Born and raised in a family of musicians, Lauren Hashian has had the support, determination and powerful vocals she needs to fearlessly make her name in the music industry. Her success as a creator began at the age of 19 when she converted her Emerson dorm room into a recording studio and won the coveted EVVY Award for Best Multi Track Recording. Since college, she released two big singles on Soundcloud, “Memory” and “You Are Mine”, and co-wrote “Only You” with hip-hop artist YaBoi Shad.
Most recently, Hashian has caught the public eye with the release of her first official music video featuring Walter French, “Go Hard”, on her custom Vevo channel. The video’s inspirational message and overall artistic direction secured “Go Hard” a nomination at this year’s Hollyshorts Film Festival as well as being named one of the official songs for the 2017 WNBA season!
We had the opportunity to interview Lauren to learn more about her video and what we can expect from her in the upcoming months. Here is what she had to say:
When did you start playing music?
I started singing consistently when I was a kid in middle school. My sister had this 80’s karaoke machine that was just a speaker, a tape deck, and a long mic plugged into it, so I stole it from her room and took it to my room haha. And I loved that thing so much! I would pop in the best tape we had and sing along from beginning to end. The two earliest ones I remember were SWV and Bobby Brown. SO GOOD! I started creating music later when I hit college.
Where do you draw your biggest inspiration?
From my family and friends, and from amazing voices and storytellers. I love Mali Music’s new album, The Transition of Mali, it’s a beautiful work of art. I’ve never heard a song like “Sit Down For This” before, and his performance is so emotional. It grabs you. That inspires me. My family; my brother is an incredible jazz pianist & my piano coach, my sister’s an amazing songwriter & also my best friend and writing partner. My mom has always inspired me through her constant, pure love and motivation. She does this thing where she will close her eyes, purse her lips and snap her fingers if she likes the song, so when I see her diggin’ it like that it’s the best feeling in the world.
Dwayne has been such a major driving force in my inspiration. He is my motivator and my sounding board every day. Always giving me notes on the work, always motivating me to outdo my last effort. Honestly, if I impress him with a track then I feel accomplished, it’s true! He is an example of how anything you can imagine or dream up, you can do because he lives that way. So when you see that every day, it fuels you & lifts you up too. Also, being in love is a very inspiring thing – ALL of our experiences, from the good to the fun to the sexy to even the not so good, provide great inspiration to write from.
I’ve had two life experiences occur in the last 2 years that were incredibly inspiring in ways I couldn’t have expected: The birth of my daughter and the death of my father. Birth and death will literally reshape your perspective. When you have a daughter you realize right away you’re their main example as a woman, as a human being, a mother, a friend, a wife, a dreamer, everything… and it inspires you. To be the best version of yourself and to give 110% of yourself, in not just motherhood, but in all areas of your life. As cliche as it sounds after you have a child you understand more than ever what’s truly important in life. So many insignificant or superficial old fears started to disappear for me. You’re leading by example and that inspired me musically, because if I don’t want Jasmine to be afraid of following her heart and if I want her to give 110% in anything positive in her life including her work or dreams, then I have to too. There could be no more being afraid of stupid things. And that has been very grounding and inspiring. Then, my Dad’s sudden passing 5 months ago was unexpected and a shock. The fact that in the snap of your fingers your whole life can change forever. You then understand the fragility of life, and if you hesitate to fulfill things now you may not get a chance to do them later. Music always bonded our family, so when I sing now the first thing I think is, “Can you hear me Dad?”, wherever he is listening from now. He would not be proud if he knew I was afraid of something or half-assing something so there’s no room for that anymore. His death was a rebirth for my whole family. A new normal. Out of it grew a stronger desire to be healthy, live with purpose, and love each other even more powerfully. And because we want to be as positive and supportive as we can even in the toughest of situations, all of our music & every area of our life has drawn inspiration from this experience that we couldn’t have imagined it. As we are doing this interview today, it would have been his 68th birthday.
You mentioned on your Instagram that creating music was the “best thing I got out of Emerson College” and that you even turned your dorm room into a recording studio. What was your creative process like back then, and how has it changed over time?
For sure, back then it was all about having fun! There was a group of kids from Brooklyn I met my first week at Emerson and we hit it off. A few of the guys were rappers, and one of them set up a mini studio in his dorm room. Recording there was a ball and for us it was a good time! We would freestyle to the track or try to write a good hook or verse quickly. Try to show off in front of each other. Stay up way too late when we should’ve been doing school work. At first, we were just playing around but then we joined forces to make a mixed tape and some more legit professional sounding tracks. We ended up winning an award at Emerson for one of our songs which were a proud and validating moment as a kid. Fast forward to now, these days – just through so many more years of experience and trying to get better – the level of professionalism and knowledge has definitely increased. I’ve learned how to engineer and partially produce the music in order to be more self-sufficient in the studio so that’s changed the process in a positive way. Also these days, the songs are more personal and deeper. A goal is to express feelings through writing in ways they haven’t been expressed before. And to push the envelope melodically. Always try to evolve with how sound is evolving. In many ways the process is the same too, I still love to freestyle & immediately sing what comes to mind over an instrumental. We’re still up late! I still love to take pieces of everybody’s ideas in the room and combine them into one song. So some things haven’t changed. It’s really cool to see what new minds can come up with together, and you never want to lose that fun! The best sessions are the ones where you’re all hugging and jumping up-and-down in a circle at the end of it at 3 am! Especially if you were all complete strangers when you first walked into the room that night.
You’ve released two really big singles “Memory” and “You Are Mine” on SoundCloud, but what made you choose “Go Hard” for your first official music video and what was it like filming it?
