What would you do if someone you cherished in life suddenly became very sick? Rosie Tucker, a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter explores this in their track “Lauren”.
Rosie starts the song in a state of disbelief and a single strumming guitar, saying how Lauren’s going to write the great American novel — once she remembers how to hold a pencil. They go on to give us a better idea of who Lauren is as a person and what she’s capable of; she’s able to write so masterfully that the pages nearly come to life.
As Rosie struggles to come to grips with the illness Lauren’s struggling with, the refrain begins as percussion and more aggressive guitar playing come in:
Who’s gonna hear my song through the wall
And say don’t change a thing
Play it just like that yeah
Who’s gonna hear my song through the wall
And sing it right back
Until you come back to me?
Lauren, Lauren, Lauren
This verse makes me think of a friend I’ve had since first grade; if they suddenly disappeared, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to accept this. All the time I’d be half-expecting them to come back out of nowhere like something out of a movie. I’d imagine Rosie may have similar thoughts to this. As the song continues, Rosie gives us more insight into who Lauren is:
When Lauren hits record she’ll put the kind of noise out
The queer kids with cute haircuts wanna tell their moms about
Quiet kind of people do the most important shouting
And Lauren I’ll yell with you past a shadow of a doubt but
I love this verse, particularly the consonant sounds in their line “The queer kids with cute haircuts”. Rosie is sure to emphasize that alliteration before going on to point out how quiet people often have the most important things to say. While Lauren may be silenced by whatever may be plaguing her, Rosie swears to continue passing along any beliefs and teachings that Lauren left with them.
The song slows down as Rosie laments on Lauren’s absence; they admit that whenever Lauren’s gone, it always leaves a space in the hearts of Rosie and anyone else who’s had the great fortune of knowing her.
Rosie continues into the refrain with the same slow tempo, slowly working themselves back up to the original pace. It’s a great way to cheer Lauren on through her battle; despite her struggles and temporary lapse, Lauren is very much present through Rosie’s music and any stories others may speak of Lauren. So long as these people are alive, so too will Lauren live on.
What was the inspiration behind your track “Lauren”?
My very very dear friend, Lauren!
For “Lauren” which came first: the music or the lyrics?
Lauren was a rare and wonderful “all in one go” tune.
What do you think is most important: the music, words, or neither?
I noticed on your Facebook page that you put your music’s genre as “post-it core”. How would you define that genre?
Post-it core retains many of the genre conventions of “it core” but is characteristic for its introduction of more avant-garde sensibilities.
I also noticed on your Facebook page that it seems like you can get songs finished in 20 minutes. That’s very impressive! Is that the norm for a lot of your songs?
This is definitely not the norm and I start many more songs than I finish.
According to your Spotify bio, your new album Never Not Never Not Never Not has many songs that talk with and echo queer, blacklisted and forgotten female songwriters of the ‘60s such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sibylle Baier, Norma Tanega, and Karen Dalton.
What inspired you to have this be a common thread throughout the album?
I think that listening to these artists reminds me that there is often a schism between what makes artwork surprising, touching, or inspiring and how that artwork fares in a critical sense. Some brilliant makers surmise that they probably won’t ever sustain themselves through their art. Other artists have been prevented from participating in the music industry due to their critical relationship to power — consider Sainte-Marie, whose participation in the Red Power movement provoked radio blacklisting and surveillance by the FBI under Richard Nixon.
It can feel really special to discover an artist who has created amazing music without a great deal of public fanfare or acclaim, but it’s a shame when great art fails to reach its audience, and worse when artists struggle to survive. How can we uplift these people and their work? How do we ensure their legacies aren’t lost?
I noticed on your Spotify that you’re drawn to music eccentrics such as Erik Satie. What makes you so drawn to eccentric musicians?
I can’t speak for all eccentrics, but Erik Satie was a master doodler and someone whose relationship to the ordinary seems to have been strained at best. Satie started his own religion, wore velvet suits everywhere, joined the army to get out of music school, deliberately caught pneumonia to escape the army, and much more. He is most remembered for his piano pieces and was purportedly a mediocre player. I can’t tell if he was living in absolute creative freedom or imprisoned by his own idiosyncrasy. I like all the little poems he wrote.
I noticed you play with part of the band Gypsum. What’s the unique challenges and rewards of working on your own solo project while also working in a larger ensemble?
Working in an ensemble as a creative participant but not as a band leader/dictator has been an ongoing lesson in managing my own ego and expectations in service of some really satisfying creative outcomes. I hope I’m always working on something that isn’t my solo project.
Do you have any hobbies outside of your band that affect your music or lyrics? If so, what are they?
I like to write, read, and walk outside as much as the next person and I think these are creatively fruitful activities.
If you could meet any musician — alive or dead — who would it be and why?
I’d like to take Billie Holiday out and ask her a bunch of questions about the incidents outlined in this Politico article.