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Regardless of undertaking her biggest sold out UK tour to date, rising starlet Lauren Aquilina was gracious enough to lend a few (more) words to Vada. We caught up with the 18 year old during an exciting time: “Liars”, her third and final EP in the trilogy, was on the brink of release and Lauren was mid way through tackling the biggest venues of her career. Having previously spoken about her approach to love and sexuality as well as her older music and inspirations, we looked to the future including news of her label signing, the relationship with her fans and work on a debut album.
Vada: Huge congratulations are in order already: you’ve signed to Island Records! After self-releasing your trilogy of EPs, what made you decide to finally sign to a record label? How is this going to change things?
Lauren Aquilina: Thank you! It took a long time to win me over, I first started talking to labels before my first EP even came out… but I was still in school and it didn’t feel like the right thing. I didn’t want to sign my name to anything I couldn’t be 100% committed to and I also wanted to test the water and release some stuff on my own without the pressure! It hasn’t changed things too much so far, I have a great team of people to help me make decisions now but I still have the final say on everything and they know how driven and opinionated I am, so they pretty much leave me to it!
“Lovers or Liars” is the lead single taken from Liars EP, released March 10th. It’s the final chapter in your trilogy and one which so many fans are excited for. What are your inspirations this time around? And what makes it different to Fools and Sinners?
Indeed. Fools EP was all about the initial phases of a relationship (liking someone and all the emotions that come with that), Sinners EP described being in that relationship. This EP is the final chapter and explores coming to the end of it and the feelings involved, and why it happened. Sonically its much bigger than Fools and Sinners too… its more of a taster of what the album will sound like I hope!
Your token fourth track heartbreaker is a highlight of the EPs to many. How would you describe “Broke” this time around?
Haha! Broke is definitely very sad, really honest… and kind of lacking structure which I like. Also, the last line is actually the first line of Fools. I wanted people to really get the ‘full circle’ thing – that I was still writing about the same person.. *sigh*.
You’ve not really slowed down since the release of Fools a year and a half ago. You chose to hold off on the University front and stay focussed on your music career: what advice would you give to someone who’s struggling to balance everything in their lives?
I gave up my good school grades, my social life, and my family time because I wanted to do music so badly. I was trying to balance A Levels, a Saturday job, and a growing music career all at the same time and it was really difficult. However, I would advise any young aspiring musicians to stay in school for as long as possible. I hated it, but its made the past 8 months so much more rewarding. Also, time management is really key – make sure you’re getting the right balance of work and what makes you happy!
You remain so close to your fans: you’re currently touring and meeting every single willing fan after performing to hundreds of people in big venues which must be tiring. What message would you like to send to those fans who’ve supported you since your early YouTube covers?
It’s really important to go out after shows and say hello and thank you for coming. Also, I actually want to do it because I love meeting the people that have put me in the position I’m in right now, I think that’s so cool. I can’t believe anyone would pay to come and see me anyway! There are a lot of people I met through twitter or at one of my first ever gigs who I would actually call friends now. I have so much time for everyone who’s supported me up to this point! Just feel so so lucky.
Speaking of touring, you’ve sold out the famous Bristol Thekla and Islington Academy in London this time around. You headlined the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds and got your new single played twice in half an hour on Radio One. Things are moving quickly for you. How do you stay grounded?
Well when you put it in a list like that… I forget sometimes how much I’ve done! That’s mad. Well, my family are really cool. There is NO favouritism here. I show the slightest hint of diva without even meaning to and I’ll be bullied for days at home! Also my manager spends all day every day criticising me purely to make sure I know that I can always do better, not because he literally hates me… I think. I’m literally just a normal teenager! I just finished school, I do chores at home, I see my friends when they’re home from uni, the only difference is I have my dream job at 18! The industry is so fickle too. I know it could all be snatched from under my feet at any second, so I really just try to enjoy it. Wow that was a rambly answer. Sorry.
As you’ve accomplished previously, your EP pre-orders have already shot Liars into the top 10 of the UK Album Charts, batting away competition such as Lorde and Beyonce. How does it feel to still be achieving such impressive feats under 20 and unsigned?
I couldn’t believe that! I was sat in my room like “…what?!” Pre-orders baffle me because I never pre-order anything and most people I know don’t either! So its extra special to have that many people buy something before they’ve even heard it! There’s such a trust involved, its really amazing.
Finally, as always, we look to the future. You’re signed, you’re penning a debut album and about to finish your third sell out tour. Looking back, would you have done anything differently? And what happens now for Lauren Aquilina?
I definitely wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. I’m so lucky. Like I just said, I’m 18 and I have my dream job. How many people get to say that?! What happens now is I have the mammoth and terrifying task of writing a debut album that’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more.. (help). Then I become best friends with Beyonce and together we take over the world. Simple really. Wish me luck!
As of Monday 10th March, Lauren’s trilogy of EPs, Fools, Sinners and Liars respectively, are all available on iTunes.