Indie pop musician Lindsay Latimer’s recent release of her second EP, Teenage Lullaby, encompasses an array of emotions over the course of the tracklist. Her songwriting is relatable and the music is fresh and represents the strength of her voice from her diverse influences. We had the chance to speak to Lindsay before the EP was released to discuss a bit about the creative process of the EP!
Aura 32: Prom Queens is such a relatable song – can you tell us a bit about the message behind it?
Lindsay Latimer: High school is hard. We’re constantly trying to reinvent ourselves and look to our right or our left for what we should be doing (saying, wearing, etc.). Prom queens are the popular girls; the girls whose peers think they have this surreal life. Everything’s effortless and falls into place. That might be the case for some prom queens, but if I had to guess—and from my personal experience—most are just as freaked out and insecure as everyone else. Everyone can put on a pretty outer layer and many do. Even worse—some convince themselves that’s the only option.
Being voted prom queen was definitely a special thing, but it was quite puzzling to me. I struggled a lot with feeling left out in high school. I think many of us do; it’s a fragile season. I felt like I was almost arriving, but always falling short. Almost cool, but not quite. Like I was never truly known.
I wrote this song to pacify and process a pain in my past, but also to encourage those deep in it now. This is my anthem to all those who feel like they’re barely hanging on, in whatever situation—even those who you might expect to feel it the least. Like a prom queen.
How do you feel your songwriting has changed from your debut album to Teenage Lullaby?
I’ve gotten back to the roots of my songwriting—writing at the piano. It’s the medium I first wrote through as a kid, then took a sort of hiatus when I convinced myself playing acoustic guitar was essential in Nashville—and now we’re dating again. I’m glad I can use both instruments to communicate, but there’s a certain beauty that hammer and strings can only deliver. I’ve also gone from sweating over certain lyrical nuances to writing more uninhibited songs with less dawdling. It seems I over-think less, encourage myself more, and convey thoughts more sensibly overall.
Is there a specific feeling or emotion that you were trying to capture in this album?
This record rotates between dreamy and nostalgic to palpable and raw. The songs evolved as I processed parts of my past—seasons laced with uncertainty and anticipation—and considered snapshots of my present. The whole aesthetic reflects this tug-of-war between my years growing up and now, so there’s this obvious mashup of teen and adult. Past struggles are often remedied by the present and that’s where the “lullaby” applies. There was once tension and mystery, but blanks get filled and aches are alleviated as we press on and trust the process. “Prom Queens” and “Weekend Stories” hint at the yearning for acceptance, the desire to be part of a story, to feel truly known. “Too Far In” and “I Blame You” point to more resolve and remedy. I think life includes both these narratives.
Teenage Lullaby showcases a variety of interests from jazz to folk to a more electronic sound, what influences these sounds in your music?
This part’s easy. My music palette is tie-dyed with wonderful splats of color from different genre influences. As a kid, when my senses were a sponge, I lapped it all up. My parents played music in our house constantly. There were speakers in the kitchen, study, family room, and living room, so it always felt like there was a band or orchestra with us. I was raised on Chicago, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Toto, The Beach Boys, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, and Prokofiev. One of my mom’s morning rituals is to make a cup of tea and put on classical music. She still does this today and it reminds me of how my loyalty to symphonic music sparked before I could form words.
My grandparents are to credit for playing me records of big bang, jazz, and symphony orchestras when I’d visit them growing up. They’d sit me down with the record sleeve in hand and educate me on each one being played. I was a lover of jazz music from early on. I think that certain sound latches onto some ears at an early age and never loosens. I was the female vocalist for my high school’s Electric Jazz Orchestra which toured in the summers to different states and countries. That was a wonderful experience for me because it got me performing the standards in front of crowds being accompanied by a terrific band. It loosened me up. Studying both contemporary and classical voice in college, I had to perfect a lot of genre nuances. I’m confident this helped me both ripen as a musician and season my timbre with different tastes.
What was your favorite part of the process while producing this record?
For me, the whole process is exhilarating in and of itself; it’s like this thrilling puzzle. My producer, Jeremy Lutito, would lay down one foundational idea and just start building legos from there. He did a brilliant job at jumping in and not overthinking. I love why days in the studio left me mentally and emotionally spent. Your heart and soul get a workout as you create a bed for each song to lie in. You’re on a ride as your relive stories and emotions. As I sang the vocals on “Prom Queens,” I was looking at photos of myself in high school. As I played the piano on “Weekend Stories,” I was floating in the celestial rafters of my past. This magnitude of creating hints at a greater wonder and, I think, is an accurate depiction of our job as humans.
What do you want your audience to take away from listening to the album?
I sat on my roof a lot at night growing up, thinking and dreaming. Strangely enough, that’s where my mind goes when I share these songs. On the roof in the dark, I could be honest. It felt mysterious, yet accessible—right outside my window. I hope this record can provide that for listeners, sparking moments of wonder and mystery, while infusing perseverance. I would love for it to be a big blanket they can wrap themselves in.
Lindsay’s second EP, Teenage Lullaby, is available for stream and purchase.