By SPECIWOMEN Illustration GINA PIERSANTI
“I want to be able to connect to people through my music and to help build a community that empowers womxn as producers, engineers.”
Who are you?
My name is Lauren, and I produce/write pop music under the artist name mini bear. I am also a mentor and educator who is passionate about teaching music production and music tech.
What drew you to music?
I always felt pretty alienated as a kid, and music always felt like a safe space where I could freely express myself.
Do you remember the moment you decided that this was the path for you?
I majored in music when I was in college, and it took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do after I graduated. My mental health declined whenever I was putting too much energy into unfulfilling jobs instead of actively doing what I was most passionate about. Having a greater sense of purpose and directly impacting community is important to me, and that's what I decided to focus my energy on.
Who are/what are your biggest inspirations as a musician?
Female producers who have helped to create greater visibility and representation in roles that have been (and are still very) male dominated. Seeing is believing, so when you see someone who you can identify with, it creates this belief in yourself that you can achieve what they are accomplishing.
If you could collab with three people in the near future, who would they be and why?
Empress Of, Jessy Lanza, Allie X. They are all incredible producers whose sonic aesthetic resonates with me. I would love to see how their brains work while they're creating.
Talk to us about the first song you’ve ever written.
I think technically the first song I ever wrote was a really cheesy r&b song that I made up in my head when I was in Junior High. The lyrics were really long run on sentences and there was zero song structure. The first official song that I recorded was a song called "Bing Bong Bing" that I made while I was in an audio engineering class. The only instrumentation included a shaker and an ocarena, and it was 6 minutes long. 6 minutes of straight up shaker and ocarena haha!
Where does performing bring you?
It allows for a type of release that I can't get anywhere else. I'm generally a pretty shy person that struggles with extreme anxiety, so social situations can be difficult. Performing allows me to tap into this authentic and raw place where I'm able to release this special energy and connect with people in a very real way.
Name 5 songs that always keep you going.
1. Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody
2. Kim Petras - Heart To Break
3. Carly Rae Jepsen - No Drug Like Me
4. Missy Elliot feat. Ciara - Lose Control
5. Chaka Kahn - Ain't Nobody
What are your thoughts about social media and the constant evolution of technology?
I have a lot of thoughts!! Social media increases the visibility of LGBTQ+ people and there is a wonderful building of community (Gay Twitter is the best!). I think for musicians, it can be a nice way to connect with people from all over the world and a potential way for your music to be reached by more humans. But it can also negatively impact mental health as people are constantly comparing their lives to what they see online. Which often times is a fantasy, as there's a desire to present life a certain way. We are living in a time where there's constant connection in the palm of our hands, yet it can still feel really alienating as people rarely talk to strangers IRL. And I think with the desire to present life a certain way online, it can make reality outside of the internet seem kind of warped.
As a woman, how have your experiences shaped your sound?
To be honest, I've never really thought about how my gender could potentially influence the way my music sounds. I think maybe some of the lyrical content can be gender specific, but as far as the sounds themselves...I would like to think of them as being non-binary :) I became really interested in synthesizers and analog hardware several years ago as I became drawn to the idea of shaping sounds and how that can affect emotions on a deeply personal level. With the ability to shape sounds, you can create unique sonic worlds and emotional environments that people can interpret individually based on their own experiences.
Can you briefly tell us about FEMMEHOUSE and what's your motivation and goal for this project?
FEMMEHOUSE is an educational platform created to address the lack of representation and equity in electronic music by empowering womxn to learn the language of the studio. The driving force behind FEMMEHOUSE is LP Giobbi (of Sofi Tukker's Animal Talk Collective). I will be teaching a free workshop series this Summer/Fall. The first workshop will be taking place at Ableton's studio in LA and the subsequent workshops will be at IO Music Academy in Hollywood. My ultimate goal for teaching with FEMMEHOUSE is to help create a safe and supportive space for womxn to learn music production tools and to empower them as creatives and producers.
Overall, what would you like to achieve for this passion of yours?
I want to be able to connect to people through my music and to help build a community that empowers womxn as producers, engineers, etc.
Follow Mini Bear on Instagram.