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Remembering in the Dark What You Saw in the Light is more than just the title for Lauren-Michael Sellers’s forthcoming album. It is a mantra that served as an endearing inspiration for the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter’s quiet evenings spent in the Birmingham-Southern College chapel.
“That phrase is in a chapel prayer book there. People come in and write different things that they’re going through and things going on in their life that they need help or guidance for. Someone had written that phrase four times, and I just looked at that phrase and it hit me pretty hard. I started thinking a lot about light versus dark. That affects my songwriting a lot, whether I like it or not, and so does exploration of light and dark within myself,” Sellers reflects.
Hailing from Jonesboro, Georgia, and enraptured by music since she was a child, Sellers has taken the craft from a simple hobby to a relentless passion for new and exciting sounds. She entered into the realm of focused music-making by writing songs for an independent study term at BSC called “Fear to Create” lead by Dr. Charles Mason. She then changed her major from vocal performance to composition. She began writing with some classmates as well to develop her own style, choosing guitar as her primary musical outlet.
“I taught myself the guitar because I knew I had to have an instrument so I could actually write songs. I picked up the guitar and my friends showed me a few basic chords. From there, it just kept going. I had always had songs in my mind, melodies and words. I had always written poems. I had tons of books around my room with captions of different things like ideas and phrases and songs came from that,” she says.
She desires to reach her listeners through a variety of beautifully written folk compositions that are saturated with some unmistakable pop sensibilities. Influences run the gamut from classic female vocalist such as Billie Holiday to contemporary artists such as Tyler Lyle, Fleet Foxes, and Coldplay. These musicians have shaped Sellers in some way, but there is no doubt that she is forging ahead and creating an unforgettable sound.
“For me, if I can get you to one, stop what you’re doing and listen to me, then that’s a good thing. Second, if I can get you to feel something or remember something or recall something through the song that we’re playing, then that’s my goal; to make you feel like you’re a part. As if I’m almost bringing back a snapshot of what you’re going through or something that you can relate to,” Sellers says.
Backing Sellers is an incredibly tight and supportive group of musicians, known collectively as the Lauren-Michael Sellers Band. Sellers met lead guitarist/vocalist Zac Baldwin her senior year at BSC.
“He has the most beautiful tenor voice and our harmonies with one another really compliment our song style,” Sellers said of Baldwin.
Drummer Alan Collins came into the fold last summer and immediately connected with the group.
“We jammed with Alan and I played him a couple of newer tunes I had just written and asked him just to come in when he felt like it, and the it was like the man read my brain...as if he was inside my head and knew exactly what I was imagining him to sound like,” Sellers said.
His talents as a videographer served the band well as he shot their first music video for “The Boy from Iris Glenn,” which is set at Birmingham’s Railroad Park.
The band’s studio work draws you in with brilliant harmonies and measured instrumentation, but their live shows are even more dynamic, something that encourages Sellers every time they perform.
“What makes me in awe is when the audience is quiet when I sing. It is the most honoring thing that I can imagine. At that moment, when they’re listening to you and their eyes are on you and they’re just taking it in, you’re sharing a time with them,” she said.
For the newest album, Sellers will be starting a PledgeMusic campaign, which relies on fan donations to fund the project in exchange for a variety of incentives. For Sellers’ project, these include digital downloads, CDs, and vinyl records.
“For the people who give more sizable donations, I’m going to put their name on the back of the CD as a producer. I feel like if you’re donating your money to something, I want to give you that recognition. I’m really excited about it. In some ways, it’s going to be really scary, but I’m going to be able to connect with people and realize how much they care,” Sellers said.
If you have been listening to Lauren-Michael Sellers for years or are just becoming familiar with her music, you know that great things lie ahead for this artist. Be sure to pay attention.
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