Lauren LoGrasso is nothing short of a modern day Renaissance woman. The podcast host/producer, media/podcasting consultant, and actress finally decided to add singer/songwriter to her resume at 23. Within a year, she was performing gigs at some of LA’s most iconic venues. Her new single, “Road to Glory,” came effortlessly to her – in contrast to the story behind it. The song traces her incredibly difficult, often failure-strewn journey to realize her dreams. The road was a bumpy one to say the least, but she emerged triumphant and perennially growing. Lauren is also a fierce advocate for mental health a strong believer in the power of therapy, as maintaining our mental health is vital for our overall well-being. Stream “Road to Glory” HERE!
Cliché: You wear so many different hats, including podcast host and producer, singer/songwriter, media/podcasting consultant, creativity coach and actress. How do you balance it all?
Lauren LoGrasso: To be completely honest, I am still very much figuring that out! I think by doing my best to stay present. When you do so many things, it’s tempting to try to do them all at once, but when you do that, everything suffers. So I try to do one task, and then move onto the next. Making lists helps! I am also trying to put a little fun/leisure back into my life, because it’s hard to be creative if you’re not allowing yourself to be inspired by the outside world.
When did you first discover your love of music?
I have loved music since I could talk! I used to belt the songs Annie: The Musical, through the house and I have been singing and doing musicals since I was about three or four, and taking voice lessons since I was fourteen. However, I spent the first 23 years of my life with all of my songs lying dormant in me, waiting to emerge. At that point I picked up a guitar, after many failed attempts at trying to learn the instrument, was suddenly able to play…Months later, I started writing music as I fell asleep at night–in that state when you’re in between sleep and awake. I decided to listen to that message from the Universe, and when I did, the music started pouring out of me. Within less than a year of writing my first song, I had played the House of Blues on Sunset and soon after that, I played The Viper Room and The Hard Rock Cafe. That’s how my songwriting journey began!
Why are you such a big advocate for mental health?
If we’re not taking care of our mental health, we do not have anything else. You don’t have physical health, you don’t have your relationships, your career suffers…In my opinion, it is the single most important part of our lives to invest money and time into! Also, I wouldn’t be where I am today without therapy. At the time I started, I was going down a very rough path. Therapy helped me learn to set boundaries, lessen my anxiety, see my own worth and get in touch with who I really am, outside of my circumstances. It is a massive game-changer, and I feel every human walking this Earth needs it to fully know themselves!
Talk about your upcoming single, “Road to Glory.” What was the inspiration behind this song?
This song was written over the course of years and many different locations. The idea first came to me in an airplane. I kept going to the bathroom to record voice memos, so my seat mates wouldn’t think I was insane. Then I came back to LA and figured out the chords with my friend Jordan. Then I finished the original version of the song driving down the streets of Detroit. And this past winter I did a rewrite with an awesome songwriter named Miranda Glory. My producer put all of these new touches on it, changed up the chords and it was finally complete. That just goes to show you how painstaking the creative process can be. When I started writing the song, I honestly didn’t know what it was about. It flowed out of me–I got the words and the chorus with almost no effort, and for me, that doesn’t always happen. When I look back on it, I feel like my younger self was writing it for my older self. I know that sounds woo woo, but at that point (this process started 5 years ago) I didn’t REALLY know the road to glory. Not the way I do now. Because the song is about getting battered, and bruised and torn up and knocked down on the path to your dream…And despite those obstacles, having the courage, strength and belief to get back up every time. That’s success. That’s the road to glory. You have to be willing to do the work for what you love. And if you’re okay with that, and can hang in, you will reach many beautiful destinations.
You also have an EP coming out by the same name. What does the EP represent for you as far as the evolution of your music?
This EP is the culmination of my entire life as a performer. Music is truly the mix of everything I love: Writing, acting, singing, performing and audio-storytelling. I am so excited to put it out into the world and finally be able to publicly proclaim that I am an artist! These songs are all written from VERY personal experiences in my life. They’re about heartbreak, redemption, self-acceptance and the grit it takes to pursue a life you can be proud of. It’s like putting a little piece of your soul out into the world. As far as the evolution of my music, most of that has happened in clubs, and in the studio over the years, as the process of making the album took 4 years! But what it represents for me, personally, as a musician/a human is how much I’ve grown. I can honestly say I am so much better now than I was when I started. For me, that’s a huge win. I can’t wait to see how else I grow through the process!
