Lauren Zoeller is on a mission to bring music and dance to the world. As she was preparing for her first photoshoot with Null Paradox in 2015, we caught up with her to chat about singing, acting, songwriting and what she envisions for “Gertrude.”
Question~Let’s start with the most important question! What is Baptiste Yoga and how are you involved in yoga?
This is a hard one to answer because I could talk about this all day but simply put, Yoga is my life! Many people are unaware that yoga is so much more than going into a hot room, chanting crazy sounds and twisting your body into funky shapes. Yoga, if practiced correctly, is a way of life, and it just so happens that you just may get a crazy, sexy body in the process 😉 The practice of yoga consists of eight limbs, and the “movement” asana (practice), believe it or not, is only one of those eight limbs. The other seven limbs involve meditation and changing the way you think of yourself and your inner light that shines brightly to the world. So, to answer the question about how involved I am with yoga, I would have to say that I am infinitely involved. It is my way of living and it is my inner peace. I practice yoga every day, and I share it with the world through teaching and coaching as much as I can. Be my friend long enough and I promise you will find yourself in a yoga class…. all of my friends can vouch! Check it out! http://www.baronbaptiste.com/about/baptiste-yoga/
Question~What’s your most magical book moment?
I LOVE to read and I make a very important point to fill my life with so many wonderful books. Every time I read a book, there is a magical moment that happens at some point throughout my reading. Currently I am reading two books titled, “The Desire Map” by Danielle Laporte and “Being of Power” by Baron Baptiste. Both books have been packed with numerous magical moments.
Question~Who are your biggest music influences?
I have so many! Susan Tedeschi and her dynamic band with her husband Derek Trucks (Tedeschi Trucks Band) is probably my biggest influence to date, but I started singing and listening to such greats such as Cassandra Wilson, Etta James, DeeDee Bridgewater and Billie Holiday. Over time, as my personal sound developed, other artists and bands worked their way into my “influence” list. Some of these artist include: Allison Krauss & Union Station, Keb Mo, Beth Hart, John Mayer and most recently, the band Hozier. These are obviously just to name a few!
Question~What’s your favorite live musical or play performance?
My all time favorite musical would have to be Aida. I fell in love with Aida the first time I had the chance to see it. I always told friends growing up that my dream role on broadway would be to play Aida…and if you have seen the musical, you will quickly see that my dreams will continue to stay dreams when it comes to playing that role haha. But hey, one can always dream!
Question~Your experience in singing, dancing, and acting includes graduating from the Youth Performing Arts High School (Dance and Musical Theatre) and Bellarmine University (Vocal Performance and Jazz Studies). How does each of those disciplines influence your live performance?
Performing has been a part of my life since I was little. At the young age of six, I told my mother that I loved being on stage and nothing about that has changed twenty years later. Starting out in dance gave me the opportunity to be very comfortable in expressing myself without words. I think that once I made it to high school and realized that I indeed had a voice, the transition was easy. I was already familiar with being on stage, and now the only added component was that I was using my voice. I started my college career in dance, and half way through decided that music was calling my name. Jazz was so new to me, but really caused me to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. I have taken something from every performance I have been a part of since the start of my performance career. When I am on stage, all of the previous performances come together to influence what is currently happening.
Question~What was the biggest event that you’ve performed at to date?
That is a hard question to answer because “biggest event” could be classified in different ways. To me, the biggest events and the ones which resonate the most to me are my tour to Italy, which held such a special place in my heart, and made me realize that music was something I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. If we are talking big in terms of “number of fans,” I would have to say the release show of my second album, Right Track. The number of supporters and fans in the room that night was incredible.
Question~You’re the winner of the Indie Music Award (2011) for your song “Jamie” and have released 2 albums (“Something to Say” and “Right Track”) with a third album being recorded. When you write a song do you start by writing lyrics or music?
I usually start with writing lyrics, and then from there I will usually collaborate with another musician to continue the writing process. I love to write, so lyrics are much easier for me than melodies. Writing songs is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, and I all about exploring that!
Question~You’ve performed both in America and Italy. Since the artists and crew in Null Paradox are from all over the world; where would you like to travel and perform with them?
Is EVERYWHERE an acceptable answer? Because if it is, then that is it! There is nowhere on this beautiful planet that I would be opposed to going to. Even the most desolate places are worth experiencing. There is beauty everywhere, and I want to be able to experience it all.
Question~Speaking of Italy, what did you most enjoy about your tour with the Incanto Italy Tour Singers?
Italy was amazing. I think the most amazing moment on that tour was being able to sing at the Vatican. It was stunning, and almost too beautiful to put into words. While there with the Incanto Italy Singers, I was also with a jazz band that performed at various venues at night. Jazz is widely appreciated in Europe, much more than it is in the United States (which is a shame), and we played a show one night that was standing room only by the start of our first set. For a jazz band, that is almost unheard of in the United States. That was a sight I will never forget.
Question~What personality traits do you share with Gertrude?
Gertrude is bold. She is what many would call an “introvert” but to me, it is almost as if she is intellectually sound with a sense of how the world is destined to survive. Sometimes the quiet ones are the ones with the most to share. Gertrude and myself share several similar qualities, but I think that her innate sense of the world around her is our most similar quality.
Question~What do you plan to bring to the story of Gertrude musically and as an actor?
I want people to be able to feel a sense of connectivity and love for Gertrude. In the book, it is very easy to love Grace, and I want people at the end of the show to feel the same towards Gertrude. Really, I think that is the goal of any musician and actor, to give the audience a sense of intense love for their character. I want people leaving the show saying, “I Love Gertrude”.