Laura Musgrave is back and better than ever. The Leicestershire, United Kingdom-based pop rock artist has found her voice once again after previously taking a ten-year break due to burn out.
Even though she suffered from burn out, Musgrave never quit writing or playing her own music and began finding inspiration in genres she never experimented with before. In 2018, the singer/songwriter returned with four singles, one being her soft pop, feel-good track “Two of a Kind”. This is a reminder to everyone that there is no time-limit on your passions.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Musical Notes Global is celebrating women in the
music industry and as part of our celebration, Musgrave shared her thoughts on her return to music, what she learned, and what she plans to do next.
“It Took Me Ten Years, But I’m Making Music Again”
By Laura Musgrave
How exactly do you rejoin the music scene after ten years off? This was the question in my mind just over a year ago. I was out of the industry, out of practice and out of the loop. Still, I was determined to get stuck in and give it my best shot. A year later, I’d released four new singles and my new music was being featured on BBC Introducing and Women of Substance Radio. But how did I get to this point?
In my teen years, I recorded an acoustic EP on a 4-track at home one summer and began sharing it with friends. They shared it with people they knew. Before long, I’d moved on to recording an acoustic album and a local label was mailing copies all over the world. Music was all I could ever see myself doing.
My album got me a place to study music at University. I gradually began to play higher profile gigs, including one of the smaller Summer Sundae Festival stages. Seeing my name on a t-shirt below famous names like Amy Winehouse, Super Furry Animals and Easyworld felt like a huge moment. With hindsight though, my future options as a professional singer-songwriter were limited at that time. The opportunities we have now thanks to the internet simply did not exist yet.
I vowed to find a job I enjoyed and to continue with my first love, music, alongside it. In my mission to do this, I started my own business (not music-related) and continued to work as a musician. I also worked a day job four days a week and studied at least one night a week for new qualifications. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, I began to burn out pretty quickly and my health took a sharp downturn. I became exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Music sadly got caught in the crossfire.
I realised I needed to get my day job on track first as that paid my bills at that time. I worked in several different industries and eventually developed a new career I adored as much as music. Meanwhile, time continued to pass, health challenges surfaced, and the ‘short break’ of a few months somehow stretched into a decade.
In the years in between, I dabbled with music. I played the odd show here or there with friends. I wrote songs and left them unrecorded. I tinkered with my guitar without learning anything new. It was a relief to no longer feel a huge pressure every time I picked up my guitar. “I could just play or write sometimes for fun,” I thought. Despite the relief, part of me felt like a traitor to my younger self, who’d worked so hard to make music a big part of my life.
During the decade of downtime, I felt the odd spark here or there, driving me to think about making music again. Each time though, I talked myself out of doing it long-term. There were a hundred reasons why it wouldn’t work. Many times, those reasons were very valid - but that didn’t mean that they would be forever.
One day, I realised the gaps between those sparks of inspiration had shrunk. The “What if…?” had become stronger than my many doubts and wasn’t so easy to ignore. I reasoned that I could just try… and it wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t work out. I would start from where I was and do what I could. And I made a deal with myself that if it stopped being fun at any point, I would stop.
Once I made the big decision, I found myself at the edge of a new challenge: catching up on where today’s musicians and technology were at. “Can I still use my four-track recorder?” I asked a friend, who could barely contain his laughter.
My experience of using music software was old and now a fuzzy memory. I managed to record and mix my first new single with a pretty basic set up. But I didn’t have the same luck with my next song and, worse, I couldn’t hear the problems until someone with more experience pointed them out. Still, it was a turning point for me. Until then, I didn’t know what I didn’t know! My ‘mistake’ actually gave me the opportunity to work with some fantastic people, including Becky Willard at Vox Fox Studios.
Now, making music feels fresh, exciting and full of possibility again. It really is a lifelong passion. You might put it aside for a time, but it will always find you. Sometimes in a better place than when you left it. I’m thrilled to be making music again and learning something new every day. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months will bring!