Lauren O'Connell

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Lauren O'Connell
Lauren o'connell troubador.jpg
Background information
Birth nameLauren O'Connell
BornDecember 10, 1988 (age 30)
GenresFolk, alt-country
Occupation(s)Singer/songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, banjo, bass, drums, piano, harmonica
Years active2005-present
Associated actsMy Terrible Friend, Nataly Dawn, Jack Conte, Pomplamoose, Julia Nunes, Shayna O'Connell

Lauren O'Connell (born December 10, 1988) is an American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Rochester, New York. She began uploading videos of herself performing original songs on YouTube soon after releasing her debut album Sitting in Chairs in 2007. Her first videos were simple one takes with just a guitar, but they soon progressed to layered harmonies and accompaniment, usually with O'Connell playing all of the instruments herself. Her organic songs inspired from earnest reckonings and reflection are delivered in a musical style that combines elements of folk music, bluegrass, country and americana. She has independently released four solo albums, and two EP as a duo with Nataly Dawn under the group name My Terrible Friend. After 4 years kept hush, she returns with ‘Details’ released in February  2018 – "an album as ambitious as it is strident in its solitary ruminations on love lost and circadian bloom."[1][2][3][4][5][6]


O'Connell's music career began after coming across her father's old guitar in the basement one day when she was thirteen. After learning a few chords from her dad and messing around with the guitar for a while, she got serious about playing and began taking lessons, writing her first song by the age of fifteen.[7] After spending some time playing coffeehouse shows, in 2007 O'Connell went to Saxon Recording in Rochester, New York at the suggestion of a friend and recorded her debut album Sitting in Chairs. She recorded the entire album acoustic in one day.[8]

Shortly after releasing Sitting in Chairs O'Connell began attending Binghamton University.[9][10] Throughout her first year she continued to write and perform. She performed many shows with her best friend Julia Nunes. In late 2008, she decided to leave school and pursue music full-time. She then began recording her follow-up album The Shakes, which was released in early 2009. During the summer of 2009, O'Connell met Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose when they came to New York to produce Nunes' I Think You Know EP. After deciding that she wanted a change of scenery in early 2010, O'Connell moved to Rohnert Park, California, where she moved in with Conte and Dawn.[11] A few months after moving to California she and Dawn began a collaboration called My Terrible Friend.[12] The duo recorded an EP titled Room for Ghosts in their home studio and released it through iTunes and their Myspace page on July 7, 2010.[13][14] On July 20, 2010 O'Connell and Dawn were featured on the YouTube homepage for Music Tuesday, both individually and as My Terrible Friend.

YouTube and shows outside of the US[edit]

Though O'Connell's fanbase was initially centered on the local area where she performed, the use of social media such as Myspace and YouTube videos exposed her music to a much wider audience. Through these sites she has gained fans in many countries and, as evidenced by the comments on her Myspace page and YouTube channel, given them a forum to request shows throughout America and in their respective countries. Although most of her shows have been in America, she has played a few outside of the country. In April 2009 she was scheduled to play two free shows in London, but was detained by Customs and forced to cancel them. Customs agents allowed her to leave and stay the night with a friend, but deported her the next day.[15] On November 8, 2009 she played with Pomplamoose at the wedding of Take That member Mark Owen and English actress Emma Ferguson in Cawdor Church, Scotland.[16][17] Ferguson, a fan of Rufus Wainwright, discovered Nataly Dawn's cover of Wainwright's song "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" and invited Dawn to play the song at the wedding. She then discovered Pomplamoose and O'Connell and Dawn's "The Daylight Here" and invited Jack Conte and O'Connell to play as well. On September 3, 2010 O'Connell, Dawn, and Julia Nunes played a free show for students of Dawson College at the Le National Bar in Montreal. The show was hosted by the Dawson Student Union. Each played solo sets and in various combinations. It was O'Connell and Dawn's first performance as My Terrible Friend.[18]

Mountain Stage Newsong Contest[edit]

