“Why I’m still not playing gigs in 2021” [VIDEO]

“Why I’m still not playing gigs in 2021” [VIDEO]

Letterbox Music News Process

As an independent songwriter, producer and musician, releasing my new album this year was more of a challenge than usual. The UK government left venues with no choice but to re-open on “Freedom Day”, 19th July 2021, but I won’t be playing gigs for a while.

Watch my first vlog in NINE YEARS, with love and respect for venues and music supporters plus some big sky escapism…


THANK YOU for visiting my website! I’m Laura Kidd, a music producer, songwriter and podcaster based in Bristol, UK. It’s great to meet you.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ Browse episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” here and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Share this:
I’ll Start A Fire (18/5/21)

I’ll Start A Fire (18/5/21)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Releases Singles

Release date: 18th May 2021
Label: My Big Sister Recordings

GET THE SONG

+ Click to download pay what you want/can from Bandcamp.
+ Get three album tracks immediately when you pre-order my new album “Exotic Monsters” with a download
+ Join The Correspondent’s Club and get all Penfriend singles as part of membership
+ Type “penfriend I’ll start a fire” into your digital music platform of choice.



ABOUT THE SONG

“I’ll Start A Fire” is a song about causing a ruckus even while everything is going wrong, cutting bad connections and ignoring all the noise in order to be free and express ourselves honestly. Taking whatever personal power we still have and making something with it, stopping ourselves from stopping ourselves. 

As soon as I’ve decided I’ve got all the songs lined up for an album, I can rely on one or two cheeky musical ideas to come along and demand my attention. 

“I’ll Start A Fire” was the first of two songs I wrote in September 2020 that jostled for a space on the record (the second was “Black Car”), and I’m so glad they did. 

Giving yourself permission to be you can be one of the hardest things, and has really been a process for me, but it’s brought great joy and fulfilment to my life in recent years. I highly recommend giving it a try.

CREDITS

Written, produced, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol. Drums by Max Saidi. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, concept by Laura Kidd.

LYRICS

I stole a car in a dream
And now I’m feeling paranoid
Well I spent so long ignoring my instincts
Now I’m searching to destroy

I’ll start a fire while the world burns
I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire

So I sink these heavy words in a diary
And take them all to heart
Gonna build myself a fortress of vanity
And then I’ll fall apart

I’ll start a fire while the world burns
I’ll cut connections while the planet turns
I’ll start a fire cos it seems we’re elbow deep
In cheap banalities
I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire

I’ll start a fire while the world burns
I’ll cut connections while the planet turns
I’ll start a fire cos it seems we’re elbow deep
In cheap banalities
I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire

THANK YOU for visiting my website! I’m Laura Kidd, a music producer, songwriter and podcaster based in Bristol, UK. It’s great to meet you.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ Browse episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” here and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


Share this:
Music Week says my new album is “essential”

Music Week says my new album is “essential”

Letterbox Music News


Imagine this indie upstart’s surprise and delight on the weekend when a friend sent me this photo*.

Yes, that’s my artist name sitting pretty right near Billie Eilish’s face, with “Exotic Monsters” listed alongside Billie Marten, Counting Crows, Gary Numan, Gruff Rhys, Lambchop, Monster Magnet, Sara Bareilles, Twenty One Pilots and more. Wow.

Only five days til I can share all these “essential” new songs with you…have you got your copy of “Exotic Monsters” yet?

* The rest of the page is blurred to respect the magazine industry – please buy magazines! *


THANK YOU for visiting my website! I’m Laura Kidd, a music producer, songwriter and podcaster based in Bristol, UK. It’s great to meet you.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ Browse episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” here and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


Share this:
Never fear, I’m still punk as fuck

Never fear, I’m still punk as fuck

Letterbox Music News Process
No, the radiator wasn’t on!

All this talk of the album charts recently might have made you think I’m selling out.

I’ve spent my music career as the underdog with a punk spirit, sneered at by the blogosphere for releasing my own albums in the early days, and largely ignored now that way of working is more common.

I’d be lying if I said this never bothered me – I am only human, after all! – but on a decent day when I’ve exercised, drunk enough water and am feeling on top of my workload, I’m absolutely fine with being a niche artist. I get to make whatever music I like and communicate directly with you. It’s great!

When I ended She Makes War in 2019, I told you:

“the more I toured and released music, communicating with a growing army of ardent supporters, the more inappropriate [the name She Makes War] started to feel. I was no longer alone; putting my heart and soul into sharing music with those who wanted to listen introduced me to most of the key figures in my life, led me to move city, gave me a deep connection to thousands of open-hearted people around the globe, brought invitations to share stages with my heroes and started to financially fuel the making of new music.”


