Lauren Schusterich is the vocalist of Wildhoney, a five-piece shoegaze group from Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in Portland but moved to Baltimore to study jazz voice for college.
“I went to music school and that really neutered my creative spirit,” Lauren said. “I felt like everything I wrote was too simple and I couldn’t get past my self judgement so I wasn’t really making music for a few years after that.”
Just a couple months after graduating, she realized that singing cover songs in the background of a bar wasn’t the career she was hoping for.
She met Alan, the bassist of Wildhoney, at the bar where they worked and the two of them formed a Shangri-Las cover band.
Wildhoney had already been a playing shows in Baltimore for about a year when they began searching for a new vocalist because the original one was too busy to tour.
Alan suggested that Lauren audition for the part and when he showed the other members their Shangri-Las recordings, they agreed that her singing style was a great fit.
Wildhoney is the first musical project that Lauren has “taken seriously”. She writes all of their lyrics and often spends months agonizing over them before sharing them with the band.
She collects lyrical material when she is feeling low and writes about those feelings when she’s better. That way the “experiences have had time to crystalize,” Lauren said “and you can look back on them with more perspective.”
Although Lauren has attempted different styles of writing, she is most comfortable writing about what the things she understands best: heartache and depression.
“I tried writing about more fictional things but it never really clicked for me,” Lauren said.
During live shows, she uses an effects pedal to alter her voice. Her vocals meld with the music, making it difficult to understand what she is singing but despite spending so much time writing the lyrics, she finds comfort in the blanket of sound that covers them.
Sharing her lyrics with the audience is a vulnerable act.
“The fact that my lyrics are printed in a record sleeve makes me really uncomfortable,” Lauren said.