In September 2010 O'Connell was chosen as the West Regional Winner of the 2010 Mountain Stage Newsong Contest. On October 22, 2010 she joined eleven other finalists from across America and Canada at Arts World Financial Center's Wintergarden in New York City for the Award Round performance competition and an opportunity to record an EP with Grammy winning producer Jacquire King.[19][20]


On December 14, 2010, O'Connell announced that she was raising money to record a new album and was working with Pledgemusic in order to give fans an opportunity to help fund studio time, with the goal of being in the studio sometime in January 2011. In return for pledging O'Connell decided to include personalized merchandise ranging from autographed CDs and T-shirts, handwritten lyrics, and hand-drawn artwork to house concerts, her personal iPod filled with music, and even grocery shopping or mini-golf with the pledger when she comes to their city for a show.[21] The project was set for a sixty-day pledge period, however, fan pledges exceeded the target amount in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest Pledgemusic project ever to reach its goal. One week later she added more of the incentives that sold out quickly as well as new incentives like the harmonicas she uses for her videos and albums, a Photoshop vacation photo with the pledger, and a volleyball painted with the pledger's face in the style of "Wilson" from the movie Cast Away, joking that her New Year's resolution was to make progressively weirder arts and crafts.[22] The project raised 268% of the original goal by the time it concluded on February 14, 2011.[23]


Sitting in Chairs[edit]

O'Connell's debut album was recorded at Saxon Recording in Rochester, New York in early 2007. Sitting in Chairs was recorded in just one day, single-tracked with an acoustic guitar.[24]

Track List

  1. Sitting in Chairs
  2. Levers and Gears
  3. Good Intentions
  4. My Equations
  5. I'm All Talk
  6. Chimney Smoke
  7. Just Be
  8. All the Perching Crows
  9. Somewhere in Between
  10. There Will Be

The Shakes[edit]

O'Connell's second album was recorded in late 2008 in Rochester, New York at GFI Music. It was released in early 2009. Unlike her previous album, The Shakes features accompaniment, including horns, strings, and piano.

Track List

  1. From Chambers, Slow
  2. Chicken Wire
  3. The Pilot
  4. Things I Panic About
  5. I Don't Mind
  6. Bystander
  7. Oncoming Traffic
  8. 1988
  9. Sweet Lament
  10. Tangled Up Kites


On January 25, 2012, O'Connell announced via her website that she would be releasing a new album on March 2.[25] Quitters was produced by O'Connell and engineered & mixed by Oz Fritz at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, CA.[26]

Track list

  1. Every Space
  2. I Will Burn You Down
  3. I Belong To You
  4. Things Are Alright
  5. If Found/Gravity
  6. What Breaks (and What Doesn't)
  7. Maybe True Stories
  8. The Same Things
  9. In The Next Room
  10. White Noise

Room for Ghosts[edit]

In the summer of 2010 O'Connell collaborated with her roommate Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose and the duo released Room for Ghosts as My Terrible Friend in July 2010. The five track EP was recorded in their home studio and includes three original songs, as well as covers of "Diamonds and Gold" by Tom Waits and "Holy Roller Novocaine" by Kings of Leon.

Track list

  1. When I Decide
  2. Diamonds and Gold
  3. Holy Roller Novocaine
  4. The Daylight Here
  5. Dying to Live

Singles, covers, and guest appearances[edit]

Between albums O'Connell has released individual original songs and covers, some as both downloads and videos and some as videos only. Her cover of "House of the Rising Sun" was featured on the promos for American Horror Story's third season, Coven. On November 19, 2009 she won the Grand Opinion video contest held by singer/songwriter AM with her video cover of his song "Grand Opinion" and was featured the next day on the Filter magazine website for the contest win.[27][28] She has also made guest appearances in songs and videos with other YouTube artists. Though she generally uses traditional instruments in her songs, O'Connell has sometimes used unconventional means when recording, including waterglasses, a metal tool cabinet, kicks to a garage door, a tennis racket covered in change, and even a deck of playing cards.[29][30]


  1. In The Trees
  2. It Wasn't You
  3. What Breaks (And What Doesn't)
  4. The Same Things (feat. Julia Nunes)
  5. White Noise
  6. Maybe True Stories
  7. I Belong to You (with Ryan Lerman)


