Laura Mustard is a Nashville based singer songwriter with a longtime dream of living in a treehouse..
Well, she definitely got closer than most people who’s ever had such dream with her EP ‘Treehouse’.
Courtesy of the guys at Treetop Hideaways she managed to take the dream featured in the title track to life in the beautiful video accompanying the song. Brilliantly shot by Ives Salbert and produced by Matt Hoots, the video follows the story of a couple that keeps revisiting their childhood treehouse throughout their life, giving a sense of freedom and worry-free life that is so much needed right now.
We got to know her thanks to her previous single ‘Eager’ which we happily featured in our singer-songwriters playlist. On her social media feeds the hints were clear, a great EP was on the way and surely it didn’t disappoint us.
A very talented artists also carrying an important message on body positivity (read more below), Laura Mustard is certainly one we will keep an eye out for in the future.
Listen to Laura’s music while you get to know her with our questions..
Hi Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
We really enjoyed what we heard from you so far and we’re definitely impressed by the single and video for Treehouse. What a brilliant setting and a dreamy song.
We are very happy to be talking to you about your life in music so I’d say let’s start by giving a bit of background to our readers if you don’t mind.
Please tell us a bit more about your musical journey, when and how you started getting involved with music?
Great question! I started taking piano lessons around age 6 after I read the Goodebumps book, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder. For some reason that book made me really want to learn how to play the piano. So I took lessons all through childhood. I also started playing percussion in the school band in 5th grade and later studied at a drum studio and played in ensembles. Music was a huge part of my life growing up. Then around age 16 I got into Gavin DeGraw’s music and that made me realize that piano could be used for pop music too, not just classical. That lead to covering songs and later, writing my own songs.
What was your favourite artist/band as a child?
Meat Loaf was one of my first favorite artists. My Dad used to play Bat Out Of Hell II and we’d dance around the living room to it when I was a kid. And l remember listening to Bat Out of Hell I on a bombox and a Walkman as a kid too. I actually got in trouble for singing “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” in first grade. I don’t think I knew what the words meant at all, I just loved the melody and the driving rock of those albums. But there was little Laura singing, “We were barely 17 and we were barely dressed” during writing time in first grade, haha. I remember asking my Mom why they were talking about baseball on the bridge of that song and she just said, “A lot of people just like baseball, Laura. It’s just a fun game” or something like that. I heard the song again in high school when I hadn’t listened to it in a while and suddenly it all made sense! Haha. “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” is still one of my favorite songs!
What was the first music you bought/downloaded and what was the first song you learnt to play?
The first music I bought with my own money was probably a Hanson album. I still know every word on Middle Of Nowhere. I think my sister gave me her copy of the album that I listen to until I wore it out. And I probably bought their follow up This Time Around on my own. Hanson was definitely in heavy rotation as a kid. But as I got into high school I got really into songwriters like John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw. John Mayer made me want to write lyrics and I remember Gavin DeGraw’s song “Chariot” was the first song I learned how to cover on the piano. I remember buying and printing the sheet music online and then staying up super late to learn it. And there was this feeling of excitement and accomplishment and “the start of something good” (to quote another Gavin DeGraw song, haha).
What are your main influences now? Is there a particular artist or an album that inspired you more than others?
A lot of things. I still love music from John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw and it’s been fun to see how their music has evolved over the years. Taylor Swift also really helped me get more honest and confessional with my own lyrics. I know all of her albums really well. I’ve been listening to more Top 40 and indie Country since moving to Nashville. So many songwriters are trying to write for more of that Country music market so it’s helpful to know what’s current and what newer artists are putting out in the genre when co-writing in Nashville. But also, I’ve gotten more into folk and bluegrass music. A lot of Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, and Abigail Washburn (among other bands, but those are probably my favorites). Also, in high school I got really into Motown and R&B music. Lots of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Donny Hathaway, etc., And that music is timeless and something I always go back to.
A treehouse is such a fascinating idea and from watching the video you definitely made us jealous 🙂
Thank you! That was such a fun project to make! As soon as we finished writing the song, I knew there were so many fun visuals and stories we could tell that center around a Treehouse. I think we definitely did the idea and story justice with the music video and I’m grateful to my director, Matt Hoots, his crew, and all the actors that helped bring that concept to life!
Are you signed with anyone or planning to?
Right now I am an independent artist and support my own music through my day job as a speech pathologist. Currently, I am daydreaming and writing songs for a possible new project that I’d love to start working on next spring. I’d love to keep putting out independent projects and music videos. And lately, I’ve also been doing a lot more co-writing virtually with the pandemic. But it’s a great way to create new songs. I’d love to get more into writing songs for other artists or platforms like synch, but also writing for myself as an artist. I had my first cut this year as a songwriter when my friend Sabine (I think her socials are @_sabineofficial) released a song that we wrote together on her EP. That was wicked exciting and I’d love to do more of that! I’ll keep you posted as I know about new releases!
Can you tell us a bit more about your local scene? How is it looking out there, is there much happening in the live shows front? Are you doing any socially distanced gigs?
