Laura Marano might have one of the most loyal, dedicated fanbases in the entertainment industry, and not for no reason. Boasting 9.7 million followers on Instagram alone, the singer, songwriter, actress, and overall lover of life is your favorite girl-next-door, exuding nothing but good energy in all her endeavors.
A true valley girl from Los Angeles, Laura reminds folks she’s a proud Sagittarius. When asked to describe herself, she states, “I don’t surf, but I have a surfboard. I don’t eat meat on Mondays. I’m now really giving you random facts.”
Launching her acting career at the young age of 5, Marano is best known for her role as Ally Dawson on Disney’s hit series Austin & Ally, also serving as one of the 5 original classmates in Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? On the music tip, the West Coast recording artist has been professionally doing music since age 16, exploding onto the scene with her breakout single “Boombox”, music video for which hails over 66 million views on Youtube and counting.
Fast forward to 2021, Marano has collaborated with some of the biggest writers, creating her own version of bedroom pop that listeners can’t help but gravitate towards. Following last year’s success with her YOU EP, Laura is excited as ever to be releasing the deluxe version, featuring duets “Honest With You” with Alextbh Duet and “Can’t Help Myself” with Poe Leos and Jean Deaux.
Flaunt caught up with Laura via Instagram Live, diving into a conversation about the plants she has inside her Los Angeles home. Read below as we discuss her YOU EP, the forthcoming deluxe, her recent collaborations, landing her Disney role at age 15, best encounter with a fan, goals, and more!
Why don’t you eat meat on Mondays?
Meatless Mondays is something I’ve been a part of since I was 15, and continued doing forever. If everyone, even if America, didn’t eat meat for one day, it’s insane how many animals would be saved and the incredibly positive environmental impact that’d happen. That statistic is from when I was 15, so it’d be even more now, but the equivalent would be eliminating 500,000 cars from the road. I started doing it at 15 and never stopped.
Fondest memories from the YOU era? That was such a big moment for your music career.
I remember when I released my first single ever in 2016, I was performing a bunch. Doing all these one-off shows, I had a really amazing time performing. I had a little bit of a break with music. I released my first independent EP, ME, in 2019, and didn’t really have time to perform. In 2020, obviously everything stopped. Weirdly, I hadn’t performed as much as I did last year, and any other time except for 2016.
I was constantly performing last year at my house on my piano, on my keyboard. That was a really fun. I did this YOU Tour, which was this virtual tour. My fans from all around the world could watch, which was a really cool idea and amazing memory. The whole YOU experience has really been about sharing it with my fans, and having them on this journey with me on the creative. It’s been really cool to connect with them in different ways, these unique ways, hence the pandemic and everything with 2020. That connection has been really, really special.
For those who don’t know, why did you name your EP, YOU?
I released my first EP ME. A lot of the songs I’d written with that era, I had more songs to continue the stories I had told. The story wasn’t over yet. I really became obsessed with this idea that there’s two sides to every story. There’s 2 perspectives in a relationship, there’s 2 versions of the truth almost. I wanted to continue the stories I had begun telling in the ME EP with the YOU EP. When I released YOU in 2020, I wasn’t ready to give it up yet. I was still really obsessed with different perspectives, different points of views, all these different things. What came from this deluxe EP was getting other artists a part of this thesis, this theme, and having them do their own spin on some of the songs.
Talk about recruiting Jean Deaux on the remix for “Can’t Help Myself,”
Jean Deaux’s amazing, you guys can listen to it right now. Jean Deaux and Poe Leos did this very cool, awesome version of my song “Can’t Help Myself.” All the other duets I’ve done, I’ve had other guys sing with me or do the version with me. I really wanted some badass female energy. I was a huge fan of Jean Deaux, was really excited to try to get her on the song. Someone on my team knows Poe Leos and Poe’s team really well, I started listening to her stuff and talking with her. She’s so talented and so awesome. Together, we have this trio of awesome female energy. Jean Deaux has these great verses, Poe lent her voice and also reproduced it with her producing partner. It’s a really cool vibe all around.
Highlight from shooting the “Honest With You” music video?
“Honest With You” I did with an artist named Alextbh, which love that he has “tbh” in his name and is on the song “Honest With You.” His team and my team were talking about having him do a duet on another one of my songs, and “Honest With You” felt more genuine and more real. We did a music video for that song, he’s in Malaysia and I’m in LA. We filmed it in our respective different cities and that was awesome. Really, really hard and challenging to match up the videos, but it was really fun to do.
What was the highlight from that shoot?
In the song, I have a lyric about drinking cabernet. Obviously I want to have that in the music video. I don’t think you understand, I’m an indie artist. I’m doing everything on a budget, we’re making it work. I was filming this video and had to get all the props together, figure everything out. Should’ve probably done grape juice, but didn’t so I drank a whole bottle of wine. I was feeling fantastic when we finished the music video. [laughs] It was great. I almost spilled it on the bed multiple times, but never did.
