Lauren Abend is working hard to make her dreams a reality, and wants you to come along for the ride.
Lauren, who grew up in Mudgee, has lived in Sydney for just over three and a half years where she studied music and built connections at JMC Academy.
Lauren started writing and recording music under the title 'Lau' in the last couple of years having previously written songs for other artists.
"I spent the duration of lockdown to really focus on writing and doing something for myself for a change. COVID for me was a blessing in disguise because it allowed more time to start writing," Lauren said.
She released her first single 'Rivers' as Lau in December last year (2020) and is planning to release her first full album in June.
When Lauren began writing Rivers in August last year, fresh off a personal loss, it gave her the creative ammunition she needed to bring it to life.
"It's about when you lose someone you valued and loved a great deal. And you never really picture that relationship ending and yet, when it does, you're kind of overwhelmed with the feeling of loss. And that loss can almost feel like a death," Lauren said.
"You have to really grieve that relationship or friendship. I named it Rivers because I felt the line I wrote, 'I cried rivers for you' really encompassed the depths of the devastation that can fall on you."
Still early in her career, the 21-year-old said she's settled into a conversational writing style, something she finds therapeutic.
"Writing, to me, definitely helps me out of hard times or situations that I'm in. It doesn't have to always be bad. I write about happy things - but I think this song in particular was a real vent for me. I think it just needed to come out. And it needed to come out in 2020. It just felt right in the moment. I just felt like I'm ready for this to come out."
I got asked asked this question recently... of what drew me to music and I just sat there and I thought 'nothing really draws me close'. It was just always there.Lauren Abend on her love of music
Lauren co-writes with a producer, Jake Arvonen who owns the studio Water on Mars. The two work together to bring life and mood to the lyrics Lauren writes.
"I wrote the song then showed it to my producer. We played around with it, just really explored other ways we could move the song and then went to the studio did all the vocal takes, and we sent it off to Studio 301 to be mastered and completed," Lauren said.
"It's quite a lengthy process. I mean, you can't just go in one day and be like, 'yep, here's the song, adapt it next week.' With this song I took probably longer than I should have taken for one song. It took until December to really perfect it and get it to sound the way I wanted."
Music has been a part of Lauren's life, among her earliest memories. Its influence touching every aspect of her childhood, a thread that makes up the fabric of personality.
"I got asked this question recently... of what drew me to music and I just sat there and I thought 'nothing really draws me close'. It was just always there," she said.
"My brother is a producer and my mum would play the piano. I think it's just I've always just been surrounded by it. I played the flute for 9 years."
Since releasing the single, Lauren said reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, surpassing even her modest expectations. "For my first single, I wasn't expecting to hit the charts, or anything like that. But, you know, I've had some really sweet messages like, this is my nighttime song I put it on every time I go to go to sleep, it calms me down." she said.
"There was this one girl. She wrote to me and said that she was having such a horrible year, and that she didn't feel alone anymore - and that my song really helped her and probably going to help her through her hard time.
"I was really taken aback, you don't tend to realize that music can help people in their lives and help people out of things. I know that I have albums that have helped me in my life. But I've just, you know, felt really grateful that I can help with my song."
Lauren has the support of her family, who are happy she's finding a creative outlet and work at the same time.
"They've always expected that I would, you know, go and pursue music or modeling. It didn't matter which one as long as I'm always being creative," Lauren said.
"I'm just so determined to do what I want. And I have a clear vision of who I am and where I want to be."
You can listen to Rivers on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube or wherever you listen to music.