Yeah, it’s definitely an interesting time in Nashville. I haven’t played a live show out in the wild since January. I know there are a lot of Live Streams going on and I’ve been doing co-writes over Zoom, which has been fun. I know some bars and restaurants are doing patio shows and even inside shows with some social distance precautions in place. A lot of my friends who are artists and songwriters are posting regularly now about playing out. But, I have a lot of pre-existing conditions so I’m higher risk and I plan to keep social distancing until cases stop rising. For me, it doesn’t feel worth the risk and there’s a lot to do creatively or even just learning more about the marketing/promotional aspect. It’s a good season for creation and learning. But, I definitely look forward to getting back to live shows when it’s safer to do so! I’d love to make a Treehouse tour. Maybe even try to play a show in a treehouse! ☺
What’s your take on live streaming gigs? Do you think it can be a viable alternative for musicians for the time being? Have you been involved in any or are you planning to?
Yeah, I like them a lot. I did a big Live Stream event for each single I released with the Treehouse EP. I like that they offer opportunities that I might not have thought of if I had been doing in person shows. Like I did a collaboration with a bunch of friends up in Massachusetts who play music for my first single. That was really fun to hear their music and share that on my page. For the Treehouse single live stream, I had an exclusive interview with the director of the Treehouse video, Matt Hoots. It was really fun to talk with him about this project, what his favorite stories were, hear about how he got into directing and videography, etc., And then for the Treehouse EP Release show in September, I had a lot of the musicians who played on the album come on my Live Stream and share their favorite memories from recording and play a song, and some were in other states at the time. And then for the last single, “Spin”, I had my friend Wilson Harwood who plays banjo on the EP and directed and filmed the music video for “Spin” on the live stream. He played a lot of awesome banjo and we had really fun conversations about the banjo, playing styles, how he got into that instrument, writing songs on the banjo, etc., It was like a banjo-nerd out but it was so fun. And so I’m not sure if all of those interviews and conversations and songs that I shared with the people who worked on the project over Live Streams would have happened if I’d been doing traditional live shows. I try to look at this socially distant time as a way to be more creative and do things I wouldn’t get to do ordinarily. Yes, I’d prefer to be in front of a big crowd, but it’s also been fun to cultivate connections and share music from the people who worked with me on building the Treehouse!
This is something we ask pretty much everyone we know, not just during the interviews…
we are massive fans of movie soundtracks, what is your favourite movie soundtrack (if any)? And what existing movie would you like to recreate (or even just curate) a new soundtrack for?
That’s a good question. I’ve never really taken a deep dive into movie sound tracks, but I do remember the sound track for How To Train Your Dragon to be really relaxing. I had a friend in college who was really into it and so I’d listen to it with her a lot. I don’t know if this counts as a soundtrack, but I also love the music from the musical Hamilton and listen to that regularly on my phone. That’s a really interesting question about picking a movie to create a sound track for. I’ve never thought of that and lately I’ve been just binge watching old comfort TV shows on Netflix, so no movies immediately is coming to mind. I’ll think on it and let you know if I think of a good one!
Free question – please ask yourself a question that you have always wanted to get asked. Could be a question about your future plans, or a statement or just a story you’d like to share with us and our readers.
Talk about the importance of body positivity and how that relates to your music.
So, I post about that a lot on my social media. I was born with birth defects that impact my urinary and digestive tracts (among other things) and had a lot of operations as a kid. My body has always been “different” and I used to be more ashamed or just private about it. But seeing the #bodypositivy movement grow on social media has been exciting. I know it’s usually talking about celebrating different shapes and sizes, but I think it’s important to also include differently abled bodies, or (as I like to say), bodies that just work differently. Right when I was releasing the first single to this project, “Nobody’s Road”, I had a urinary blockage that I needed three operations to correct. And “Nobody’s Road” is the most autobiographical song on this EP and talks about my medical life. So, it felt appropriate to discuss what I was going through with my operations and changing body as I was promoting that single. And then I just kinda never stopped. As a kid, I felt like I was the only one in the world with all of these medical issues so I like to share my story to hopefully let others know they’re not alone if they have similar issues. Also, it’s important to just let others who are typically abled know that these issues/differences exist. That you can be a songwriter and an artist and make cool treehouse videos and also have a catheter and a latex allergy. And then I think just naturally, themes about shame, vulnerability, feeling different, frustration with my body, love for my body – all of those things end up in my lyrics over time since they are just such a big part of who I am. “Nobody’s Road” addresses it more directly, but “Teach Me How To Lie” dives into vulnerability and “She Must Go” is about shame. I like showing that vulnerable side. You can sing a happy song in a treehouse or dance around in bright colors to a song called “Eager”, but still have vulnerability and shame and insecurity. We are large and contain multitudes and I think it’s fun, and necessary, to pull back the filter. Check out my social media, especially Instagram, if you wanna follow along with my medical adventures.
Before we let you go, can you recommend a couple of great new bands/artists you are into at the moment? Any new artists we might not have heard about?
Sure, the Blam Blams are an awesome band in Nashville. More glam rock, reminiscent of Queen. Their stage presence and the music they put out is amazing and I’d definitely recommend checking them out! Josey_Omo is another great artist in Nashville. She has a beautiful voice and her songs, “TMI” and “Energy” get stuck in my head a lot. My friend and banjo player, Wilson Harwood makes really relaxing folk/pop music, and he’s also part of a duo called De Lune that they call “cinematic folk”. Also, Jaymes Brass makes beautiful and soulful music. His song “Soul Is A Mirror” is one of my favorites! Please check all of these artists out! There is so much great talent in Nashville!
Thanks so much for your time and looking forward to hearing more music from you.
Follow Laura Mustard at the links below: