Friday, March 1, 2013

New artist alert: Lauren Aquilina

Do we really need another Gabrielle Aplin? Well, yes. It's always good to have a spare in case the first one bursts.

Joking aside (and let's be honest, it wasn't even a good joke) Lauren Aquilina could be one to watch in 2013. She's already toured with Bastille and Gabrielle Aplin (natch) and has just sold out a headline show at London's Borderline in less than 48 hours.

Lauren is only 17, and lives in Windsor next door to the Queen. The unusual surname, pronounced "aqua-leena", comes from the Maltese side of her family. "It means eagle," she explains.

The singer-songwriter is still finishing off her A-Levels, but she's managed to get some time off school to play the SXSW festival in March, where's she'll meet a bunch of music industry bigwigs. She'll also be introduced to people with smaller wigs, and maybe a bald man in a hat.

The reason for all this fuss is Lauren's excellent Fools EP. Although it's been up on iTunes since October, the four-track single received a big boost after featuring on Hollyoaks a couple of weeks ago. Radio One have just added the title track to their Introducing playlist, too, so things are definitely looking good.

The song itself is a delicate, stylish piano ballad about two friends who've fallen for each other, but can't decide what to do: "What if we ruin it all and we love like fools?" asks Lauren in the chorus. It's simple enough to feel truthful, but deep enough to get under your skin.

Lauren Aquilina - Fools

By the way, Lauren's another one of those YouTube success stories, who's built a sizeable fanbase by posting piano-led cover versions online.

It's interesting how this has thrown up several artists (Aplin, Nina Nesbitt, Kate McGill, Ed Sheeran) who've scored massive teenage fanbases with the sort of reflective, acoustic music normally associated with Radio 2's housewife demographic. All of them write intelligent lyrics about first love and schoolyard crushes, but they're also very approachable and funny on their social media accounts.

Lauren is a case in point - she posts the chord sequences for her songs online, spends hours replying to fans, and has a great collection of irreverent tweets.

So, keep an eye out for more. Lauren's still unsigned, but I can't imagine that continuing for much longer. I'll leave you with her "better than the original" cover of Cher Lloyd's With Ur Love, which was her first break-out YouTube hit last year. Nice.

Lauren Aquilina - With Ur Love

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