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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Lauren Ianuzzi
Monday, June 09, 2008

Rarely does an artist hook me instantaneously, but that’s exactly what happened when I first heard Lauren Ianuzzi. The song was “A Funk I Won’t Forget” and within seconds I knew she was something special. A diminutive woman with big vocals and equally big hair, I dug her voice as well as her funk infused soul sound. She reminded me of a cross between Joss Stone and Nikka Costa and after listening to all the songs of hers I could get my hands on I hit up the Bergen County, NJ native to find out more about her. During that conversation I learned that Ianuzzi is not only a fantastic artist, but she’s also an uber cool chick to hang out with. Trust me when I say this, Lauren Ianuzzi is about to become one of your favorite artists.

Adam Bernard: Start me off with some personal history. Was there any moment when you were young when you absolutely knew you had to be a singer?
Lauren Ianuzzi: There were a couple "Eureka!" moments when it came to singing. The first one happened so early on that I can't even remember it! My parents say that over the baby monitor in my room they'd hear me in my crib at the crack of dawn making up songs about my dolls, the sky, and other inspiring contents of my bedroom. The second one was at my first dance recital, in which I was the only kid who remembered the steps. When I realized that the ball was in my court I took up half the stage and started singing along with the song, "Broadway Baby." I can only imagine how hard my parents were laughing in the audience.

Adam Bernard: What initially drew you to soul singing and when did you discover you had the voice for it?
Lauren Ianuzzi: I can't remember a time when I didn't listening to soul; it was part of my everyday life. Actually, my mom was the soul fan and my dad was the rock fan, so my experience with music up until I was about 12 was a complete education in classic pop history. For a while my favorite singers were all from previous generations; Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth… don't worry, Sammy, I love you, too. In middle school I discovered some artists on my own; Mariah Carey, I still know every single Mariah riff off Daydream and Butterfly, Lauryn Hill, and all the pop and R&B divas on the Top 40 station. My vintage music knowledge is cool now, but then it was all about listening to whatever was of the moment. My parents had just started leaving me in the house alone after school, so I'd blast the radio or one of my CDs and belt, belt, belt. I'd create new harmonies, play with improvising. I just went with the natural flow and taught myself how to sing since I never had real training. It was my secret, though. No one knew I could sing pop and soul for years.

Adam Bernard: Well, I for one am glad the secret’s out. In addition to your singing there’s a lot of live instrumentation in your work. How many of those instruments do you play?
Lauren Ianuzzi: I do all the piano work. Occasionally, I'll throw in some organ stuff, too. I used to play tenor sax in high school, but now I focus on the keys. I'd love to bust that sax out at a show sometime, though!

Adam Bernard: The subject matter of your songs range, but quite a few of them are pretty racy. I think I heard a mention of handcuffs in one and making a guy beg on his hands and knees in another. Is this the everyday Lauren Ianuzzi, or an aspect of yourself you like to convey on record?
Lauren Ianuzzi: I have a lot of fun with those lines. It's definitely an exaggeration of a certain side of myself. I wouldn't quite go there in broad daylight, or at the deli or something! I will say that my closest friends know I am pretty bawdy, but always with humor and finesse.

Adam Bernard: So if that’s one side of you, what’s the everyday Lauren Ianuzzi like? Tell me why she’s cool to hang out with.
Lauren Ianuzzi: I'm sweet and spicy. I'm adventurous, but not dangerous. I can hang out with guys without making their girlfriends uncomfortable. I'm a good-time chick from Jerz who loves pizza and beer and hates drama. Plus, I'm a college grad, so I've got a brain too!

Adam Bernard: Ah yes, college. I know while you were there you wrote two fully orchestrated musical comedies. Tell me about those.
Lauren Ianuzzi: The first one, "We So ARE Them," was a satirical ode to the awkward days of middle school. My friend and I co-wrote the script and lyrics. We created the premise of the show one night in an empty cafeteria, completely stressed out of our minds. As co-directors we took it all the way to the main stage, by ourselves, completely student-run and school-funded! I wrote the music, orchestrated it, and played piano in the pit. Some highlights include the big-band tap number "Who Cares, She's Hot" the makeout ode "Seven Minutes in Heaven," and the emo ballad "Why I Wear Black," complete with a flute solo by my co-director. The second musical comedy I wrote never made it off the page, but it's called "The Upper Hand," and it's about a meek husband-to-be with a controlling, emasculating wife. It's an R-rated creation! I did get an A+ on it in Playwriting, though.

Adam Bernard: What have you incorporated from your years of doing musical theater into your solo performances?
Lauren Ianuzzi: My onstage dynamic is pretty theatrical. It's always fun to get into the character of each song. The essence of everything I write comes from my life, but I paraphrase my experiences and channel them through different girls; a rock goddess on "Strawberry Poison," a female James Brown on "Funk I Won't Forget," a jazzy minx on "Cotton Underwear Days." I also think that much of my lyrical puns and wordplay come from that musical theatre world.

Adam Bernard: Finally, you have a very funky personal style. I love your hair. So my last question of the day to you is how would you define your style and how would you say your style defines you?
Lauren Ianuzzi: Well, first off, thank you! This hair is all me, natural curls! My style is, like my music, a colorful paraphrasing of my real life personality. I'm always drawn to bold prints and hues, experimental pieces, form-fitting and at times flashy ensembles! I love to play with makeup, too. Bottom line, I'm not afraid to take risks! I do it on the low-budge, though. Bargain shopping is way more fun! My style defines me because I often take fashion cues from both sides of my musical spectrum. I love the warm, woodsy tones of 70's soul, and the big earrings, sky high shoes, and glitter of funk. I also gravitate to the leather, teased hair, and tight denim and spandex of the hair-metal era.

Related Links

Website: laurenianuzzi.com
MySpace: myspace.com/laurenianuzzi


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:49 AM  
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