18 Questions with Laurel Smith

18 Questions With introduces 1883 readers to the brightest young artists, actors, creatives and beyond. From childhood memories and guilty pleasures to their latest ventures and upcoming projects, our goal is to bring you closer to the people who inspire and entertain us. 

London-based singer-songwriter Laurel Smith is proving to be an exciting artist and her new single “The Red Pill” proves it. It’s a fabulous concoction of alt-pop, hyper-pop, emo, and industrial influences, showcasing that Smith is extremely versatile and not afraid to weave different genres together. The thrilling tune marks Laurel’s co-production debut and the result is a burst of energy, it’s also lifted from a forthcoming larger project which will be announced soon.

Laurel Smith chats to 1883 Magazine about her new single “The Red Pill”, her favourite memory growing up, and more.

What’s one exciting thing that happened to you this week?

All the aftereffects of releasing “the red pill”. Seeing support + messages from everyone; it’s an exciting feeling to finally get music out into the world that you’ve been itching to show people!

 What was the last thing you read?

An extract from “The Farthest Shore” by Ursula K. Le Guin that my mum sent to me – “Do you see, Arren, how an act is not, as young men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws, and it hits or misses, and that’s the end of it. When that rock is lifted the earth is lighter, the hand that bears it heavier. When it is thrown the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or falls the universe is changed. On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do is well done, and rightly done.

All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale’s sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat’s flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. But we, in so far as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence we must not act in ignorance, having choice, we must not act without responsibility.”

Favourite memory growing up?

I spent a lot of my summers in Devon as a child which hold my favourite memories: surfing, playing with my friends on the campsite late at night, rock pooling and crab fishing. The most exciting stuff to a kid who’s grown up in London.

Where was the last place you travelled to?

I just got back from a family holiday to the Canary Islands which was much needed in the UK January slump.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

Jim from Friday Night Dinner

What’s your nighttime ritual?

I’m obsessed with good lighting in my room, I basically never turn on my ceiling light. Once it gets dark, I use my salt rock lamp, light up exit sign and galaxy projector so I feel like I’m on another planet. Then I’ll sit out my window and listen to music to give myself some thinking time away from screens and distractions.

Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?

My boyfriend asked me this question recently (except it was my dream blunt rotation) and I said: Rick Rubin (has the secrets to the universe), Oprah (because she definitely has interesting gossip), Yung Lean (my favourite artist) and Pharrell Williams (no explanation needed).

Favourite movie?

Anything by A24: Mid 90’s, Uncut Gems, Ladybird. They always make movie worlds I want to live in, they make the mundane exciting and find ways to subvert the genres they work within. I’ve never been bored watching their movies. 

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

I used to force my friends when I was younger to listen to me recite the whole of rap god by Eminem (yes all 6 minutes) so I guess that.

Favourite item in your closet?

Anything by Santena (my best friend’s brand)

In a few short words, describe your music for someone who’s never heard it.

Cinematic, storytelling, introspective

What inspired your new single “The Red Pill”?

I’m always very visually driven in my work; I write based off of images (little cinematic snapshots) I see in my head. When I started making the beat for “the red pill”, I imagined a girl being pushed to her emotional limits and going on a rampage. So, the story began to write itself, waking up stuck in a movie you hate that makes you feel out of place, realising that something sinister is going on behind the scenes and pushing everyone to “snap out of it” and free themselves.

This is the first track you’ve co-produced, why was now the right time to start producing and how did you find the challenge?

I began teaching myself to produce in 2022, it was something I’d always wanted to do after being in many sessions with producers and watching their process. I knew it would be the next step to opening up my creativity, so I spent every day making beat after beat, staying up late learning bit by bit as I went with some help from friends. I’ve never felt that type of excitement before, I felt compelled to sit at that desk, I was completely addicted. I’m so glad I put in the work to get where I’m at now with it and I feel a lot more confident in myself knowing I can have an idea in my head and fully bring it to life myself.

How long did it take to shoot the music video for the new track?

Music video shoot days are always long ones but the time goes very quickly, we arrived at the shoot location at about 10:00am and probably ended up leaving at 10:00pm. 

Could you recall the moment that made you realise you wanted to pursue music as a career?

I grew up around music, both my parents played me lots growing up, I used to sit at the piano as a child and write (usually about extremely heavy subjects for my age which I think worried them sometimes haha) When I was in secondary and beginning to think about my future it was a toss-up between music and acting but there was something awe inspiring about music that I didn’t find in acting, the ability to really reach inside my mind, it’s hard to put into words but musicians know the feeling, so it had to be music. 

Which artists would be on your dream collaboration list?

Yung lean, Sevdaliza, Travis Scott, Asap Rocky.

If you could put on a ‘Laurel Smith & Friends’ festival, who would you want on the line-up?

It would have to be a mixture of friends and artists who I’ve met or look up to; Yung Lean, Bladee, Travis Scott, Asap Rocky, Tyler the creator, Girli, Safehouse (Fayd, Saint Palmz, Pluto digital), Sainté and many more.

Where do you hope your music career takes you this year and beyond?

Travel is my main goal, I’d love to perform and write in different countries, meet new people and make friends around the world.

“The Red Pill” is out now. Follow Laurel Smith by clicking here.

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