The EP centers around the struggle to achieve your dreams, what was the most difficult block you had along the way? How did you overcome it?
There have been hundreds of moments since I’ve moved here, so it is hard to settle down on one, most impactful moment. It’s the accumulation of all of those little failures and setbacks that feels like the biggest monster. However, there is a certain painful moment that sticks out to me. There was a person in my life, who was very successful in the business, who told me I should stop pursuing and playing music. At the time, this person and their opinion was very important to me. It was in that moment that I made a decision to separate myself from that person (and ANY person) who didn’t support me–because my music is a piece of me, so if you don’t support it, you don’t support me. I could never stop singing and playing music, it is a piece of my humanity. I overcame this person’s limiting view of me, by removing myself from their presence. Over time, you either let the doubters consume you, or fuel you. Choose fuel.
Do you have any advice for people who are currently in an uphill battle to realize their dreams?
Think back to when you were a little kid. What lit you up? What did you naturally do that made you feel good? The answer always lies in our child self, even if it isn’t a direct translation. Let’s say when you were a child, you loved helping the kid in class that no one else would talk to. Maybe you’re a natural-born social worker, or teacher or podcaster, broadcasting to all those who feel unseen and unheard now…
In that same vein, I want to encourage you to rethink the word “purpose”. That word tends to cripple people because they think that they need to find one perfect thing to do for the rest of their life. Instead of making your purpose a job or career path, define it as a spiritual path. For instance, what I’ve defined as the thesis of my life is to use my voice to bring voice, sight and belief to those who feel unheard, unseen and unloved. If I can make all of my daily activities and career objectives feed into that, I am achieving my purpose.
To those who have already found their purpose and are pursuing a dream: Always. Keep. Going. The main difference between those who make it and those who don’t is simply persistence or lack thereof. Tenacity and belief are the keys to greatness. Also, focus on your why. If your why is deep enough, even in moments when it feels like life is beating you down, you will keep coming back for more. And remember, there is never a longing in your heart that is there just to mess with you. At the very least, it’s a lesson that will bring your closer to your ultimate path. Sometimes the dreams you find on the way to your dreams are even more powerful than your original intention!
What do you wish that people would talk about more in terms of the dialogue around mental health and mental illness?
How much therapy helps- it is literally a life-saver and the best decision and investment you can ever make. And also, how normal mental health struggles are in our culture. Especially in this modern era with cellphones and social media, you’re hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t suffering from some sort of situational anxiety. I especially worry about the generations above millennials, because the stigma around therapy is much bigger there.
I think there needs to be more awareness around what mental health and illness looks like, how to cultivate good mental hygiene and the importance of having a mindfulness practice. Let me go on the record right now to tell you that meditation will make your life at least 29384039528 times better. Do it!
You’re the executive producer of female content for Cadence13. What does that entail?
Through my role at Cadence13, I oversee and produce shows such as The Goop Podcast, Girlboss Radio, Yoga Girl: Conversations from the Heart, Lauren Conrad: Asking for a Friend, Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver, Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes, Self Service Podcast and more!
Producing can entail many things, but it mostly means getting done whatever is necessary in order to get the audio put together and pushed out to the listeners. That ranges from helping develop and create show structures, podcast art, descriptions, titles, booking guests, writing questions and doing research for hosts, recording and coaching interviews…It varies from show to show. It’s a really fun job and through it I have had the privilege of sitting and talking with some of the greatest minds of our time! It’s a very cool job, where I’m constantly learning and growing, and I am extremely grateful for it!
Why did you decide to host your own podcast?
