The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Guitarist and Singer, Laura Clapp
By Lina Bhambhani
Growing up in Connecticut, Laura Clapp started her music craft as a young child where she wrote her very first song at the age of 11. After graduating in 2001 from Berklee College of Music where she taught herself the guitar and created her first album Where Are You Going?, Clapp moved to Nashville, where she was able to network with some of the most prestigious writers in Music City. After creating her second acoustic album, Simply, Clapp toured America with the support of CD sales and fans.
Clapp’s career did not stop growing there. As she made more connections, she eventually became a backup vocalist for Howard Jones and was able to travel across the U.S. as well as internationally to countries such as Japan, Europe and Australia.
Clapp is also a well-known musical instrument product demonstrator and marketer, and spent years sharing the hottest products and tips for effects and audio manufacturer, TC-Helicon. She has been seen on many YouTube videos and has gained over 1 million views to date.
Her bubbly, passionate, and thriving personality as a singer and guitarist brought her to where she is today. Recently, at Summer NAMM 2016, she demonstrated effects for Roland at their trade show booth. Check out her video below.
Clapp now currently lives in her hometown in Guildford, CT. where she is happily married with two beautiful daughters. With her family she is still able to promote her music nationwide and is excited to build her fan base internationally. Check out her interview below to find out more about Clapp’s upcoming projects and how she became part of the music industry.
Learn more about Laura Clapp at www.lauraclapp.com.
WiMN: When did you start singing and what made you want to get into the music industry?
LC: I’ve been singing all of my life, but I really developed a love for it when I was 10. I landed my first solo in the select choir in school and I was hooked. As far as wanting to get into the industry, that probably came when I began playing for people more regularly – either in my living room or in venues – and saw that people responded to my music. I loved that and realized I wanted to learn more about how to fine tune my voice as well as my writing.
WiMN: Who influenced you the most throughout your career and why?
LC: Throughout my career, my family has been my biggest influence. From the beginning when it was my parents to today where it is more my husband and girls, I’ve always drawn heavily on their input and support to keep me motivated and focused.
WiMN: You write, sing, and play guitar and piano. Does creating music just come naturally to you? What has been your biggest challenge musically?
LC: This answer really depends on the day. There are certain times where I’ll be inundated with ideas and then other times when I am screaming for ideas to come and they just won’t. When this scenario happens, I have learned to just give myself some time to let it come naturally. Any time I’ve forced music, it has usually not ended well.
As far as creating music, that came naturally as my piano skills started to improve. The two – melody and piano – went hand in hand for a long time, but now I often find the melody strikes me first.
WiMN: How did you get into being a product demonstrator? Did you ever encounter any challenging situations, as so few women follow this path?
LC: I was offered a job as a demonstrator thanks to a wonderful woman named Lori Maier. She is the founder of Chick Singer Night, the longest running showcase for women. I was co-directing the Nashville chapter of CSN at the time and her husband was looking for a female demonstrator to showcase the VoiceLive at the 2006 NAMM show. Lori put my name into the mix and the next thing I knew, I had two weeks to learn and develop a demo for a wildly complicated vocal processor.
TC-Helicon liked what I did, so they hired me as their full time product specialist. From there, I traveled the world for the company. This led to some interesting situations like setting up and tearing down booths with my bare hands, fighting off the not-so-subtle advances of sales reps and customers, and constantly assuring people I really actually knew what I was doing and could physically carry my guitar/plug in the processor/sing/etc.
WiMN: What is your favorite thing about being part of the music industry?
LC: My favorite part of the music industry is the feeling of community. Everyone knows each other. That can be a good thing and a bad thing, but for the most part it’s amazing. I’m always overwhelmed by how many familiar faces I see at trade shows and industry events.
WiMN: Since you’re so involved with gear, tell us about your go to gear setup and how it’s served you when you perform or record.
LC: My go-to mic when playing live is a Shure Beta 58, although a KSM9 would be a dream. As far as effects, I like to switch it up, but I’m never without a looper of some shape or form. For keys, I play a Casio Privia which I adore because it’s lightweight, plays like a dream and sounds killer. My guitar is a Yairi WY1K that feels great in my hands and doesn’t dwarf me.
As far as recording, I love that today there is so much flexibility. For example, the interface I’ve been using for the past 6 years died out of the blue the other day. Instead of running out and buying a new interface, I’m able to use one of my vocal processors as my mic pre and then add post effects directly from Logic until I can find a replacement. Crisis averted!
WiMN: Do you have any upcoming projects, events, or tours you’d like to share?
LC: I am always working on something. At this point, it’s a new album. I’ve got so many songs that I’m dying to share, I just need a little more time and a lot more money. Hey, that sounds like a song!
WiMN: Can you share any advice for those who are trying to make it in the industry…
LC: My advice to anyone joining this crazy family called the music industry is to hang in there and don’t be afraid to reach outside of your comfort zone to try new things – like demonstrating. Every gig you take has the potential to lead to bigger and better opportunities you would never think to try.
Keep pushing. Keep writing. Keep practicing and learning. And don’t let anyone tell you what does or does not constitute success. That is up to you!