“Go Hard” was the first video for a number of reasons. Singing and writing is the easy part, and it’s easy to hide in your music, because that’s the cozy place, and that’s what I love the most. Being “out there” is not as comfortable. I wish I could’ve used the H.E.R. and Sia gimmicks but those ladies were smart to come up with them first! So I’ve always been a little hesitant to make a video because I love keeping a low-key profile and holding onto privacy and normalcy. Especially for Jasmine, I don’t want to lose that. Since my man spends much of his life in front of a camera, I’m a little more reserved with stepping out and being “out there” as much. It just gives us balance, and makes you appreciate privacy and a “normal” life even more. I think we’ve done a good job of being able to hold onto that somewhat! But I couldn’t have been happier we filmed “Go Hard” because it was an amazing experience through and through! It was such a team effort and an inspiring feeling to take something from the very first ideas to a reality.
My amazing sister, Aja, and I co-produced the project. Deangelo Harding was our DP and Dustin Shepard was our editor and we absolutely loved their visual styles. Glen McGowan, our director was fantastic and it was his music video Directorial debut. He’s a former pro-basketball player as well as a former musician we used to actually write songs with. He’s made other short films and we loved his creative and moral sensibilities. He just lights up a set with pure positive energy and creative passion. Every one of the guys who came to work on the project set the best tone. And we all connected exactly on what the message of the song was. With a song like “Go Hard”, we didn’t want there to be room for misinterpretation of the lyrics – it’s discussing money, wealth, and power because we were looking at the Baller’s mentality and what drives somebody with that “Baller” mentality? Is it money, wealth, or fame? Or is it the love of their game, their dreams and push themselves beyond their expectations to be the best they can be? That’s why the visual was important because we all feel ultimately the most important things are never the money or wealth, it’s your character, your passion, your hard work and drive, and being grateful and humble no matter how much success (or failure) you have. So we were so proud of the whole team, because they did an amazing job of getting that message across through the story telling.
Congratulations on “Go Hard” being selected for 2017 Hollyshorts Film Festival! What would it mean to you to take home this award?
I think I would be really surprised, but not because we don’t love the video because we were just so happy to be in Hollyshorts period! I would be so happy for Glen and the whole team. They were so incredible every step of the way – Everyone poured 100% into it. If we do or don’t take home a win, either way what means the most to us is we loved the experience, and the message of the song – it being positive and inspirational – the video and message are a bit of a departure from so many current hip hop tracks that you mostly hear on the radio today. Rather than tear others down, we wanted to lift them up and encourage them to “Go Hard” to accomplish their goals and dreams.
“Go Hard” is very motivational in nature, and we even saw that ESPN choose it as one of their official songs for the 2017 WNBA season. What songs are on your power playlist?
My playlist is always changing and right now it is all over the place but epic. It’s a mash-up of feel good music meets beautiful thoughts & stories:
- Mali Music “Dolla”
- H.E.R “Every Kind of Way”
- Jay Z “4:44”
- Fifth Harmony “Down” but I’m waiting for that album to drop
- Sammy Johnson “Let Me Know”
- Calvin Harris feat. Pharrell, Katy Perry & Big Sean “Feels”
- Dua Lipa “Be The One”
- Miguel “What’s Normal Anyway”
- Chris Cornell “The Keeper”
- Boston “Foreplay/Long Time”
- George Benson “On Broadway”
- Beatles “She’s Leaving Home”
We see you hitting the studio a lot on your Instagram, when can we expect your next video and which song do you think it will be?
Yes! There are five songs right now. I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a “jumping up-and-down while hugging in a circle” type of experience this time around for sure! Working with some young up-and-coming, extremely talented producers and some inspiring established producers as well, all of whom have been incredible to do this with. We are planning for a Fall/Winter release now and I wish I could say more! More videos? After such a great experience creating “Go Hard”, I would love to make more visuals. We have some crazy ideas and picture boards going up, so I hope we will see a visual for two of these songs in 2018. Just beautiful, deep, intimate thoughts and contributions from all my fellow co-writers and producers on this one.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you have received as an artist?
It would be from the man, the myth, the legend Leo Mellace! When you go into that studio, work out the splits and the percentages right then and there. Get it all out there in the open: percentages and expectations. No matter how awkward the convo might be. Music Biz 101 for any other artists like me who were starting from the ground up as a kid and didn’t know back then!
Pulling from your own personal experience, is there any message you would share with all of the aspiring creators out there?
One of the best things you can do is never stop learning or growing in this field of music. There is endless knowledge. Seeking it out will only make your music skills and creations better. Instead of focusing on only one thing, see how you can keep taking yourself to the next level.
- Want to sing for a living? Practice every day.
- Play and memorize albums and sing every word from start to finish, with current or classic music.
- Take it a step further: write your own song.
- Write some to an instrumental background.
- Write some strictly from your head.
- Learn to construct 4-part vocal harmonies.
- If you don’t know how to play an instrument yet, learn one. Learn music theory.
- Now learn how to engineer your own music on a system like ProTools or Logic.
- Then learn how production works and how to produce a beat for yourself.
- Then I highly suggest learning what it means to mix – it will make your sounds polished and professional.
- Never ever stop listening to new music.
I know it may seem like one big run-on list, but there’s so much to learn, and you don’t have to stop there. All of these things take time but it’s going to make you better equipped, more confident and less limited. You’re going to be better at interacting with other musicians and studio colleagues when you have some experience and knowledge of what those people in the room are doing. It will enhance your music making process.
One last question: What is a fun fact that no one knows about you?
I held the triple jump record in high school. I was also a really odd kid and pretended to be animals in public places when I was a small child!
She sings, she writes, she produces, and she can high jump; what can’t Lauren Hashian do? With new a ton of new content coming soon, make sure you’re following Lauren on social media and subscribe to her official Vevo channel. Don’t forget to watch “Go Hard” and share it with your friends!