tapping her to our piano to get her booked. She's playing at Bar Louie in the Power & Light. Check her page for the schedule. - John Wayne Scott, The Green Lady - Facebook

"Lauren Anderson is true to herself in debut"

Long before she was old enough to drive herself to a gig, Lauren Anderson would ride with her father around Chicago as he fed cassettes into the car stereo, steadily adding to her musical education. His choices often leaned toward rock operas like The Who’s Tommy or the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, giving his daughter a sense of how to project her feelings.

Anderson, 30, who performs at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Blue Note Lounge, 2408 N. Robinson Ave., gives her family credit for exposing her to a wide range of music. Whether it was classic rock or Ace of Base, she learned from it all and developed a powerful soul-blues voice — an instrument that compares favorably to acknowledged masters in her genre like Susan Tedeschi — in the process.

“But I’ve always sung,” Anderson said during a phone interview as she drove from her home in Kansas City, Missouri, back to Chicago for Christmas. “It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg — I don’t know what started it because they tell me stories of, before I can remember, how much I sang. It was to the point of me interrupting my preschool teacher while she was explaining things because I had a song that I needed to sing to her.”

That impulse never went away. Anderson wrote the 14 songs on her full-length debut, Truly Me, over the course of eight years, pouring everything into her lyrics without filtering much out.

“Sharing my songs is a really scary thing, just as it is for a lot of people,” Anderson said. “When I write songs, I’m laying it all out there. But I’m really enjoying that now because now I have people coming up to me and saying that this or that song really meant something to them.”

Healing notes

The therapeutic nature of Anderson’s songs, both for the singer and her audience, dovetails with her day job.

She works as a pediatric music therapist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, helping children with emotional or behavioral disorders or those undergoing chemotherapy express themselves through song.

“It’s fun to help the kids say something that they can’t say by themselves,” she said. “Working with them, they feel good about themselves, they have self-esteem and they have something they can share.”

Thanks to her growing popularity in Kansas City, Anderson is reducing her day job hours and expanding her touring radius. In October, she performed at the International Blues Challenge in Oklahoma City and staked out three nights at Blue Note Lounge that weekend. Her first Oklahoma gig went so well, she jumped at the chance to return.

“The audience was fun and the sound system was great, so I decided that I really wanted to go back,” she said. “It should be a great show.” - Oklahoma Gazette

"For Lauren Anderson, music and spiritual and healing powers"

Lauren Anderson knew as a child that music would play a prominent role in her future. It now plays two big roles.

“I’ve been singing as long as I can remember,” she said. “My parents loved music, my grandparents were musical, my brothers both majored in guitar. Music was a big influence in our lives.”

Anderson, a Chicago native, is involved in music in two big ways: as a music therapist in the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center and as a singer/songwriter who recently released “Truly Me,” her first full-length, and who has performed at various clubs around Kansas City, including Knuckleheads and VooDoo.

Anderson talked to The Star recently about music and its spiritual and remedial powers.

Q. Were people always telling you what a great singer you were growing up?

A. People told me I was good, but my motivation was more of an internal thing. I could never stop singing. My parents were always very encouraging, and they let me pursue what I wanted.

There was a time I thought I wanted to be an opera singer. That’s why I studied voice (at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.). I even went to Italy for a summer to tour with an opera company. I still enjoy opera, but I realized it wasn’t for me. I have a warmer place in my heart for rock, pop and soul.

Q. What music did you listen to growing up?

A. The first two CDs I owned were by the Pointer Sisters and Ace of Base. And I loved Lauryn Hill and Whitney Houston. As for songwriters, I’m a big fan of Jason Mraz and ZZ Ward. She has a raw way of writing I really like. It’s like Adele. They just lay it all out there. I’m a fan of Ani DiFranco, too. She has a great way of writing.

Q. After graduating from Augustana, you started working on your master’s degree in music therapy at the University of Kansas. What prompted that move?

A. I didn’t really know about music therapy until I was an undergraduate. I like psychology, and I saw someone talk about (music therapy) and started looking around for graduate schools. KU has a really good one, so I applied and got in.

