Our interview with singer, songwriter, painter and classically trained pianist Lara Oshon.
Lara Oshon (pronounced like ‘ocean’), is best known for her signature lush vocals and rhythmic piano stylings. Her new single, “Phoenix Rising,” is a song about transition and born from Lara’s feelings of being trapped inside a shape that no longer fit her, and the struggle to break free from it.
In addition to releasing her new single and music video, Lara has created the “Rise Up” T-Shirt as a call of action to her fans to Listen In, Speak Out and Rise Up. She wants each person to stay awake and be aware of what is going on in their own minds and with the people around them. She wants this T-Shirt to be a tangible reminder to do something small each day to be a beneficial presence in the world. 50% of proceeds will be donated to 5 non-profit campaigns that are actively working toward resolving external and internal issues, both in the U.S. and internationally.
With frequent comparisons to Karen Carpenter and Carole King, Lara’s music and voice are reminiscent of the golden era of 1970s singer-songwriters whose songs were thoughtful, classic and well-crafted. Her poetic lyricism, soulful delivery and playful spunk could be a modern cross between Sarah McLachlan and Sara Bareilles, uniquely combining elements of pop folk, soul, folk and indie.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Warm, creative, playful
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Many people have impacted me significantly, but I don’t know that anything can surpass the impact of my parents on my life. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who were both very engaged in my life and provided me with a solid foundation of love and stability. We may disagree on many things, but that has also helped to shape my belief system and given me the courage to follow my own path.
What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family?
I started taking piano lessons when I was eight years old and trained for 12 years. The piano was a primary relationship and outlet for me growing up. My whole family sang in the choir at church because that’s what everyone did, but I never thought of myself as a good singer. My dad loves to sing and is part of a large men’s choir that travels and performs.
Do you ever get nervous?
Of course! It shows me that I’m still stretching myself.
For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 3 words?
Smooth, Soulful, Strong
How did you get started in the industry?
I didn’t discover I could write music and sing until my late twenties, which was a very happy accident! I quickly recorded an 11 track demo with a friend and started performing. Things just kept growing from there. I didn’t know anything about the music industry or how to even record an album, so everything that I’m doing is self-taught. I just assumed I could figure it out as I went, and I’ve had wonderful people show up along the way to help that happen.
Now tell us about your newest single “Phoenix Rising”?
I’m really proud of this song and video. It took several years to put together, but sometimes projects need to marinate before they are fully complete. I wrote it during a very difficult turning point in my life, and it gave me strength when I needed it. I recorded it with my good friend Tim Kobza, who helped me shape the sound and instrumentation. I produced the video with another close friend, Nathan Prevost, and every aspect of both the recording and video were done very intentionally and with great love. It’s a very personal piece that I hope offers strength and upliftment to anyone who needs it.
LARA OSHON | Phoenix Rising
What we can expect of Lara Oshon in 2018?
More music! I plan to record a new album next year, so stay tuned.
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
That’s a really hard question. Some of my highlights come from very private moments sharing a song with one person. For example, I wrote a song about the nanny who raised me my first year of life after my mom broke her back. We lost touch with her for many decades, but my parents found her and I was able to play the recording for her (Annie Pearl) just before she died. That was a huge personal high to get to say thank you in person. I also write a song about my 100-year-old Grandmom that has been deeply meaningful for my family (100 Years). Creating my first music video this year is definitely a career highlight. Anytime I get to sing and feel that people are moved is a highlight for me.
Best advice ever given?
Right before my very first concert, when I was absolutely terrified as I’d never sung solo in public before, a wise older friend grabbed my shoulders, looked me fiercely in the eyes and said this: “Lara Oshon, you are the best you’ve ever been. You were born for this.” She knew that I didn’t see myself yet as an artist or singer, but she also knew it was truly who I was. It gave me such courage and relief in the moment, and was such a generous thing to say. Whenever I am nervous or scared about doing something or taking a risk, I say that to myself. It reminds me of who I am.
Name one your strengths?
I am courageous. I do things that I don’t know how to do, things that scare me. I don’t let fear stop me from being true to the creative gifts I’ve been given.
What are the 3 things you can’t live without?
The ocean, lip balm, love
What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
Stay present and keep your heart open
What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
My bff and I can sing the shit out of old Bon Jovi songs in the car. “Livin’ on a Prayer” never sounded so good!
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Sleep in, make a strong pot of french press coffee, and write for as long as I want. Then go for a bike ride and hit the local farmer’s market. After lunch maybe practice some music or paint and then head to the beach and stay through sunset. Drink a bottle of wine with someone I love. Grill something delicious for dinner. Laugh and cry at least once. Feel gratitude for the beauty of being alive.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Kale or Brussel Sprouts
And your favorite cheat food?
Do you support any charities?
Yes quite a few – some long-time favorites are the Ocean Conservancy, Nature Conservancy and NRDC. I have dedicated various concerts to specific charities, and recently released a t-shirt campaign called ‘Rise Up’ that is supporting five different organizations I strongly believe in : Step Up Women’s Network, Best Friends Animal Society, The Freedom to Choose Project, Americares, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
Do you have any hobbies?
Is snuggling with my rescue cat a hobby? I am completely in love with her 🙂
Five years from now you will be….
Enjoying my life and experiencing things I can’t even imagine right now!
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Travel Destination: Bali or Italy
Sports Team: Whoever I’m dating is into…. no shame in my game
Photo Credit: Samuel Hanson