Lauren Best
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Lauren Best


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"Sticker Collection"





Sticker Collection is an impressive debut for a singer-songwriter who is barely out of high school. According to the press bumph, high school is when the now 20-year-old Lauren Best actually penned the 12 numbers that make up Sticker Collection.

What's most surprising about Best's songs is the style in which she writes them, an a ud itory fiesta that could be described as klezmer meets cabaret with flourishes of pop and jazz. While this unusually musical amalgamation is charming because it actually works, it's her lyrics that make the songs come off sounding fresh and fun. She's not Noel Coward yet, but she could be.

Check out the chorus from "Biography of a Good Girl": "Being good was never good enough for me/Being a good girl don't make for much mystery/Self-loathing, self-help and a little self-pleasurlng/ls what gives a young lady a best-selling biography." Not sure? Read it out loud. Now imagine those words sung in a smoky alto with a wry and sophisticated cabaret delivery Likewise imagine the chorus of the deliciously downbeat "The Nihilism Song": "My solution for sensitivity/ Lies in my nihilistic tendencies/ If I don't believe in you/Then you can't believe in me."

With its themes of alienation and identity, in some ways Sticker Collection is exactly what would be expected come from a young artist. What makes this first-time effort stand out is how it's been executed. Talented and unique, Lauren Best is definitely one to keep an ear out for. - Herizons

"Music career calls Best"

Lauren Best had every intention of going to university to study theatre and the performing arts when she finished high school last spring. But a little thing called a music career got in her way.

"I started recording an album, put theatre school on hold and jumped wholeheartedly into music," Best said Thursday morning from her dad's house in downtown Owen Sound.

"I'd always considered music as a career option, but I kind of shied away from it, and then one day, it chose me and I said yes."

Best is in town to perform two shows this weekend with the Renegade Company, her band that now consists of Tyler Wagler on bass, Eric Woolston on vibraphone and percussion and Graham Campbell on guitar and organ.

Best, who has an indie-piano-pop sound with jazz, blues and soul influences, is in the throes of recording her debut album in Toronto, where she's been living for the last eight months.

The 18-year-old singer/songwriter/ pianist is involved in and is overseeing the entire process. She can now add producer to her resume.

"It's a huge leap to record an album. You learn so much about producing. Some days I'll be recording and working with session musicians, other days I'm working with arrangers and we always have a lot of meetings on the go," said Best, who studies piano and takes vocal classes privately.

Her business partner and dad, Kevin Best, says when they discovered the depth of his daughter's songwriting abilities, he knew music could be a viable career for her.

"She's an incredible songwriter and when I heard her songs, I told her if she wanted to pursue music to go for it," said Kevin.

Owen Sound's former poet laureate, Liz Zetlin, named Best poet of the month last June and she has also won dozens of singing and performing accolades in her young career. Locally, she's worked in partnerships with the Georgian Bay Folk Society and the Knox Acoustic Cafe as a host, performing artist and producer as part of the Young and Hungry Discoveries series, something her dad says is important for up-and-comers in the area.

"It's incredibly important to nurture young talent the way these programs do. They were hugely important for Lauren, not only did they give her an opportunity as a performer and for people to hear her, but as a producer," said Kevin.

With only the vocals left to record, Best is aiming to have her 12-track, yet-to-be titled album out this summer. She will perform Saturday night at a private house concert and Sunday night at the Rocky Raccoon Cafe.

"I decided to come home and play some music, it's lovely to play for people you know," said Best. - Owen Sound Sun Times

"Teen experience set to music"

Teen experience set to music
Singer unveiling CD debut, Sticker Collection, Friday at Pan Cafe

Lauren Best playing at...
Toronto-based alt-pop singer Lauren Best will be unveiling her CD debut, Sticker Collection, for Niagara audiences at Pan Cafe this Friday. Opening the show will be St. Catharines' own Bryson Waind.
Lauren Best began her music career quite young, standing up on barstools to sing ‘You Are My Sunshine.’
Three years later, Best began writing her own lyrics.
Through instruction — in piano playing, vocals, musical theory and composition — her lyric and music writing skills only improved.
“I think I’ve always writing music because it just comes to me,” said the Toronto-based singer-songwriter.
Just 20, Best is in the middle of a CD release tour of her self-produced album, Sticker Collection, which features lyrics she wrote in her mid-teenage years.
The poetic nature of her lyrics were widely recognized, with her being declared Owen Sound’s “poet of the month.”
Best, who was born in Mississauga, but grew up in the small city of Owen Sound, said most of the lyrics were written between the years of 15 and 16, with a “smattering” of 14 and 17 thrown in.
While she’s had time to grow and mature since then, Best said for the most part, her lyrics haven’t changed.
“They take a while to flesh out, but I believe once it’s done, I try not to make to many changes to it,” she said.
Best’s lyrics have been described as “confessional”, though she would describe them a little differently. While she says they’re certainly reflective, dealing with the emotions she felt at the time, they’re also somewhat tongue-in-cheek, she said.
“At that time, growing up, everything is really intense,” she said. But “there’s a lot of sassiness, too.”
Work began on the album in winter of 2008, finishing it up and sending it to be reproduced last summer.
Last week, she began her CD release tour, which is taking her to small cities in and around the GTA, as well as back home in Owen Sound.
And on Friday, she’ll be performing at Pan Cafe, in downtown St. Catharines, a location her father and tour organizer, Kevin Best, discovered when looking for an intimate setting with crowds that appreciate music.
“I’d rather have five people listening than 100 people drinking,” he said. “Lauren’s music is not background music. It’s engaging.”
Opening for Best will be hometown singer-songwriter Bryson Waind, who recorded a live folk music album at Pan in April 2008. His first studio recording, ‘Grape Country’ was recorded in 2009 and features players from both his country and bluegrass bands.
Doors open at 8 p.m., with the admission being pay-what-you-can ($7 is suggested).
Pan Cafe is located at 120 St. Paul St. For more information, call 905-687-8704. - Niagara This Week


