Lauren Strahm / Fleurie
The name is French. The singer is American. And the music —a dreamy, cinematic pop sound that sweeps, swoons, and soars —creates its own geography.
On her new EP, Arrows, Fleurie balances herself between two different worlds: one, an organic place where pianos twinkle and vocals flutter; the other, a digital place where electronic drums, synthesizers and computer programming meet. It’s a sound that’s simultaneously human and electronic, simple and orchestral, poppy and artsy. Tying everything is Fleurie’s voice,the production of Matt Stanfield (Nashville keys session player – Kelly Clarkson, Kacey Musgraves, Norah Jones) and the mixing work of Dave Schiffman (Haim, Charli XCX, Active Child), who teamed up to frame Fleurie’s voice in layers of digital beats and synth pads.
Every artist has a past. For Fleurie — the musical moniker of singer/songwriter Lauren Strahm, who grew up in Canton, Michigan, before chasing the muse halfway across the globe and back – that past includes a childhood spent singing at church and studying classical piano, a handful of years dedicated to music-making in Australia and an eventual move to Nashville, where she landed a job writing songs for film and television. In 2013, she released Fear & Fable, a raw-sounding EP whose guitar- and piano-based songs were recorded in a friend’s living room. Afterwards, Fleurie began building her sound into something new, looking to artists like Coldplay and Imogen Heap — two acts whose music combines the organic with the electronic — for cues.
When it came time to record Arrows, Fleurie was happy to dismantle her songs — many of which she’d written during her stay in Sydney, Australia — and piece them back together again. Time signatures were changed. Pianos were swapped out for synthesizers. Arrangements worthy of the coffeehouse were replaced by production geared toward the arena. The goal was to highlight her melodies while still pushing the envelope. Working with Stanfield and session musicians like drummer Fred Eltringham (the Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks), she created an EP that tackles everyday concerns — the struggle to make a difference in life, the need to be loved, the pang of pain — in otherworldly ways. “Hope, Where Have You Gone” makes occasional use of a Vocoder, mixing Fleurie’s natural voice with a digitally-doctored counterpart, while “Fire In My Bones” rides a groove partially made by banging pots and pans.
A singer/songwriter who plays multiple instruments and co-produces her own material, Fleurie is an artist’s artist. She creates lush, layered music with a skeleton crew, and her songs mix mainstream-worthy melodies with arrangements that push creative boundaries. In other words, this songwriter isn’t chasing trends. She’s creating them.