Universal Republic will release Lauren Pritchard's debut album, Wasted in Jackson, on October 26th. Pritchard, who starred in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, recorded the album with producer/Ivor Novello-winning songwriter Eg White (Duffy, Adele) in London, where early reviews have been phenomenal.
The Sunday Times of London praised the 22-year-old American's "beautiful, soaring voice and...songs that roll and swell with Carole King and Norah Jones-like country-soul catchiness"while Elle (U.K.) said it's "sure to have a place on the best of 2010 lists...mesmerizing" and the Daily Mail heralded her as "the next big thing."
While currently based in London, Pritchard's debut is clearly informed by her Southern upbringing - from the raspy, R&B-meet-gospel swagger of "Not the Drinking," the album's lead single, to the soulful title track, "Wasted in Jackson."
Other highlights include "When The Night Kills The Day," a haunting, bluesy shuffle featuring the eerie sound of an ancient piano belonging to Ed Harcourt (who co-wrote the song) and the elegant playing of hip young folk-slingers Mumford And Sons (whose frontman Marcus Mumford produced the song), the retro-soul stand-out "Stuck," which garnered a "7" from Pitchfork.com for its Various Production remix, and "Painkillers," which masterfully maps a heartbreak with highway imagery. The latter, which features The Roots' ?uestLove on drums, was Q Magazine's "Track of the Day" and brought Roni Size out of a five year hiatus to do a remix of the track.
Raised in Jackson, Tennessee, Lauren moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music when she was only 16. She landed a gig playing keyboards and singing background vocals with a reggae band and performed in local theatrical productions to pay the bills. When she abruptly ran out of money and found herself near homeless, she was tempted to go home. But her friend Riley Keough and Riley's mom, Lisa Marie Presley, insisted she stay with them and so Pritchard was able to keep pursing her musical muse and finish high school. By the time she graduated, she'd reached the final auditions for Spring Awakening, to be staged by the Atlantic, a repertory company founded by playwright David Mamet. Duncan Sheik, the show's composer, cast her as Ilsa, a 15-year-old runaway, and she moved to New York. After two years in the Tony-winning Broadway musical, she left to focus on her own music.
Eg White, who was signed to the same publishing company as Pritchard, loved her cover of one of his songs and the two began collaborating in London. Lauren was signed to Universal by Darcus Beese, who also signed Amy Winehouse. She has since played the Glastonbury, Latitude and iTunes festivals and opened a UK tour for Florence and The Machine. Earlier this year, Paul Weller invited Lauren to perform with him at a BBC Radio 2 session. The two turned the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic "How Sweet It Is" into a breathtaking ballad that subsequently appeared as a B-side on Weller's "Find The Torch/Burn The Plans" single. You can check out the performance at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfn9dX-IZ7M
The track listing for Wasted In Jackson is as follows:
2. Not The Drinking
3. Wasted In Jackson
4. Hope It's You
6. No Way
7. Hanging Up
8. Going Home
9. Bad Time To Fall
10. Try A Little Harder
11. When The Night Kills The Day
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.