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Lauren Hoffman on Folk & Beyond

Aer Stephen welcomes Lauren Hoffman
for some planned spontaneity
in the moment
beyond folk

about lauren hoffman
"Ms. Hoffman makes moody and sexy pop songs."
- The New York Times

lauren hoffman grew up in the musically fertile town of charlottesville, virginia, where from her father she learned song-form and the history of the beatles, simultaneously with shoelace-tying and the alphabet. at 12 she began playing guitar and writing her own songs. one song led to another, and another, and by some lucky chain of connections she found herself 18 years old and recording at sound of music studios in richmond virginia with producers david lowery (camper van Beethoven, cracker) and john morand (carbon leaf, sparklehorse).

"Gushing with soul and sexuality, her fragile, burning voice breathes a filigree of melody over guitar lines, which drift like falling leaves."

the rough mixes from those sessions sparked a minor 'bidding war' between record companies and at 19, she signed a recording contract with virgin records. in los angeles, with the help of mixer/producer ethan johns and multi-instrumentalist jon brion, the album she had begun in virginia was finished. megiddo was released in 1997 to strong critical praise. that year, lauren was invited to tour with the first lilith fair festival, and with the les inrockuptibles festival in france, a country where megiddo was especially well-received. her song "rock star" was used in the movie "palmetto", and the song "strange man" was featured in the television crime drama "homocide: life on the street".

"This twenty-year-old Virginia chanteuse knows how to tell a story and weave a spell."
- Details

lauren began work on her second CD, the sparse and introspective from the blue house, in the spring of 1998, this time co-producing with los angeles-based engineer brian kehew in a small analog studio in rural virginia. due to high personnel-turnover at virgin, lauren found herself delivering her album to strangers who were unsupportive of her creative vision. so, rather than re-work her album to be "more like portishead", lauren asked to be released from her contract and left virgin, retaining the rights to all of her masters.

"It is obvious that the artistic freedom she now has paid off in spades. A great soundtrack for a big sky."
- Chris True, All Music Guide

from the blue house was released independently in late 1999, and distributed by PIAS records in europe. lauren toured in england, france and belgium, making several notable radio and television appearances, and selling-out her show (on a pirate ship, no less) in paris.

"She offers an impressionistc brand of introspection, peppering it with sharp flashes of wit."
- The Boston Phoenix

after from the blue house, lauren announced that she was 'quitting music' and went to attend virginia commonwealth university as a dance and choreography major. but she couldn't stay away for long. in the fall of 2002 she spontaneously withdrew from her classes and traveled to india. there she recorded acoustic versions of 11 new songs, a collection now known as the lucknow demos. 2003 found her looking for the right place for her new material to grow roots: at first abroad in france and england, and then at home in virginia, where her rock band, the lilas, acted for a time as a vehicle for her songs. but finally, in 2004, she found a place for her material to flourish when she returned to sound of music studios and began recording again, co-producing with john morand her first studio album in 5 years, choreography.

"Hoffman is the real thing"
- New Yorker

- Aer Stephen, WTJU, Charlottesville, VA

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