How’s the independent grind been? I’m sure a lot of your acting money is invested back into your music.
Totally, that’s what I always try to say in a weird way. I know, for a lot of people, acting isn’t what I’m about to say to them, but for me, it’s a little bit like my day job where it gives me the means to be able to do music independently. It’s definitely hard to balance the 2 because of course, I still love acting, and it’s so part of my life as well, but it’s a grind doing it independently. It’s definitely a passion of really consistently working on it and doing what I can to put stuff out, but I love it so much. It’s such a healthy outlet for me on the music side of putting everything I’m feeling and processing into my writing, which is really cool.
Acting at age 5 and I know you had a big moment on Disney. How’s it been being in the limelight so young and until now just being older?
I wasn’t super necessarily in the limelight in the same way when I was starting acting. Austin & Ally happened when I was 15, so about 10 years later. That was interesting, I was working without necessarily having a fanbase or fans for a really long time. When I finally had a project like Austin & Ally that exploded, had this amazing platform and this amazing fanbase that came with it, in some ways I never forgot the craft of acting, and the work and hustle that comes with it. Nothing can really prepare you for what it’s like when you have fans and a fanbase, all of those things. You have to go through it and experience it. I really feel grateful for the audience of that show and the fans I have from that show and on. It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling so infinitely grateful for.
The fans are going crazy. How did you get here? Were you super active on social media?
Oh man, I feel like I’m bad at social media. It’s hard to know who’s good at social media. For me, I really love genuinely connecting with people on social media. I’m seeing a lot of these commentary too, I know a lot of these people are people I genuinely love. Even though I’ve never met them before, being able to connect with them on Twitter or Instagram… no other time before the mid to late 2000’s, people, celebrities, actors, singers, whatever, didn’t have this ability to directly connect with fans and people in this way.
It’s really special and it’s really overwhelming. Consistently being on social media, there are times where I’m like “Do you guys even want to hear what I have to think or say?” Because I don’t even know if I want to hear what I have to think or say on a daily basis. Connecting with the people on here always makes me really grateful for all the people, all the fans I have who are always constantly working hard to listen to my stuff and watch my stuff. They’re really, really supportive. It’s crazy how this group of people feels like they’re family and they’re there for me. It’s awesome.
Best encounter you’ve had with a fan?
Oh man, I’ve had some amazing ones. I have this never-ending array of stories. Recently I was in New Zealand filming. I was pleasantly surprised by how many teenage and young adult men were huge fans, and proud of it. Weren’t ashamed. In America, I always had the preteen, teenage boys say “Yeah, my sister’s a big fan” and would play it cool. In New Zealand, they’re like “I’m a huge fan, can I take a picture? Love you in The Perfect Date or Austin & Ally.” I was at a bar in New Zealand and the bartender was a big fan. [laughs] I said “this is the greatest moment of my life right now.”
Did you get any free drinks?
No, I felt bad. If anything, I gave him a huge tip. I said “Thank you for making my day.” He was awesome. I can never expect what age or demographic my fans are in because it really is all over the place, which is amazing. It’s really, really cool.
Do you have any goals? It doesn’t matter in what industry.
Of course, even small goals. On the music side for my Spotify, I’d love for my original songs to be in my Top 5. Right now, it’s a lot of Austin & Ally songs, which I love. Super grateful for, love the love everyone. But that’s one goal I have, to have the Top 5 be Laura Marano songs instead of Austin & Ally songs.
So everyone go stream!
Go stream the YOU EP. Get ready for the deluxe EP, very excited.
How many songs are going to be on the deluxe?
I have 2 versions of songs that people haven’t heard yet. The originals are on the YOU EP, but these 2 versions people haven’t heard so I’m excited. One version in particular, some fans are going to be really excited about. I don’t want to give it away. I’m going to hold my mouth at this point. Yes I said hold my mouth, that’s not the phrase.
You’re from LA right?
Yeah, born and raised. I feel like I’m a unicorn. I’m a valley girl. People never know what my accent is. I’ve gotten Southern. I’ve gotten once in a while East Coast, which was the best thing ever. Someone the other day thought I was British, which made me so happy.
Coming up in LA, did you think you would be here now with this crazy fanbase? Killing it in both music and film?
Thank you, there’s still more things to kill. Rather than did I know I was going to have this, the other option is I wonder if I’d be in this business if I wasn’t living in LA. Being able to be here and live here, not have to make the sacrifice of moving here or my parents having to move here, I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t living in LA. Being from LA made it easier for me to pursue acting and music.
Would you ever move?
Wow, that’s a really good question and a question I’ve thought about a lot recently. It’s weird, I have friends from high school who obviously left to go to college out of state. I have friends who are now in LA, who left wherever they’re from to move to LA. I do constantly think about that experience because that’s a pretty substantial experience of not living in the city where you grew up and being on your own. I’ve thought about it. I’d love to maybe try living for a year or a few years in other places, but I’d always come back to LA. LA definitely feels like my home.