Once you have met Laura Auer-Grumbach, stage name Lauringer, you are no longer safe. The Pop Academy student could just have an imaginary conversation with you, and then write a song about it.
In London she was in the subway and got talking to a ‘random dude’. ‘He was a "stranger on a train" and I thought he was a beautiful person. He got off at Green Park. We hadn’t talked much, but I thought he was cute.’ In Laura’s mind, the conversation continued. ‘I thought we would be a good match, even though I didn’t really know him. I used to get that on the bus all the time. If I saw beautiful people there, I hoped they would be there again the next day.’ That feeling is what Lauringer’s song Green Park, part of her Imaginary Conversations Collection, is all about. That collection is part 1 of her graduation project, six songs about conversations she would have wanted to have had with people in her life, but was afraid to have.
From Hamburg to Enschede
But we hop back – like Laura’s mind, which often wanders – to the beginning of Laura’s career. She studied English in Graz, Austria, her native country. ‘I was only 17 when I started college. I knew then that I actually wanted to study music, but I wasn’t ready.’ At a pop course in Hamburg she met like-minded people who advised her to look into the Pop Academy in Enschede. ‘I knew then that singing was the only option for me. I didn’t want to do that in Austria and auditioned at schools in Osnabrück, Hannover and Enschede. I decided on Enschede, because it seemed like a fun challenge to learn Dutch.’ At first she wanted to register for the major subject of Singing, but during the audition the lecturers already said she wasn’t really at home there. ‘I auditioned with a self-written song, so I was advised to take the major subject of Singer-Songwriter. I am really a singer-songwriter, I love both equally, singing and writing.’
‘I always want more’
So suddenly Laura, with her studies not yet fully completed in Austria, found herself on a course in a country where she did not speak the language. ‘I only knew how to say a few numbers and "I" and "you" in Dutch.’ No problem for the inquisitive Laura; she loves language. Speaks English well (‘I can express myself better in English than in German.’), and also a little Spanish and French. She learned that in Austria. ‘I have broad interests, I like many things. It’s in my nature, I always want more.’ That came in handy during her studies, which are quite broad. ‘That’s what I was looking for. We were taught music management and pop history. I find it useful to have a broader education, but you have to learn to set priorities. I still find that difficult. I find it hard to stop, I always want to learn another language, or another subject.’
The study went smoothly, even as an ‘exotic German’. ‘There are quite a few Germans at the pop academy, they have become my best friends as well. Partly because of that, I didn’t find it difficult to get used to life in the Netherlands.’ Laura passed (almost) all subjects on time. Not bad, for a chaotic person. ‘I’m not very structured. I have no set plans, it’s always going back and forth. But during my studies I was always involved with Lauringer, that was always the common thread. It wasn’t linear, but neither is life.’
Beginning of an album
It led to her finals. A collection of six imaginary conversations, the one with the guy on the London train for example, but also a song to her boyfriend who wanted to break up with her – and what he would miss about her – and a song to a friend she had lost contact with (which has since been restored when Laura played the song to her). ‘It was very therapeutic to write those songs. They show how I developed in the years I studied here. It’s not an EP, it’s a collection. That’s important because the sound is quite different, but that actually shows that development.’ Laura also made a start for an album before her finals. ‘That’s the next step, making an album. I need time and money for that.’
In pre-corona times, she was actually doing pretty well. Laura performed at the Overijssel Embassy during Eurosonic, was selected for the Pop Music Round. But now she has to start all over again, in another city to boot. She has not yet decided which. ‘It will be Hamburg or Berlin. London would be ideal, but now with corona and the Brexit it’s less convenient. I am now defying my fate, sending applications to Hamburg and to Berlin and looking for accommodation in both cities. I could teach music, or maybe do something with my English studies. I can also enrol on a master course.’ Gadding about through life without a set plan, Laura makes use of what comes her way. Be it a course, job, people. So next time a girl on the train stares at you a little too long, check out Lauringer’s YouTube channela few weeks later. Laura may just have written a song about you.