I’m so thankful for the encouragement I’ve received from music lovers over the years, because I really did need to be shown that what I was making had value to others. I don’t come from money, I am a self-taught singer, guitarist, bassist and producer, and plenty of people have tried to dissuade me from doing my own thing, my own way.

But not you! Thank you. Relaunching my solo project with a new name and outlook last year was a gamble, but I knew I needed to be true to myself now, rather than dragging my old self along forever just so that no-one would lose track of me online.

In our digital world of likes and reach and engagement, it’s hard to detach from all the numbers flying around. How many people liked this photo? How many people shared this tweet? How many people love me today?

The reaction we have to art is unquantifiable – a song could change my life forever but I can’t communicate any of that impact when I click “like”. Yes, I can see how many people have listened to one of my songs on a streaming site, but I don’t know who’s been comforted or encouraged today, who’s spent an hour relaxing in their favourite chair, drinking tea and listening to one of my albums on vinyl, eyes closed, pondering the world and their place in it.

We all have to be careful not to attach our self worth to a bunch of numbers that we have no control over. Indie artists, especially, have too much access to surface level facts about how everyone else is doing (or how it *appears* they’re doing). “Comparison is the thief of joy”, indeed.

So, fuck the numbers. But also, fuck the system. I said in my recent video that every pre-order for “Exotic Monsters” is a vote for the spirit of independence that brought me to live in Bristol nine years ago. That spirit was already in me, and in Bristol I saw an opportunity to create a life where I could spend more time making music, instead of having to work such extreme hours for other people.


It took me until February 2019 to trust enough to quit all my freelance work and hunker down to start writing this new collection of songs, fuelled by my Supersub Club patrons. Every creative project is a voyage of self-discovery, but making this album led me to end She Makes War, launch Penfriend, launch my podcast, and put The Correspondent’s Club front and centre.

This record has effected positive change in my life; it means way more to me than a number on a chart, but I’m really not trying to be disingenuous when I say this would be a win for all of us.

Yes, a top 40 placing would validate me – my music and my way of working – but I see it as a huge victory for independently-minded music fans, who are able to trust their own ears and hearts over relentless radio playlisting and £50,000 a week billboards (actual cost).

“Exotic Monsters” has already beaten the final placing of my last album “Brace For Impact” in 2018, and my past self is the only person I’m in competition with. We’ve started receiving weekly counts telling us the number of records sold for chart positions from 1-200, and at the time of writing we have a top 100 album on our hands (BFI went to #108 overall and #15 in the indie chart). I try not to overuse the word, but that feels pretty amazing to me.

I grew up listening to chart music, watching careers be made by radio and press support, then hearing about bands walking away from their deals empty-handed. I had no realistic blueprint for a sustainable career making music out of thoughts and thin air, so I made it up as I went along.

I’d talk about smashing the system, but I think it’s been broken for a long time. This is a chance to show that another way is possible.

Thank you so much for your support.

Love,
Laura xox

To the stars!
Share this:
Can we make Bristol music history together?!

Can we make Bristol music history together?!

Letterbox Music News Process

This is unbelievable!

I have massive news to share with you today: my new album “Exotic Monsters” is two thirds of the way towards getting in the UK Top 40 Album chart!

Throughout my years of making music, I’ve always been told that you need a manager, a record label, an agent, a huge marketing budget, your face on billboards, features in magazines, radio playlisting, all that sort of thing, to even have the tiniest chance of this sort of success – but that’s clearly not true.

I make and release my music completely independently from my little attic room in Bristol.

If “Exotic Monsters” gets into the UK Top 40 chart, it’ll make Bristol music history. The last Bristol-based female artist to get in the top 40 albums chart was the brilliant Beth Rowley in 2008, and we don’t even know if there’s ever been a completely independent Bristol-based act with a top 40 album. How bonkers is that?

Every pre-order that has come in so far is a vote for the spirit of independence that brought me to live in this city nine years ago.

I’ve built an audience by sharing my work online and treating people with respect – it’s definitely the slow way round, but it’s the one that makes me the happiest. I feel so encouraged and supported by everyone who has hopped on board so far. Thank you.

If you’d like to join me in really sticking it to the man, you know what to do.

Thank you x

Share this:
Seventeen (23/4/21)

Seventeen (23/4/21)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Releases Singles

Release date: 23rd April 2021
Label: My Big Sister Recordings

GET THE SONG

+ Click to download pay what you want/can from Bandcamp.
+ Get three album tracks immediately when you pre-order my new album “Exotic Monsters” with a download
+ Join The Correspondent’s Club and get all Penfriend singles as part of membership
+ Type “penfriend seventeen” into your digital music platform of choice.