It has been my dream since I was a kid! When I was in middle school, my friends and I would always host fake talk shows in my living room and ask my Mom to tape them. She very kindly obliged–she was a FAB director haha! Then, in High School, I used to listen to a show called The Mitch Albom Show. Mich is an iconic author (he wrote the classic Tuesdays with Morrie) , Sports’ journalist and Detroit broadcaster. I used to listen to him and think, “Wow, I’d really love to do that someday!” Down the road (after I’d already been in radio for a while) I had the opportunity to be a recurring guest co-host on his show, which was an amazing moment…Anyway, I digress…After high school, I went to Michigan State and starting DJing on MSU’s radio station, The Impact 89FM, under the name “DJ Loseph”- which was VERY cool. I loved it so much that I would go to class from 9am-5pm, play rehearsal from 6-10pm and DJ from 12-2am. Even then, I was willing to hustle for the Multi-hyphenate. When I moved to LA, I was pursuing acting, but I was super depressed, so I was constantly looking for things that could cheer up my homesick soul. One of the things I would do, is listen to SiriusXM’s Cosmo Radio. There was a show on there called Cocktails with Patrick, and the host was from Detroit. He would talk about Detroit topics a lot, and I would drive down the 5 and pretend like I was back home on I-94 (a great little Detroit highway). It was during that time that my love for radio was reignited and I started saying out loud, “I want to work at SiriusXM.” A few months later, I got a hosting gig at AfterBuzz TV. That opportunity led to me meeting its founders Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro. They took me under their wing and mentored me and introduced me to the VP of Female Programming, Serena Kodilla, who was the creator of all of the shows I loved on Cosmo Radio. It was like meeting my radio Jesus. Serena, being the angel she is, created a position for me to work on Maria’s show as an Associate Producer. Within less than a year, I worked my way up to the main producer, as well as being on air with Maria. That opportunity led me to my current job as Executive Producer of Female Programming at Cadence13, where I work/ have worked on shows such as Girlboss Radio, The Goop Podcast, Lauren Conrad: Asking for a Friend, Yoga Girl: Conversations from the Heart, Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver and Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes. To bring it full circle, as I said, my dream has always been to host my own show. So once I realized I had literally every skill I needed to make my own dreams come true, I decided to finally put my faith in myself and independently host and executive produce my own podcast, Unleash Your Inner Creative with Lauren LoGrasso. Since the show premiered it has been on Apple Podcasts New and Noteworthy 37 times, has a solid 5 star rating, is frequently on the top charts in Arts, is one of Anchor.FM’s featured podcasts, and most importantly, I love the show and the creative listeners with all my heart!
What’s the most memorable story someone has shared on your podcast?
Oh gosh! There are so many. One particularly powerful story comes to mind! I recently had on a man named Don Yaeger who is an eleven time New York Times Best-Selling Author and legendary sports Journalist. He told an amazing story about a former professional Football player named Warrick Dunn. When Warrick was a senior in high school, his Mother, a cop, was shot and killed during a bank robbery. Years later, when Don was helping Warrick write his first book, he asked Warrick what he would say to the person who killed his Mother, if he got the chance. Two days later, Warrick came back with a notebook full of questions. They ended up going to the prison where Warrick’s Mother’s murder was on death row. Apparently the night before they got there, the accused man had completely changed his story and was now saying it wasn’t him. Warrick said to the man something to the effect of, “If you didn’t do it, I don’t know why you’re here, but let me tell you how that night changed my life…” He went onto describe how he couldn’t play football with the same passion as he once did, how he was terrified to fall in love with his girlfriend and hold her hand in public because he couldn’t lose love twice and how that night totally changed the course of his whole life. But in the end, he said his Mother taught him in life we have two options: to get better or to get bitter. He told the accused man that he came to the prison to forgive him. It was an incredible story that gives me chills even as I recount it here. Warrick also turned his pain into purpose and created a beautiful charity that give homes to women like his Mother. To date, he has gifted hundreds of homes to single Mothers. That’s a story that will stick with me for a long time to come. One of the most important things with creativity is finding a way to turn your suffering into service and purpose. He is a beautiful example of that!
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Lauren LoGrasso Pulls No Punches About Her Rough “Road to Glory” in New Single/EP. Photo Credit: Farah Aviva. Be sure to follow Lauren on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook!