Getting To Know: Lauren Calve

Lauren Calve (Photo Credit: Shane Gardner)

Today marks the release of Wildfire by DMV native Lauren Calve

Calve evokes Patty Griffin’s dynamic voice, Bonnie Raitt’s smoky aura, and Ben Harper’s unique slide style. Her compositions find their ground in the sounds of blues and Americana, guitar and lap steel, but their strength lies in how they go beyond tradition into innovative melodies, structures and arrangements that define their originality.  

We had the opportunity to talk with this vibrant, emotive artist about what she has been up to over the last few months, how Maya Angelou influenced her songwriting, and latest past times during quarantine, as we anticipate her newest EP. 


Nina Goodman: Hi Lauren, thank you so much for connecting with us! Tell me, what have you been up to these days, musically?

Lauren Calve: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! Musically, I’ve been really busy despite most everything coming to a grinding halt because of the pandemic. In April, I released “Better Angels,” the first single off my forthcoming EP along with an accompanying lyric video. Now, I’m busy promoting the EP, Wildfire, which will be released on June 23.


NG: I am really excited to hear it. I have been following your work ever since I saw you perform at the Radiohead tribute show at Black Cat a couple of summers ago. You have such a unique way about you and your voice, your songs, they stay with me. I am a huge fan! I'm curious to know about your influences...can you name three artists who move you? 

LC: Different artists influence me at different times in my life. Right now, I’m really inspired by Phoebe Bridgers, Grimes, and The Lemonheads. I’m in the process of writing new material, so I like to listen to a wide range of music.


NG: I just saw Phoebe Bridgers play at Black Cat last year, she was wonderful. Same stage where I first saw you play! I love to think of you two on that same stage. (Smile.)

And while we're on DC places, where is your favorite place to eat in the DMV? 

LC: Franklin’s in Hyattsville, Maryland is my favorite place! Their food is great, and they brew really creative varieties of beer. Attached to the restaurant is a fun general store where they have an amazing selection of puzzles (we’re super into puzzles, especially now)! And thankfully, they are still open. We’ve been getting take-out from them almost every week.


NG: I haven't heard of Franklin's but will definitely check it out next time I'm in Hyattsville! So while we are listing things, I am always curious to ask artists' I admire about books or songs or movies that changed the way they think. Especially someone like you with such deep lyrics and emotion in your songs. Can you share a few that inspire your songwriting?

Lauren Calve (Photo Credit: Shane Gardner)

LC: There were a variety of sources that made me think more deeply which then inspired my songwriting on Wildfire. “Shock Time” is the lead-off song on the album and was inspired by a line from Woody Guthrie’s journal that I came across in "Woodie Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein." The production of “Wildfire,” and the visuals for the music video when I get around to making it, were inspired by the first season of HBO’s True Detective. And the bridge lyrics in “Better Angels” were inspired by a Maya Angelou poem, “Touched by an Angel.” 

Lauren Calve (Photo Credit: Shane Gardner)

NG:  As if I wasn't already excited to hear this EP, now I'm VERY curious. I am going to make sure I reread Maya Angelou's poem before listening to "Better Angels." I love how art inspires art and that you have woven in things as profound as that poem with modern day HBO shows into this work. 

So yes, we are in a strange time, tell me...what are you doing to take care of yourself these days?

LC: We most definitely are. I just bought a fountain pen and a beautiful shade of ink, both of which were definitely “self-care” purchases. They make the simple act of writing luxurious. I’ve also recently discovered smokeless incense. I find it so relaxing and soothing to burn incense; I’ve found that my happiness is largely linked to how good my surroundings smell.


NG: I love that. And have never heard of smokeless incense and am intrigued.

It's always interesting to hear what people are doing these days to take care when there is so much hardship in the world right now. Sometimes there are silver linings, too. I have a feeling your EP will be one of the things for me. 

Last question: What part of staying home these days have you appreciated the most?

Lauren Calve

LC: Staying at home has made me appreciate my cats more! I have four indoor cats and a colony of outdoor cats that I take care of thanks to a mom cat that decided to have three litters of kittens on my back deck. It may sound like a lot, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I know this makes me sound like a “crazy cat lady”, but they really are my best buddies!

NG: I love that! And nope, I get it. My dog is my bestie and has meant to world to me these days.


Lauren, thank you SO much for taking the time to connect today. I am really excited to hear your new work and will no doubt have it on repeat in my summer play list. You are a tremendous artist and such an asset to the DC scene.

LC: Thank you so much, and thank you for taking the time, it's been great chatting with you!


For more information on Lauren's new album and social media pages, see below!

Lauren Calve

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About the author
Nina Goodman

Nina Goodman

Nina Goodman is a music lover, dancer, artist, keyboardist, and an avid ukulele player. You may even see her up on stage performing with local DC bands. Above all, Nina is a fierce supporter of the Washington DC local music scene. Nina's talents are mostly behind the scenes where she maintains and curates our event calendar and conducts interviews with local artists. If there is music playing in the DMV, you can expect to see her attending or at least making sure that our audience knows about it.