Ep01: Tanya Donelly on how NOT to end a career in music

Ep01: Tanya Donelly on how NOT to end a career in music

Welcome to the debut “Attention Engineer” podcast episode! I’m so delighted to welcome Tanya Donelly as my first guest. Pause for sharp intake of breath, surprise and delight.

[Content warning: one mild swear.]

About Tanya

Tanya Donelly is a two time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, founding member of three influential bands of the post-punk era (Belly, Throwing Muses, Breeders), and solo artist. Her upcoming album of covers recorded with The Parkington Sisters, to be released on August 14, 2020, is available now for pre-order.

Tanya’s Sunday Series is raising money for a different organisation every week throughout lockdown. Listen and donate here.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • what it was like being in a wildly successful band as a teenager, supporting REM and The Velvet Underground
  • how she got “that future feeling” when Radiohead supported Belly
  • how her relationship with fans has deepened in recent years (shoutout to the Shimmer community!
  • practical self education for artists, and the power of DIY

The three songs Tanya recommends you listen to from her back catalogue are: This Hungry Life, Mass Ave and Low Red Moon.

Her lockdown music recommendations are: Ennio Morricone, Leonard Cohen, The Parkington Sisters and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

As a long-time Tanya fan, it was a dream come true for me to get to sing on stage with her in Bristol in 2014, and I’m so pleased I have the footage to prove it!

Teenage Laura never would have believed we’d duet together the following year on my song “Paper Thin” (free download), much less make a music video together in Boston!

Now it looks like we’re writing a song together! I’ll let you know how it’s going in future episodes, so please SUBSCRIBE using the handy links in the sidebar.

Thank you, Tanya!!

This podcast is supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery and powered by my Correspondent’s Club.

Browse free and paid tiers here.

I write a thoughtful weekly email and offer a bunch of fun member perks like podcast extras, free music, zines, online gigs and access to my friendly forum. I hope to see you in there some time soon.

Shoutout to Andy J Pizza with massive thanks for all the support and encouragement he offers artists of all stripes in his podcast Creative Pep Talk – listen here.

Thank you for listening!


Laura xo



  1. Charley Stone says:

    So great to see you singing Slow Dog with Tanya! I love the harmonies on that one, that’s the bit I always sing along with too 🙂

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