“Cavernous as its darkly-elliptical tale unfolds, “Seventeen” careens with compassion”The Autumn Roses

“An enormous pop-rock anthem with a heart-throttlingly poignant story [by] Penfriend aka singer/songwriter/producer/genius example of how to do independent musicianship right, Laura Kidd” Loud Women (single of the week)

ABOUT THE SONG

Seventeen. Is there a more complicated age? Not quite yet an adult, but impatient to be treated like one; navigating an avalanche of new experiences and urgent emotions, dismissed by the grownups as “teenage angst” or “just a phase”. An exhausting quest to negotiate a new space for ourselves, juggling the interests of parents, teachers and friends while not knowing to question their motives. 

This song is an excavation, a letting go, an act of self-forgiveness.

Traumatic events from the past can feel just as fresh, years later, the ghosts of our former selves creeping up to tap us on the shoulder with icy fingers. 

Sometimes we need to package up our memories with tidy words to dispel the haunting. 

Sometimes we just need to stop blaming ourselves. 

Sometimes writing songs is like painstakingly sculpting sounds from thin air; other times they arrive in a whoosh, fighting to be heard. “Seventeen” appeared on a summer Saturday evening, falling out of me in jagged swathes.

Facing up to our ghosts isn’t a pleasant experience, but this song helped me over a major stumbling block from my past, bringing me a fresh perspective and new freedom. 

CREDITS

Written, produced, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol. Drums by Max Saidi. Piano arranged by Laura Kidd, performed and recorded by Catherine Anne Davies. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, concept by Laura Kidd.

LYRICS

Happy birthday, time to say goodbye
Such a big girl, keep all this inside
Dial back those dreams
Wishing impossible things
Bursting your seams
It hurts when we grow

Tell me what you wanted
I was seventeen
Tell me I deserved it
Because I was seventeen

Toxic teens on mixtape afternoons
Photostatic memories of you
Fold paper planes
Pull them apart when it rains
Smash windowpanes
Stretching our wings alone

Tell me what you wanted
I was seventeen
Tell me I deserved it
I was seventeen
Tell me it was all my fault
I was seventeen
Tell me you remember

Tell me what you wanted
I was seventeen
Tell me I deserved it
I was seventeen
Give me a good reason
I was seventeen
Tell me you’re so sorry
I was seventeen

Thanks for visiting my website!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ I make a podcast called “Attention Engineer”, where I speak to fellow artists about creativity, grit and determination. Visit this page to find out more.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Share this:
Black Car (26/3/21)

Black Car (26/3/21)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Releases Singles



Release date: 26th March 2021
Label: My Big Sister Recordings

GET THE SONG

+ Click to download pay what you want/can from Bandcamp.
+ Get three album tracks immediately when you pre-order my new album “Exotic Monsters” with a download
+ Join The Correspondent’s Club and get all Penfriend singles as part of membership
+ Type “penfriend black car” into your digital music platform of choice.



ABOUT THE SONG

Black Car” is a song about love and death, guilt and gratitude, taking time to figure out what’s most important, feeling desperately sad and isolated and grieving the loss of so many. Dealing with anger and frustration at the UK government for making so many missteps. Trying to keep on keeping on, while finding it hard to see a way out of this, however many “roadmaps” are announced. Accepting – and feeling – our feelings.

“That this single release marks the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown is an accident, but sometimes things just fall into place like that when we focus on what’s important to us. Throughout this loneliest of years, I’ve tried to keep connected to humanity through making and releasing new music, podcast episodes and my weekly emails, doing what I can to create pinpoints of light in dark times. With all the gratitude in the world, I have to remind myself it’s still ok to feel wounded by what’s been going on and to feel scared about what’s to come. We will all be changed by this experience, and at the root of everything is the love we have for others.”

I don’t know what other bands “Black Car” sounds like, or have any clever phrases lined up to entreat you to click “play”. This is an honest, melancholy song about a universal experience that will be discussed in the history books of the future, guitars and synths centred around a heady electronic heartbeat, with a reverent Kurt Vonnegut reference (“loving echoes”) in the middle.

Keep your loved ones close x

CREDITS

Written, produced, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, concept by Laura Kidd.

LYRICS

Remember the summer when everyone stayed at home?
Ships in a bottle, stacked up with our lives on hold

If we could really see the warnings that were written before
If we could really feel
Our hearts would smash all over the floor

Hear me now, I can feel the thunder
March me out with the fallen number
Will there be – is there a black car waiting for me?
Keep your loved ones close

This is surviving, but we’re having a god damn year
Tired of climbing, but the universe left us here

And on my worst of days
I want to keep wanting to be kind
But everywhere I see machines are taking over our minds

Hear me now, I can feel the thunder
March me out with the fallen number
Will there be – is there a black car waiting for me?
Keep your loved ones close

Keep your loved ones close
Even on calm waters, waves will rise
As my heart explodes
Loving echoes dancing in my eyes

Keep your loved ones close
Keep your loves ones close
Keep your loved ones close

Hear me now, I can feel the thunder
March me out with the fallen number
Will there be – is there a black car waiting?

