Laura Mann’s music appeals to a wide range of audience tastes and genres, including fans of pop, alternative, dance, and indie rock. Her loyal local fan base has turned out for recent sold out shows at the Philadelphia venues Milkboy, World Cafe Live, and The Clef Club. Laura has also played dates in Europe, appeared as a featured artist at the SXSW Festival, and performed on NPR’s “Mountain Stage” radio program.
Laura’s talent has attracted the attention of a number of luminaries in the music industry: She has had songs personally written for her, and co-written with her, by an impressive list of talented Grammy Award-nominated songwriters, including Lowen & Navarro (Pat Benatar’s “We Belong”), Eric Bazilian (Joan Osbourne’s “What If God Was One of Us”), and Robert Hazard (Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”), as well as Grammy Award-winning songwriter Scot Sax (Co-writer of Faith Hill & Tim McGraw’s multi-Platinum “Like We Never Loved at All”). She has also worked with top musicians, including guitarist Vernon Reid (of Living Color). Laura is currently working with multi-Grammy-nominated producer Mitch Goldfarb.
Laura’s music is available for digital download from iTunes, Amazon and numerous streaming services everywhere. Visit www.LauraMann.com or find her on Facebook at Laura Mann Music.
“Music pulled me in when I was very young.”
When Laura Mann was eight years old, most of her dreams included a guitar. Her dreams became a reality after Laura’s mother bought her first guitar. “My Mom and Dad understood that learning to play was serious business,” she says, and made sure her daughter was at her lesson every week from then on.
Every year on the family Christmas visit to Florida, Laura remembers, “Grandpa and I would play together. He was a professional musician. He had a great voice and played the drums and mandolin in a Swiss Band.” Her beloved Grandfather’s encouraging words made her dream seem even more possible. While sharing a doughnut one day “he told me to never give up on my music.”
“I started listening to Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Le Chic, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gee’s and the list goes on. I’d buy charts to play guitar and sing to my favorite artists all the time. My parents were inspirational as well. Mom brought me to lots of concerts including James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot. We still get together for concerts and theatre all the time. Dad (who has a good voice) sang Johnny Mathis songs around the house,” Laura laughs.
It wasn’t long before Laura was performing. She auditioned and was chosen for every Chorus and Choir in Elementary School and High school – if there was a Solo to be sung in a school concert, it was almost always Laura singing it.
Her radio “debut” came in High School when a fellow student, Andre Gardner (now one of the top DJ’s on WMGK in Philadelphia) and Ted Steinmatz a Science teacher, started a morning radio show. Laura sang an original composition, which had never been done before.
Her radio “debut” came in High School when Laura sang an original composition, which had never been done before. Fellow student, Andre Gardner (now one of the top DJ’s on WMGK), remembers, “I first saw Laura perform at an evening concert at our High School. We’ve all seen that image. The slightly awkward, nervous teenager slowly walking up onstage at a school function, and them gingerly working their way through their routine. A few mistakes later, they’re done, and polite applause ensues. This wasn’t the case with Laura…confidently walking up to the stool, sitting down alone onstage, with her acoustic guitar, and watching and listening to her proceed to give a flawless, stunning guitar/vocal performance. There was no apparent nervousness. But there was a loud applause. And long. She killed it. I knew right away there would be many more performances like that in the near future.”
Laura always knew music would be part of her life. “God has given me this instrument of peace which I’ll never take for granted. I feel very blessed.”
As a junior at Shawnee High School in NJ, after begging her mom to allow her to go Laura auditioned and ultimately led to her first real gig with a real band — Elysian Fields. Primarily a cover band, Laura sang songs from artists such as Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd and Renaissance, others, but also got a chance to perform her own original music on stages in Philadelphia and around New Jersey.
Laura began to sing solo at coffee houses and concerts after the band broke up at the end of high school. At an outdoor Concert in Medford, New Jersey, Laura met Mike Vesper, drummer and a friend of Robert Hazard. He was putting together a rock band and was looking for a lead singer. After hearing Laura, Robert Hazard and Mike Vesper asked Laura to join forming a band called Laura and the Lifeboys.
Laura and Mike would write most of the songs and work on arrangements with the help of Robert.
“It was the beginning of my long, wonderful, and sometimes tumultuous, relationship with Robert,” she recalls. “He was my mentor, working hard on our behalf, offering advice and helping to produce our sound. I loved practicing almost every night.”
“The Opera House”, which musicians fondly refer to it as “3rd and Brown” — a rundown old warehouse where local bands could rent rehearsal space, was a frequent commute for Laura. “I loved playing with my band. Those were really fun days,” Laura remembers.
Laura and the Lifeboys became a popular act in Philadelphia in the ’80s. Laura remembers “I couldn’t believe we were an opening act for The Ramones. And I sang back up on Robert Hazard’s record ‘Darling’ which was released in 1986.”