Sticker Collection (2011)



Toronto-based Lauren Best, keyboardist and singer-songwriter, delivers unique, campy and engaging pop on her self-released full-length solo debut, "Sticker Collection".

Produced with associate producers Tyler Wagler and Adam Hall, Lauren (trimmed) is backed on the recording by acclaimed players: pianist/organist Michael Fonfara (Downchild Blues Band, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper), saxophonist Colleen Allen (Ani Di Franco, Anne Murray, Holly Cole) and award-winning jazz drummer Archie Alleyne. Lauren’s piano alt-pop reveals a quirky singer-songwriter with diverse influences. She is often compared favourably to artists such as: Regina Spektor, Carole King, Gwen Stefani, Joni Mitchell, and Norah Jones.

Lauren made her big-stage debut at age 7 with the legendary Salome Bey at Chippewas of Nawash First Nation- an early start for dreams of performance to be coming true, and sowing the seeds for relentless urge to perform. She continued to be shaped and shined to a become a young gem, from partaking in the youth mentorship program at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (2009) where she was mentored by award-winning folk artist/playwright Evalyn Parry, to receiving a bursury in 2010 to perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival under the mentorship of the Weakerthans’ front-man John K. Samson.

Keeping busy with performance and recording collaborations, Lauren has performed widely with her backing band the Renegade Company (notably Summerfolk 2007), and with the improvisational Element Choir (including at the Wavelength concert series, and Kitchener-Waterloo’s Open Ears Festival with world-renowned composer R. Murray Schafer). The poetic nature of Lauren’s songs also led to performances with the local spoken word community and, in June 2008 she was declared Owen Sound’s poet of the month. While the alt-electro group Girl + The Machine remains on hiatus, Lauren remains focused on alt-pop solo and band performances and recordings.

Lauren was excited after three long years of production to unleash "Sticker Collection."

“This (album) is a series of monologues from characters that are all fictional and all talking about things that are totally real,” she says. "This is about what goes on when you aren’t trying to make a change, about the struggle to keep it together so you can keep making music, and the only way to talk about it is to make music.”

And that’s what she did.

"An auditory fiesta that could be described as klezmer meets cabaret with flourishes of pop and jazz... her lyrics make the songs come off sounding fresh and fun... a smoky alto with a wry and sophisticated delivery... Talented and unique, Lauren Best is definitely one to keep an ear out for."
~ Cindy Filipenko, Herizons Magazine (February 2011)

Tom Power of CBC’s Deep Roots introduced one song, “Soaked to Soul,” as “sort of Klezmer, sort of Romanian, sort of Leonard Cohen.” And that's just a small sampling of what you'll hear on "Sticker Collection". From the NYC sax-injected track, “Ripples” to the jazzy confessional “Biography of a Good Girl”, and the sassy taunt of “The Nihilism Song”, her detailed lyrics are mini-stories, unique and personal.

“It’s a fair bet that you’ve heard the phrase “singer/songwriter” being used a fair bit on this show, and I'm certain I've used it many times. For me, though, one of the things that makes a songwriter stand apart from the rest of the pack is the person’s ability to craft songs that stand on their own merit.What I mean by that is that their songs will not lose any of their appeal or immediacy if they are performed without a band. Oftentimes, they pack more poignancy if they are performed at say, a spoken word show. Lauren Best has this gift for writing songs that stand on their own merit. Her auspicious debut album, Sticker Collection, is filled with intimate, confessional poetry. Essentially, this is music for thoughtful contemplation.”
~ Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio's Big City Small World

“I was blown away. It has a retro vibe, yet is fresh and unique. Right away I saw it on Letterman. I was very, very impressed and think Lauren Best is going to be extremely successful as an artist.”
~ Robert Michaels, Juno Award winner and platinum recording guitarist

"Lauren Best’s poetry is a breath of fresh air ... Lauren is wise, as they say, beyond her years. And so very talented lyrically and musically. I was entranced and enthralled and recommend that you visit her online at the Sun Times Music Gallery and wherever else she hangs out, until you get the chance to hear her live." ~ Liz Zetlin, Former Poet Laureate of Owen Sound