Those looking for that perfect New Year’s resolution should place exploring the local music scene at the top of their list, especially in 2020. A number of local artists have already made the resolution to release new music in the coming year. Singer-songwriter Laurie Anne Armour is one of them.
As 2019 drew to a close, Armour released her latest single, “Stuck in This City,” which is a harbinger of bigger things from this bright up-and-comer. With an arrangement that builds into harmonic and instrumental glory, this single resonates with earnest, heartbreaking prose that is carried by angelic vocals filled with sweet innocence. The aural nature of this track reflects the real-life situation that inspired its composition. Armour says writing “Stuck in This City” was an exercise in finding personal resolution after a painful breakup that filled her with regret as she made her way through the Azalea City. Ultimately, she describes this song as a “cry for forgiveness and healing.”
“This particular breakup was difficult,” Armour said. “I was in a pretty bad place in life. I didn’t necessarily treat my boyfriend at the time like I should have treated him. I felt a lot of pain and regret after the breakup. We spent so much time together that everything around Mobile just reminded me of us.”
Armour’s songs, like “Stuck in This City” and others, are the culmination of a life riddled with music. Growing up around Hollinger’s Island, Armour’s first musical experiences came through the flute and piano. Eventually, she picked up the guitar in her early teens. Armour exercised her musical abilities at church and in her high school marching band. Her first experimentation with songwriting came when she was 19. Inspired by an emotional, real-life situation, Armour says this song came to life in 10 minutes.
“It just came to me,” Armour said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this rhymes, and it sounds good. I think that I’m going to keep doing this.’”
Since then, Armour says her songwriting process has not changed. For her, songwriting is a way for her to release a “big mass of feelings” she is unable to verbalize. Depending on the emotional state of her subject matter, Armour will pick up her guitar and began formulating an emotionally complementary melody that “sounds good and can hold words.” Afterwards, she begins journaling in order to express her innermost thoughts through lyrics.
“I’ll go back and make things rhyme, and hopefully, it turns into a nice song,” she explained.
Armour established her desire to perform while working at the Bluegill Restaurant on the Causeway. One night, she witnessed a performance from fellow singer-songwriter Ross Newell (The Mulligan Brothers). The power behind Newell’s songs forced her to stop what she was doing and just listen. She says Newell’s set left her “enthralled” and she wanted her music to have the same effect on a live audience.
“I remember leaning up against the pilings and not doing any work and just watching and falling in love,” Armour said. “I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be up there making beautiful music and make people enthralled.’”
Armour used open-mic nights at Satori Coffee House to hone her live delivery. At first, the thought of performing her original songs before a live audience made her apprehensive. She was plagued by thoughts that her music would not be accepted by the crowd. However, she found an audience filled with fellow local musicians sharing their original songs with each other. This context provided an encouraging and supportive environment for Armour to build her confidence in a live music setting.
“It felt good being in front of a community of other musicians, who were artists and writing themselves,” Armour said. “I went back to it, and I stayed there for a couple of months introducing new songs that I would write.”
Armour took the next, natural step in her music career with the creation of her debut EP, “Ebb and Flow.” For this task, she chose Dogwood Studio. Producer Ray Norman guided her through the recording process. She says Norman was able to capture the most impressive aspects of her vocals. What most impressed Armour was Norman’s ability to rekindle the emotions she had experienced while writing the songs for this EP. She also enjoyed the opportunity to take an active role in the creation of “Ebb and Flow.”
“It was empowering,” Armour said. “I was able to vocalize what I liked and what didn’t like. I’m usually a non-confrontational and pretty timid person. This experience made me feel comfortable to open up when it comes to my music.”
As she has made her way through the local music scene, she has found support from more established singer-songwriters. Armour says several of them have acted as mentors to her. She says Eric Erdman has been a “big brother” to her. Harrison McInnis, Ross Newell and Drew Nix (The Red Clay Strays) have also helped guide her through her musical endeavors. However, she notes that Abe Partridge has been the most influential local singer-songwriter she has encountered. Armour says the most important lesson Partridge has taught her is that songwriting should be a personal experience for the sake of the art.
“As a songwriter, I’ve grown up with this mindset that fame is the angle,” Armour said. “It’s not the angle or what I want, either. My desire and my passion is to create art and put something beautiful into the world. Being around the same songwriters who have the same mindset is very hopeful.”
With more original music from this singer-songwriter being released in the very near future, 2020 is already looking bright for Armour. She plans on releasing a full-length album called “Led by the Light” in March. Armour says “Led by the Light” will be a “fun album” featuring 10 songs. As far as what the public can expect, she says this album will be a full band experience complete with background singers.
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