One day, out of the blue, Robert asked Laura if she would like to audition for Star Search, a precursor of American Idol. She agreed and they drove to NYC for her to audition. After making the cut she was flown to LA for her first live TV appearance with Ed McMahon.
Cyndy Drue, an accomplished DJ from Philadelphia (WMMR Street Beat) remembers, “When the Songwriter of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ writes a song for you – that’s a major vote of confidence of your talent. Robert Hazard wrote, “You’re the Reason I” for Laura Mann to sing, and it was always one of my favorite songs to play. Laura continues to share her talent with us by creating her own original songs.” (‘You’re the Reason I’ is on her 2010 CD “Bowtie and Rose Tattoo“.)
Years later Laura and the Lifeboys broke up and soon Laura and Robert started a new band. Laura was looking for a new sound in which she could really play her guitar and add some strings. “I met violinist Caryn Lin and asked her to somehow use sound effects on her violin,” Laura recalls. “We had a lot of fun messing with different sounds and soon after she bought an electric violin.”
It was the sound Laura was looking for and the incarnation of her new band, Laura Mann. The band took off and enjoyed many successful gigs in local venues until personality conflicts within the band caused them to break up.
Caryn Lin and Laura Mann continued as a duo for a while, eventually going their separate ways. Around this time, Laura Mann and Robert Hazard went their separate ways as well.
Bill Eib, Robert’s manager and friend, encouraged Laura to sing solo, ultimately leading to her sharing the stage with such legends as Warren Zevon, Dave Mason, Al Stewart, Bobby Caldwell, and Kenny Rankin to name a few.
In 1994, Laura Mann released her first self-produced CD “Like a Lamb Among the Lions.”
In 2002, after “a damaging relationship and a bad breakup” and the release of ‘I’ve Got You’, Laura decided to take a hiatus and refocus on a healthier lifestyle.
She began researching Holistic living and studied to become a Certified and Licensed Massage Therapist with focuses in Medical Massage, Swedish Massage, Thai Massage, and more.
Laura quickly realized massage therapy was her second calling. “I love doing something to help others feel better and, really, that was always the joy I got out of performing. Lifting people up in turn makes me feel better,” Laura says.
Finding an energizing contentment with this new career. Then came a new marriage, a new home and life was good. “I feel better than I ever have and have made peace with myself and others. I’m enjoying this new chapter in my life.”
But leaving music behind was not an option. She needed the joy of making music and wanted to be in a recording studio creating, singing, and producing. She continued to create and perform when she wanted to…it was nearly perfect.
In 2010, “Bow Tie and Rose Tattoo” was released. But life is full of twists and turns…
A recent bout with breast cancer left a profound affect. Now cancer free, Laura has refocused her massage therapy career to include the intricacies of Oncology Massage. At the same time the idea of singing, recording and performing has taken on a new intensity. “Music is an integral part of who I am,” she says.
In 2016, Laura went back in the studio to record new songs, and a new treatment of a song she wrote in 2005, on self titled CD, “This Time.”
Michael Tearson, a 50-year veteran of the radio industry comments on Laura Mann’s new CD “This Time”: “‘The Child’s Got Wings’ stuns me. Set in fall as the green is beginning to fade, accepting inevitable change limned by the metaphor of changing seasons is hardly new, but Laura has spun a fresh, emotional twist and spin on it. It makes my achy heart soar. ‘This Time’ is an intimate song of holding onto a love. The song strips emotion to the barest bone, and Richard Hotchkiss’ cello rips at the heartstrings as it cries. Laura’s singing taps into genuine beauty, especially her wordless singing late in the song. There is a maturity and the feeling of life lives infused in her songs which draw depth and gravitas from that.”
The most recent release from Laura is a rough live version from Milkboy Studios in Philadelphia called “Peace and Freedom Calling.”
Laura wrote this song for a performance at the “Concert for Peace Day” on the Gazella Ship in Penn’s Landing. When artists Frank Seder and Turo Pashyun heard Laura, they wanted her to be a part of a special event celebrating Switzerland’s 700th Anniversary. Always up to travel (especially having relatives there) Laura packed her bag, headed to Switzerland and performed “Peace and Freedom Calling.”
“It was an amazing day, sharing the stage with performers from all over the world,” she remembers.
“I’ve never recorded Peace and Freedom Calling before but it’s time. The world is in a sad state right now. We need to stop the violence and make peace with one another.”
Reflecting on the new release, Laura says, “My music is changing.”
While there’s lightness to some of the new music reflecting the joy in her life, the voice, the lyrics, the intensity are still there. Laura’s songs draw listeners in, taking them along new paths they will want to walk along with her.
Laura sang a song Robert Hazard wrote for her called “You’re the Reason I”. Laura continues to share her talent with us by creating her own original songs.” (“You’re the Reason I” is on her 2010 CD “Bowtie and Rose Tattoo“.)
Laura recently just opened a new music venue in Ardmore, The Living Room. The Living Room at 35 East in an intimate BYOB that features live music, artists, comedians, comedic plays, photographers, and eclectic films, up close and personal.