Hear me now, I can feel the thunder
March me out with the fallen number
Will there be –
Is there a black car waiting for me?

Keep your loved ones close

Thanks for visiting my website!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Share this:
New Penfriend live album – available for one week only!

New Penfriend live album – available for one week only!

Letterbox Music News

Last Friday’s Correspondent’s Club livestream turned out so nicely I’m sharing the posh recordings with you for one week only!

I played seven songs and had a nice chat with the Correspondents, and you can grab the whole thing right now on a pay what you want/can basis.



*If you’re a paying Correspondent, DO NOT FEEL ANY PRESSURE TO PAY! If money is tight, DO NOT FEEL ANY PRESSURE TO PAY! All contributions are much appreciated, but PWYW is always my genuine gift to you 🙂 XOXO

Track listing:

1. Hello  
2. Seventeen 
3. I’ll Start A Fire
4. Changes in The Launchpad 
5. Seashaken
6. Livestream love and a bit about the new album
7. Out Of The Blue
8. Nice rambly Q&A about all sorts
9. Black Car
10. Dispensable Body
11. An interesting experiment
12. The Only Way Out Is Through
13. Thank you and LUV

THANK YOU for visiting my website!

+ Get FREE music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Share this:
Cancel Your Hopes (5/3/21)

Cancel Your Hopes (5/3/21)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Releases Singles



Release date: 5th March 2021
Label: My Big Sister Recordings

GET THE SONG

+ Click to download pay what you want/can from Bandcamp.
+ Get “Cancel Your Hopes” plus two more songs when you pre-order my new album “Exotic Monsters”
+ Join The Correspondent’s Club and get all Penfriend singles as part of membership
+ Type “penfriend cancel your hopes” into your digital music platform of choice.


ABOUT THE SONG

The song that took 15 years to write…sort of. 

“Cancel Your Hopes” is about doing everything you were told was right and then realising the world’s going to end despite your best efforts. Left stranded by those who were once the grownups, our mission is to keep trying to appreciate the incredible fact of simply existing in this beautiful world, while attempting to navigate the toxic parts of technology, live a meaningful life of use to others, love deeply and learn to accept love, leaving as little negative trace on the planet as possible while doing so. 

In June 2019 I spent several hours enjoying Radiohead’s “Minidiscs [Hacked]” – a collection of demos and live recordings released on Bandcamp after they were somehow stolen. The experience was very moving – intimate, almost too fly-on-the-wall nosey – and a handy reminder that even the greatest bands on the planet have to work to create their art. 

I started to feel guilty for listening to someone else’s ideas archive when I had my own gathering dust in the corner of my studio. I started working through my own minidisc collection, listening through to snippets of ideas from my early days of writing, and was excited to come across a riff and chords idea from 2005 which became “Cancel Your Hopes”. I used the chorus melody from the original recording, wordless apart from the phrase “fucking beautiful”, which I also kept because it created such a key moment of intensity in that melodic line. I rarely swear in song, but sometimes there is no other option. 

The same week, I’d finished having my mind blown apart by Barbara Kingsolver’s beautiful, devastating novel “Flight Behaviour”. While reading I’d scribbled copious notes: scraps of words and phrases that resonated with me from the book plus thoughts, feelings and phrases of my own sparked by her writing. 

The music and words soon collided with a joyous bang. 

When I was at school I remember teachers and the newspapers saying we were going to have to deal with the effects of global warming in 15 years time…then everything seemed to go quiet. It’s an understatement to say there is work to do, but I want to believe in a future for this messy, complicated, potentially wonderful species. 

CREDITS

Written, produced, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol. Drums by Max Saidi. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, concept by Laura Kidd.

LYRICS

Cancel your hopes, dear 
Do you remember when this was all fields? 
Boys in the boardroom backslapping their deals 
There’s a hole in our bucket, dear Liza – a hole 

Walk the high wire with no mind for the crash 
Are we in denial or do we crave collapse? 
Can’t look strangers in the eye 
Is that cos we are terrified? 

Cos you know that we said forever 
And you see that there’s nothing left 
So let’s stand til we all fall over 
Take my hand cos it’s so fucking beautiful 

Cancel your hopes, please 
The planet’s on fire while we’re stroking our screens 
Buy better headphones to muffle their screams 
There’s a hole in our bucket 
And everyone knows 

Walk the high wire with no mind for the crash 
Are we in denial or do we crave collapse? 
Won’t look strangers in the eye 
Is that cos we are dead inside? 

Cos you know that we said forever 
And you see that there’s nothing left 
So let’s stand til we all fall over 
Take my hand cos it’s so fucking beautiful 

Now I see that we’re going under 
But I know that there’s nothing else 
So as long as we stand together 
Take my hand cos you’re so fucking beautiful

Thanks for visiting my website!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

Share this: