A singer songwriter invested in the power of music as a means by which to advocate, to voice, to care and to heal.
Lauren Monroe is an accomplished musician, healer, noted author, and speaker. As a globally recognized advocate for mental health awareness, PTSD therapies, Suicide Prevention and Crises Healing, these themes are echoed in her music, which have been featured in a global streaming benefit concert, New York Fashion Week Runway, and several award- winning independent films such as Wild Horses and Renegades, Spirit Riders and Horse Medicine.
Profound and life-changing experiences have allowed this Artist to mirror love and compassion into healing and into her music: the soul nourishing power of music to help us face adversity.
MESSAGES FROM APHRODITE, Lauren Monroe’s third album—and her second in collaboration with acclaimed producer Jim Scott—widens the aperture opened by its predecessor, 2021’s Under the Wolf Moon, bringing her musical and spiritual vision into even sharper focus. The title, which references the ancient Greek goddess of love in its myriad aspects, signifies the emotional expanse of Monroe’s songs, to which she brings a rarefied degree of insight and compassion, enabling her to nimbly plumb the depths and scale the heights of the human condition in her songwriting.
That may sound like a tall order, but Monroe is singularly well-equipped to handle it. The New York-born, California-based polymath conducts parallel careers as a gifted singer-songwriter and a renowned mental-health advocate. She approaches these intertwined roles with equal passion, her nuanced understanding of human behavior informing her music, which she sees as “a heart-based experience” that is “not just about listening—it’s about feeling and connecting.”
Scott, who’s worked with more than his share of legends over the years, bears witness to Monroe’s alchemy. “Lauren is a special artist,” he asserts. “She’s tuned in to the spiritual workings of the heart and the mystical nature of the universe. She’s an empath, a healer, a teacher, visual artist, producer and songwriter; I also think she’s a time-traveler. Her songs guide, direct and uplift and are sonically beautiful.”
Monroe draws on her deep well of accrued knowledge in her songs, which she delivers in a luminous alto that resonates with empathy. Her experiential lyrics, emotionally authentic and free of pretense, are embedded in vibrant folk-rock settings, immediate in their impact and timeless in their sound.
The buoyant roots rockers “Kiss Me Now” and “Dream Again,” the lilting shuffle “Beautiful World” and “If You Want,” with its old-school Americana groove and splash of Southern soul, would slide seamlessly into a 1970s playlist featuring Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. The unmistakable parallels between rock’s halcyon days and Monroe’s music are rooted in her neoclassic songcraft, replete with ecstatic, harmony-laden chorus hooks and imbued with the unfettered joy of being alive and in the moment.
Monroe wrote “Kiss Me Now,” the lead single, in a matter of minutes, as if it had been beamed down to her gift-wrapped. “The message of the song,” says Lauren, “is kiss the person you love now, because as we all know, life is very unpredictable and there’s no guarantee that they’ll always be there. So it’s a celebratory song that reminds us to be grateful and to never take our time together for granted.”
“Big Love Lullaby,” a gentle reimagining of one of Under the Wolf Moon’s linchpin songs, serves as a bridge between the companion-piece LPs. “A ballad version of ‘Big Love’ wasn’t something I premeditated,” Monroe acknowledges, “but a whisper can sometimes reach into the heart deeper than an exclamation. This new version has the same words and meaning as the original, but it’s a more intimate expression that came from a moment of reflection, as I sang the words to myself: ‘Everybody’s fine living in anger/From sunset to dawn, we’re taking it home.’”
The songs are enlivened by Scott’s deft sonic sculpting of song-serving performances from a stable of thoroughbreds. These simpatico players include guitarists Greg Leisz (k.d. lang, Matthew Sweet, Bill Frisell), Tyler Bryant (Larkin Poe, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown), Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakam), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, Nora Jones, Keith Richards, John Mayer) and David Garza (Fiona Apple, Watkins Family Hour), who also plays vibes on one track; bassists Bob Glaub (Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon), Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) and Mai Leisz (David Crosby), keyboardist John Ginty (Neal Casal, the Allman Betts Band); and backing vocalist Tammi Brown (Bobby McFerrin, Quincy Jones). Def Leppard’s Rick Allen—Monroe’s husband and frequent collaborator—the Heartbreakers’ Steve Ferrone and young dynamo Beth Goodfellow (Iron and Wine, Allison Russell) anchor the proceedings from behind their drumkits.
Scott is proud of what they’ve accomplished together. “All the incredible musicians on the project brought our vision to life and helped create wonderful pieces of music that speak to the heart and soul,” he says.
Monroe and Scott met in 2018, after the manager of one of the producer’s clients caught her performing at Hollywood’s Hotel Café. Impressed by her songs and singing, she approached Monroe after the set and offered to hook her up with Scott. Monroe was aware of Scott from his work with Tom Petty, one of her favorite artists, and when they met, they immediately clicked.
Their ongoing studio collaboration has been—and continues to be—enormously fruitful, yielding not only the two albums but a number of additional tracks too inviting to be categorized as mere outtakes. “Since we first got together, I’ve been sending Jim iPhone demos of songs as I write them. So now we have an abundance of tracks, and I’m thinking of releasing some of them as singles in 2023—songs that didn’t fit on the new album because they’re so rocking or outside of the box that they’d throw off the balance.”
Those outtakes must really kick ass, given the visceral impact of the hardest-hitting tracks on Messages From Aphrodite, notably an electrifying rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Can’t Let Go” and Monroe’s smoldering “Void of Course”; both are powered by Allmans-style double drumming from Allen and Goodfellow and topped off by Monroe’s urgent vocals. The latter track derives its Physical Graffiti-like exoticism from the droning of a djembe played by Monroe, further deepened by the bowed cello and upright bass of Steve Uccello and lightning-flash guitar riffs of Tyler Bryant. These sounds deepen the mood of the astrology-inspired lyric—“void of course” is a term that refers to the moon’s transition away from one planet and toward another, functioning as a metaphor for disconnection.
Interestingly, each of these songs examines the push-and-pull of a romantic relationship turned toxic that nonetheless continues to hold a seductive grip on its protagonist. Indeed, the need to let go of what Monroe describes as “unhealthy narratives about ourselves” in a quest to “see ourselves clearly, accepting our imperfections and humanness” is one of the album’s overarching themes.
Another is easing the pain of loss, which Monroe addresses directly in the elegiac ballads “Sparrow” and “Gold.” “Most of the songs I write are empathetic, but ‘Sparrow’ specifically concerns dealing with grief,” she says. “That’s also what ‘Gold’ is about. During the pandemic, I kept hearing about families unable to be with their loved ones—husbands and wives, parents and siblings—as they spent their last days on a ventilator and died in a hospital bed, completely alone. In those horrible circumstances, the pain is overwhelming. So when I wrote this song, I cried with them—every person who had to say goodbye over the phone. Because from my experience the only way to get through the pain of loss is to experience it deeply with love and support, not run away from it. To me, music has always been a way through, a guide, a messenger from the other side.”
When Monroe and Scott were brainstorming outside material that echoed the messages of her own songs, she immediately thought of Jane Siberry’s “Calling All Angels,” whose narrator seeks divine intervention in hopes of coming to terms with heartbreak. “If you could/Do you think you would trade it all/All the pain and suffering?” Siberry asks. “But then you’d miss the beauty of the light upon this earth/And the sweetness of the leaving.”
“I’ve taught hundreds of healing workshops over the years, and ‘Calling All Angels’ is one of the songs I always use,” Monroe points out. “Jane Siberry is a very theatrical singer, and I wanted to put my own spin on it—give it a more rootsy feel. But by putting it on the record, I also wanted to show people what an incredible songwriter she is.”
“My Love” dates back to Monroe’s debut album, 2008’s The Freedom Sessions, a family affair produced by Allen five years after they married. Americana mainstay Stoll Vaughan, who co-wrote the song with Lauren, plays acoustic and electric guitar on this shimmering new take, which features evocative pedal steel accents from Greg Leisz. She was inspired to write the lyric after Rick went on tour. “He’d left his boots by the front door,” she recalls. “I sat on the stairway taking in the feeling and questioned what I would do if he didn’t come home.
“My mind then went to the hearts of military spouses and families of soldiers who are in combat far away from home; how strong they need to be to live without certainty of the person they love coming back to them. The lyrics came with a strong sense of the silent strength that nature gives me, the connection to something greater, so that I can carry on and move forward in the face of tragedy with openness and purpose.”
Monroe brings increased awareness of issues like this one not only with her words but with her actions. Earlier this year, she and Allen played some intimate East Coast club dates during which they also displayed their mixed-media art, which was then auctioned online to benefit the couple’s Raven Drum Foundation, whose mission is to serve, educate and empower veterans dealing with PTSD and combat trauma, people in crisis and other at-risk individuals.
And in 2021, she staged the first Big Love Benefit Concert, which featured performances by Billy Idol, Wynonna Judd and the Allman Betts Band, among others. Proceeds from the event, which brought financial and mental-health support to music-industry professionals affected by the pandemic, were donated to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
“Being of service is a way of helping yourself as well,” she reflects. “And the healing power of music is profound. Everything I do is part of a journey of healing.”
At a time in which the music industry is reeling from the loss of touring and live performance leaving career musicians and music industry workers to struggle through this crisis while facing unprecedented loss of work. Lauren Monroe and husband Rick Allen of Def Leppard hosted a global virtual benefit concert with all proceeds benefitting the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund which provides financial assistance to musicians in need. On January 23, 2021 the first Big Love Benefit Concert aired providing immediate financial and emotional health assistance to career musicians and industry workers. Performances by Rick Allen, Lauren Monroe, Wynonna Judd, Billy Idol, Bret Michaels, Matt Sorum, Allman Betts and others resulted in an extraordinary concert. The Big Love EP, BIG LOVE VIDEO by Lauren Monroe, and for which the benefit concert is named, was released over the summer during the first Covid-19 lockdowns, performed at New York Fashion Week 2020, and is a significant track on “Under the Wolf Moon” LP released in July.
Nov 15 » Jimmys in Portsmouth NH
Nov. 13 » Boston, MA City Winery Boston w/ Rick Allen
Nov 11 » City Winery, Montgomery, NY Lauren Monroe W/ Hall Of Fame Drummer Rick Allen + Cheyenne Elliott
Oct 23 » Lauren Monroe – In Conversation » Carmel, CA
October 6 » Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole (with Rick Allen)
October 5 » Boulder, CO – Chautauqua Assembly House (with Rick Allen)
October 1 » Monterey, CA – Monterey County Fairgrounds
September 25th » Venice, CA – The Venice West (with Rick Allen)
September 22nd » Gala performance benefiting GenerateHope at Birch Aquarium – LaJolla, CA
September 19th » Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall
September 10th » The Old Church Portland
September 7th » Triple Door Seattle
May 23rd » The Lounge, Nashville TN
March 21st » NYC City Winery (the Loft)
March 22nd » The Lounge at World Cafe Live -Philadelphia, PA
“Lauren is a story teller whose lyrics transsend into visual context. I can actually visualize the story of the song. Her music also brings a spiritual uplifting for the hurting soul. She is just amazing.”
Dr. S. Michael, Pikeville KY
“Beautiful talent and songs! I love the depth. I love what she sang about as I could connect to those times in my life. Beautiful, soulful voice.”
Sara C., San Diego CA
“The whole evening was very moving. Lauren is Strong. Beautiful. Spiritual. Creative. Tender and Fierce. .And Color of Snow rocked me. That is one incredible song.”
Cornelia H., Monterey CA
“Lauren Monroe’s music is captivating. I was immediately drawn into the lyrics and felt her heart and soul speaking to me. She’s emotionally attached to everything she sings and I couldn’t help myself and was brought to tears. I was also so happy to see her let loose and get lost in the happy songs. Her whole performance took me on an unexpected journey that I cannot wait to go on again.”
Jill C., Miami FL
“A little over a year ago Lauren Monroe and Rick Allen hosted an event for Wounded Warriors that featured a concert hosted by Lauren whom I had never seen perform in person. This was beyond a concert it was a coming together of people to share the common respect and understanding for our troops that came back from war not the way they left . This was not just someone getting up on stage and singing to us, Lauren pulled you into a place with her tales , lyrics and beautiful presentation that brought me to tears a few times.
I am a Viet Nam vet and since I returned fifty years ago I have never listened to a person with such passion that shows she really cares for all the wounded soldiers mentally or physically ;to me this was the WELCOME HOME I never experienced because of the protest. Lauren’s music is gentle and soothing that gave me comfort like some sort of therapy while at the same time it expressed the drive and determination she has to make sure all the wounded heal at least mentally . ”
Jon A., Monterey CA
“Attending Lauren’s performance at Folktale Winery in Carmel, we were entranced by her vocal presence for the very first time. Lauren’s rich, gorgeous voice envelopes and guides the listener towards healing and feeling welcome in her presence. The lyrics for The Color of Snow, Blaze, My Love, Love Won’t Let Me Down prove there can be beauty in the ashes of our lives. She is surrounded by amazing musician’s and background vocals which results in a powerful journey that brings forth empowerment and hope each time her songs are listened to. Having the honor of knowing two of the musicians in the Color of Snow recording personally, the level of synergy and talent her band brings is a beautiful foundation for her voice to transcend and send a strong message of love and hope to the listener. No matter the genre one listens to, Lauren’s music is worth exploring and adding to your playlist!”
Marta F., Salinas, CA
“A refreshing and energetic mix of rock and soulful ballads await you when listening to Lauren. She sings from the heart and touches your soul.”
Stephen P., Middle Island NY
Lauren Monroe’s music is a gift to the soul! Her lyrics are infused with compassion, insight, and empathy for the human condition. Her songs are soulful, rich, and timeless. Her voice is the sound we didn’t know we were waiting for, a clarion call for the new decade. And she is one hell of a fantastic performer!
Tom C., Kirklyn, PA
“My wife and I went to Lauren’s show not knowing what to expect. We were totally blown away with Lauren and her bands performance. Laurens voice is something special and inspiring. We hope to see her again sometime soon. It was cool to see her husband Rick Allen banging on the drums with her as well! ”
Anthony G., Monterey, CA
“Lauren’s music always brings joy into my life, but seeing her live is inspirational! She commands deep attention, as her beautiful voice surrounds you with passion for everything in life. I love the styles of music she weaves into her songs and how the rhythms come alive through her strong connection with all the musicians on stage. I can’t wait for her next show!”
Laurie S. Redwood City, CA
“Lauren Monroe is making music for all the right reasons…. to spread Love….to teach….to heal……. to inspire. Lauren is a very versatile songwriter. She writes in many different styles and creates really important songs that speak of humanity. She writes songs about everything from love to death to dancing to clouds. She takes you on a journey.
She is an emotional Artist and has taught me so much about passion in music. ”
“Spending a few hours randomly playing music on Soundcloud on a lazy Sunday, I stumbled upon Lauren Monroe. Wow! This is a spectacular new artist who I’ve never heard about until now. Listening to this sneak preview of her new Ep ‘Big Love”.. slated for release in the summer of 2020, I was entranced, surprised and seduced by the unexpected musical treasures unveiled. “Everybody’s fine living in anger, from sunset to dawn they’re taking it to home” sings Lauren Monroe on “Big Love,” the transcendent opening track on her new album, whose powerful message reverberates, hits hard and stays with us long after the song is over, capturing the current zeitgeist and how we navigate these troubled times in hopes of a an all-encompassing big love to overcome hate and division and be our savior.”