M.A.D. Wednesday Interview Series: Lauriana Mae

joe zorzi speaks with Lauriana Mae, a singer on the verge of bursting out on the scene …

Based out of: I’ve lived all over Monmouth County, N.J. I move a lot. Currently in Matawan, but I would say Red Bank has been the most significant place when it comes to my musical growth, church family (Pilgrim Baptist), and my friends and backup band The Pains.

Find my current music (online, in stores at): I’m still writing and recording. We haven’t released much of the new stuff because we are still unsure of what will make the album. There are a few things on YouTube, including the most recent release “Suicide Bomb,” produced by Kwame. There’s also a lot of fun old stuff on there. [For right now, you can find more about Lauriana Mae at: http://twitter.com/#!/@laurianamae and facebook.com/laurianamaemusic

My sound has been likened to: A modern-day Billie Holiday. There is nothing exactly like it, but it’s very inspired by classic jazz artists such as Billie and Ella vocally and melodically. A combination of classic jazz, hip hop, and soul.

Famous/Awesome Artists I’ve performed with: This year I got to share the stage with one of my favorite artists, the Grammy-winning Chrisette Michele. She’s been so supportive and I’m always blessed to be around her learning from such an incredible talent.

Pop-Break: Who are your biggest influences?

Lauriana Mae: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sara Vaughn, Ruth Brown, etc.

PB: On your Myspace page, it says you would have liked to collaborate with Amy Winehouse. How has her death affected you?

LM: I felt saddened by the loss. Not only did we lose such a great talent, but such a young woman. Its sad to see how truly lonely it can be at the top. I wish it could’ve been different, but may God rest her soul and may her music go on forever.

PB: Do you feel that being on P. Diddy’s Starmaker helped you progress as a musician? In the long run, how do you feel it affected your career as an artist?

LM: Definitely. I don’t come from money or an easy life. A wonderful, a blessed life. But not easy. My parents always support m,e but it’s hard to get people to listen to a small-town girl with no money. Even though the show wasn’t my big break, I was able to use it to get meetings with certain producers and ultimately create the sound I wanted. I learned a lot on that show about competing with myself and with others. It took a lot of growth in my confidence to last as long as I did.

PB: Is P. Diddy an asshole in real life?

LM: [laughs] No! Actually not at all. He was supportive and he tells it like it is. I appreciate that. It’s how we grow. I’ve seen him out since as well and he’s really a good guy.

PB: Do you talk to any of your former contestants still?

LM: I do. I love, love, love Monet. That’s my girl! Zac Berkman, Marissa Jack, and Todd Sarvies, too. All great and talented people.

PB: Do you have any new material coming out soon?

LM: Yes. I’m so excited for this stuff to get out to the people. I just don’t know exactly when yet. But soon. A lot of cool stuff coming up.

PB: What’s your favorite part of being from New Jersey?

LM: The people. It’s not really about where you are but the company you keep. I have an amazing support system here.

PB: Growing up in Red Bank, were you ever interested in the local music scene at places like Chubby’s and the Internet Cafe (RIP to both)?

LM: Awww … well, I think I was a little young in the game when they were on and poppin’, but I’ve been to both as a spectator. Red Bank is filled with inspiration and talent.

PB: How did you get involved with the M.A.D. Wednesday series at The Downtown?

LM: Cool dude named Anthony Jude has an ear for real music.