  1. The Devil is Real- Felice Brothers
  2. Marry Song (with Carly Morgan)- Band of Horses
  3. I'm on Fire- Bruce Springsteen
  4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart- Wilco
  5. Flint (with Aaron Celentano)- Sufjan Stevens
  6. Grand Opinion- AM
  7. O Death- Traditional Song
  8. The Way I Feel Inside- The Zombies
  9. The One I Love Is Gone- Bill Monroe
  10. All I Have to Do is Dream- Everly Brothers
  11. House of the Rising Sun- Traditional Song


  1. Couches in My Head- Benjamin Jameson Morey
  2. I Was Very Small in Her Stomach- Benjamin Jameson Morey
  3. Bubbly (Colbie Caillat cover)- Julia Nunes
  4. It's The End of the World As We Know It (R.E.M. Cover)- Julia Nunes


  1. ^ "PREMIERE: Lauren O'Connell Spies The Details - Lemonade Magazine". Lemonade Magazine. 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  2. ^ "Premiere: Lauren O'Connell - Build Yourself | Folk Radio". Folk Radio UK - Folk Music Magazine. 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  3. ^ "Week in Pop: Fat Tony, Generifus, Tape Deck Mountain - Chatter - Impose Magazine". Impose Magazine. 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  4. ^ "Album Review: Lauren O'Connell - 'Details'". When The Horn Blows. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  5. ^ "Nataly Dawn & Lauren O'Connell – Tickets – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – November 15th, 2016 | The Chapel". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  6. ^ "Premiere: Lauren O'Connell New EP – 'Details' Stream – Skope Entertainment Inc". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  7. ^ "An Interview with Lauren O'Connell". January 31, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  8. ^ De Blase, Frank (July 24, 2007). "SINGER/SONGWRITER: Lauren O'Connell's Sweet Lament". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  9. ^ "Artists/Lauren O'Connell". The Drive. August 2, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  10. ^ De Blase, Frank (July 24, 2007). "SINGER/SONGWRITER: Lauren O'Connell's Sweet Lament". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  11. ^ Lucas, Dan (October 8, 2010). "Introducing... Lauren O'Connell". Noise!Noise!Noise. Retrieved 2010-12-14.[dead link]
  12. ^ Fallows, James (July 26, 2010). "Pomplamoose --> My Terrible Friend". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  13. ^ "My Terrible Friend- NEW BAND with Nataly Dawn". July 13, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  14. ^ "Room for Ghosts – EP My Terrible Friend". July 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  15. ^ Lucas, Dan (October 8, 2010). "Introducing... Lauren O'Connell". Noise!Noise!Noise. Retrieved 2010-12-14.[dead link]
  16. ^ "Lauren O'Connell(panthergo)". November 9, 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  17. ^ "Take That's Mark Owen ties the knot". The Telegraph. November 8, 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  18. ^ "SHOW in Canada with Julia Nunes!!!". August 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  19. ^ "Mountain Stage Newsong Contest Announces 'Award Round' Finalists". news. October 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  20. ^ "Arts World Financial Center Press Release 96". Press Release. October 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  21. ^ "Help Me Make An Album". December 14, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  22. ^ "WTF!!!!!!". December 22, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  23. ^ "Lauren O'Connell: Help Lauren Make an Album". Pledgemusic. February 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  24. ^ De Blase, Frank (July 24, 2007). "SINGER/SONGWRITER: Lauren O'Connell's Sweet Lament". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  25. ^ O'Connell, Lauren. "House of the Rising Sun / New Album Pre-Sale". Lauren O'Connell. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  26. ^ Lauren, O'Connell. "Quitters". Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  27. ^ "Winner of Grand Opinion Video Contest: Lauren O'Connell". November 19, 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  28. ^ "Lauren O'Connell, Grand Opinion". November 20, 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  29. ^ "Wilco Cover- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart". July 30, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  30. ^ "AM Cover- Grand Opinion". November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-14.

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