Q. What did it require?

A. A lot of psychology. You have to be proficient in voice, guitar, piano and percussion and be able to play by ear. You have to play many different genres and understand music in a way that you can meet a client and find out what goals they need to reach and how they can reach them through music. For example, if someone is having anxiety, how can I help them decrease that anxiety through music? You have to be pretty comfortable making up music on the spot.

Q. What was your master’s thesis on?

A. It was on the use of wind instruments for pulmonary function for kids with cystic fibrosis. Basically, I was looking into whether it helped the lungs if a kid with cystic fibrosis sang or played a wind instrument. I tried to prove it improved the quality of life. I had a small population so I didn’t get anything significant, but the numbers were positive.

Q. What’s the best part of your job?

A. It’s really great when you work with a child who is really interested in doing it. I’ve written a lot of songs with kids. We have a YouTube channel for kids. Those whose parents give them the permission can write something and then record a video of it and upload it for friends and family at home and connect with them. That is really satisfying.

Q. When did you start performing again?

A. I was still in graduate school and I was doing shows at Henry’s in Lawrence, solo and sometimes I’d pair up with friends. When I moved to Kansas City, I started in coffee shops. I played at Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa and the Main Street Cafe in Independence. I played there with Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear before they blew up. Then I started doing regular sets at Bar Louie in P&L. And then blues jams, which is where I met the guys in my band.

Q. You have released two recordings, the first in 2014. Was it your first time in the studio?

A. Yes. It was at LA Audio in Olathe. The band was only about a month old. We just wanted something we could use to get our name out there. It took about 10 hours, and it went really smooth. It was a good experience.

The full length came out in September. It’s 14 songs. We recorded it at Weights and Measures (Soundlab) with Duane Trower, who was so easy to work with. It took about six months. We spent more time orchestrating it and producing it more. It includes the five songs on the EP. We added some instruments to a couple of them, like on one I heard a cello, so we added that.

Q. How do you describe your music?

A. I’m working on that. I’ve been put in the blues scene, but I’ve found I’m not traditional blues, so it confuses some people. I’m going with blues-rock or rock-soul. I’m more in that direction. - The Kansas City Star


Truly Me - LP Released August 2015
Do & Hope - EP Released August 2014



2015 Female Vocalist of the Year

Midwest Music Awards


This soulful, rockin' female, originally from Chicago, has had a passion for singing throughout her entire life.  Growing up in a household that was rich in music, her influences were widely varied from artists such as Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Eva Cassidy, Etta James, Joss Stone, Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, and many more.  

Despite these modern musical influences, Lauren was classically trained throughout most of her early life.  She began classical piano lessons at the age of 8, was an active member of several choirs and began taking classical voice lessons when she began high school. She eventually took her love of singing to the Quad Cities and obtained a bachelors degree in music with an emphasis on voice at Augustana College. Initially she planned on becoming an opera singer, but quickly realized that rock and soul music were more her style.

Having listened to those around her, telling her that music and the arts were difficult fields to have a career in, Lauren followed the safe path in life, making sure she had a "back-up" plan while working on her music and performing. This lead her to The University of Kansas to complete her masters degree in music therapy. She worked for several years as a music therapist on a pediatric unit and at a school for at-risk youth in Kansas City. However, even with a steady job she found that passions don’t die easily, and despite her love of working as a music therapist, she was ready to take on the challenge of making music performance her career.

After officially completing her masters in 2012, Lauren began performing solo gigs around the greater Kansas City area and eventually put together a full band. She released her first official EP, “Do & Hope”, in August 2014.  Fittingly, this EP was named after the unofficial motto of Lauren’s mother’s side of the family, who often remarked, “Just do it and hope it turns out okay.”

Lauren released her first, full-length CD titled, "Truly Me" in August 2015. And two singles, recorded in the legendary Ocean Way Nashville Studios, in 2016. Shortly after these releases she finally made the leap into becoming a full-time musician and moved to Nashville in February 2017.

Band Members