“What are you going to do so you wake up everyday, to be happy?
If you live by other people’s opinions then you aren’t going to be happy with yourself and you’re going to be miserable,” said Laura.
Orlando’s own singer/songwriter shared this personal philosophy with me. Laura is a graduate from Full Sail University with her Bachelors in Show Production. As a freelance sound engineer, she has made music her life. As her story unfolded to me, I realized she wasn’t the quintessential 22 year old. Creating lyrics and musical experiences for the betterment of others, has become her sole purpose in life.
Laura, better known as Lauralite, has cultivated this musical existence since diapers.
“I was a little girl, and I was 2 years old saying ‘I’m gonna be a singer when I grow up.’ I had to do it, like this is my calling,” said Laura.
She began her song writing journey as most musicians do; in fourth grade, writing love songs. However, the depth of her intuition to make this her life, bled deeper than some schoolgirl tunes.
“Just like you know your hair is brown, I knew. Like I always felt that. In my heart and in my soul. Like you see those people in the Olympics and you know they took years to do that. So I knew I had to start. I took piano lessons, I took voice lessons,” said Laura.
She told me that music had been there for her in her lowest times and explained that music quickly became her best friend. She described making music as therapeutic and spiritual.
“I think the biggest thing has also been my faith. I’m actually a christian. I’m a spiritual person. I believe in God and I believe that God gives everybody gifts. And it’s like my purpose in life is through my music; to help and heal people.”
As a refugee from Colombia, it was unlikely that her parents would immediately be on board with this idea of pursuing a songwriting career.
“I’m from Colombia, I was born in Colombia. So I came here when I was 4 and my dad was a Doctor and a lawyer in Colombia. My mom was an industrial engineer and they just like, quit their job, and just moved here. They didn’t know anything, or the language,” said Laura.
She went on to detail how her father owned a farm, and how the bombings started in.
“My parents left because they were bombing my dad’s car and they took over his farm. It’s a crazy story that you wouldn’t even think that that happens but in that time period, people didn’t care. They needed land, they wanted drugs, they were fighting against the government,” said Laura.
I was baffled. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our first world bubble and miss that the person right next to us could have gone through something so traumatic and barely escaped a fatal place.
Her family and her were granted political asylum but couldn’t leave America for ten years. Since that time lapse has ended, she’s been nonstop exploring. Whether it’s road trips cross country, exploring Canada, or flights to LA, she’s always on the go.
Although her parents, weren’t expecting their daughter to pursue music, they now support her aspirations whole heartedly.
Although Laura considers her voice to be her primary instrument, she also plays the piano, ukulele, guitar and Kazoo. She highly recommends looking up the Kazoo kid on youtube if you never have before.
Her biggest musical influence is Hayley Williams from Paramore.
“She is the Queen. For me Hayley Williams has been this icon of badass, just do whatever you want to do and be proud of it. She’s such a strong feminine character, especially in the rock industry,” said Laura.
Her most significant role model is her Dad, because he has always supported her dreams.
Things got a little personal when I asked what Laura’s family thought about her sexuality. She has been out to friends for a while, but recently went public with announcing her presence as not only a musician, but as a lesbian. She referenced her latest single “Coffee” while further explaining.
“Coffee was officially the first time of me coming out. It’s been interesting.
I felt like I was tired of hiding,” said Laura.
Laura told me her family members had this story line of how they wanted her to be and when she didn’t turn out that way, she felt they might not accept her.
“It’s honestly been a surprise. My dad was the most supportive. It’s taken my mom a long time. If I were to be with a man, I would be hurting him. I would never be 100% happy,” said Laura.
“I’m blessed that I have a lot of people that were there for me and supported me and helped me feel okay.”
She then elaborated on her coming out experience from a Christian woman’s perspective.
“When I was 16 or 17 and I was apart of a church, I told one of my friends who was a church member. Shortly after, they completely cut me off. They didn’t want me to perform. They didn’t want me on the stage. Two years later the church shut down. And it’s because they were preaching hate, and that’s not at all what the universe needs.”
Despite her family’s escape from Colombia and the set backs she’d experienced from her peers, Laura still emphasized leading a life true to her authentic self.
After the Pulse tragedy, she felt she had even more of a duty to become a supporter and proponent to embrace her sexual identification.
“If I look at it now, Pulse was a wake up call for me. There’s so much hate in this world and I’m not doing enough. I started working twice as hard by trying to connect with more people and spread more of my music,” said Laura.
Her opinion as an Orlando local on the shooting was powerful.
“The reality of it is that, yes he (the shooter) was fucked up, but we as a society fucked up, because we haven’t spoken up. We haven’t talked about it. We haven’t communicated the things that are happening.
We have had this prejudiced hate spreading for so long, and our generation needs to step up and talk about it,” said Laura.
“Our children’s children are going to grow up in a different world. We need to start talking about this; especially in the southern states where it’s the worst,” said Laura.
So let’s recap. Not only is Laura a refugee, singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, an Orlando LGBTQ staple/activist, she really doesn’t drink either.
I mean she’s practically a God-sent saint.
“The reality is that it (drinking) just brings me to a lower frequency. I do make some exceptions but I don’t like to drink. If I’m gonna drink, I’m gonna be safe about it. A lot of people aren’t safe about it and they don’t realize how easily you can mess up your life,” said Laura.
When I probed deeper on the subject, she explained to me even more so why she prefers not to drink alcohol.
“Alcohol brings out personality traits that you want. Like you want to be confident, but why don’t you just apply that in your actual life? Like is there a lesson I can take from this, and apply it to my regular life? You wanna feel free, you wanna feel confident. So what are the areas you can kind of dissect?”
Her sobering perspective was refreshing.
With all this mental clarity, it’s no wonder she has a set way to fuel her inspiration.
“I write a poem everyday. I’m very in touch with myself, and how I feel. It helps the words just flow for me. And I love that state, because nothing else matters. That, for me, is when the best songs come,” said Laura.
Her most current obstacle with her music is basically staying out of her own way. When I asked her to elaborate she stated,
“Overcoming myself, staying motivated, my ego and staying humble.
Failure is not an option for me.
I have to define what I’m doing and how I’m going to keep growing.”
A note worthy detail rose up when we started to talk about her freelance work.
“My entire industry is male dominated. There is one girl for like, ten guys,” said Laura. “In my industry, I obviously have to work twice as hard to prove myself, but I think being a lesbian has made guys take me more seriously and made me connect with them.”
Her security in herself seems to be her most ample strength. I asked Laura if she could offer any advice to people coming out.
“Nobody will ever understand you better than you, so take that time to get to understand you. Just like you take the time to get to know the people you love, take that time with yourself. Once you do that, it will help you be more secure in coming out and being able to represent who you are,” said Laura.
The theme of self love continued. Her paradoxical album
“Everything That’s Wrong With Me” is her next releasable project.
“It’s basically me learning that there’s nothing that’s wrong with me. It’s like a 7 year long album that I wrote since I was like 14 until now. I recorded it all last year.
This is what I wish somebody would’ve told me or what I would’ve had somebody tell me that it’s okay, you have to love yourself,” said Laura.
The album will be an interactive experience for fans and listeners. Once you subscribe to the album on her website, you will be emailed one song per day for a week. Each email will include the link to the song, where you can download it. The link will also bring you to the story behind the song. It’s like unlocking a new level each day.
You can explore her site here.
You can visit her Spotify page here.
Laura will also be performing at the Earth Day Festival on April 22nd at 4 pm.
You can view the festival’s schedule here.
Thanks for reading! Much love.