In 2017, Lara Andallo was 17 years old. That year, she released three singles recorded from her bedroom in Sydney. The project was a starting point, a way to test the waters and discern the kind of music she liked to play. She hadn’t even graduated high school yet.
The singles hinted at a musician on the brink of something great. Then earlier this month, Lara scrubbed the project from the Internet to make room for a single that’s a graduation from her early experiments. In two short years, Lara’s voice and vision has expanded. Her latest single ‘Confidential’, released August 7, is a hybrid of Aaliyah and Teyana Taylor. It’s self-reflective music but made for the club.
Lara’s a trained dancer. Growing up she attended the odd hip-hop class, and by 11 years old, she was learning all genres of dance. Her multi-disciplinary approach to dance is reflected in her music; a multi-instrumentalist, Lara is fluent in saxophone, violin, ukulele, guitar, and piano.
We caught up with her to chat learning the drums, dealing with difficult emotions, and what’s on the horizon for her music.
Hi Lara! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. First things first, congratulations on the new single! It’s been a few years since your debut EP Parallel Trigger—how does ‘Confidential’ differ from your earlier music?
Thank you! Damn, I mean that project was all very experimental, and it hasn’t been available anywhere for a while now. It was literally the first time I had ever brought my songs off the piano/guitar and into the production and recording phase, so it was really my introduction to the whole process. But over the past two years I’ve had the time to focus on discovering and refining my sound. My new single ‘Confidential’ shows that development and growth sonically, but also in my songwriting and in myself as a person. It really feels like my official debut, because it’s the first release where I’m really highlighting and owning who I am.
You’re a trained dancer. When did you start? What’s your favourite part about it? Are there any musician/dancers that you look up to?
Dance is really where I found my confidence, so it plays a huge part in who I am as a performer. I just think it’s crazy that you can connect and make people feel something without saying a word. I look up to so many artists for different reasons. Kehlani, Ciara, Tinashe, and DaniLeigh all use dance heavily in their live show and visuals, which I definitely want to do too. I also love H.E.R, Jhene Aiko, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill as writers and musicians!
I know that your latest single ‘Confidential’ came out of a really tough time for you. How do you cope during the tough times?
I cope with music! But for real, it was an interesting time for me: finishing high school and my Cert IV in dance, going straight into my second ankle surgery. I had to change lanes from doing dance full-time to music full-time while also losing friends and those toxic relationships. It felt like everything in my life kind of just flipped all at once. Music has always been that one thing that has never let me feel alone. Apart from music, being able to basically start fresh and only allow the right people and energy into my space has been huge for me. It’s a very empowering feeling to actually let yourself focus on your personal growth and get to know who you are again.
You grew up playing music—do you have a favourite instrument to play? What is it and why?
I’m actually focusing on drums at the moment, just cause it’s hella fun and I like the challenge. Nothing beats playing piano and singing though. Hearing jazz & R&B chords on the keys is perfection to me.
What have you been listening to/watching/reading lately?
I’ve had both ‘Be Honest’ By Jorja Smith ft. Burna Boy, and The Kid Laroi’s new joint ‘Winning’ literally on replay. I’ve also been relistening to some projects lately, like my favourite mixtape of all time, You Should Be Here by Kehlani, H.E.R’s self-titled project, and all things Russ tbh. I’m a huge nerd for self-development, so I’m always reading and listening to those types of books and podcasts. But I’m a massive sucker for reality TV too, so right now it’s the Bachelor lol.
I get the feeling you’re a big fan of cartoons… what were some of your favourites growing up?
Avatar: The Last Airbender was the shit. Also, Phineas and Ferb because they made me feel like I could literally do anything… most importantly, Perry the Platypus was the goat.
What’s the best part about the Sydney music scene?
In general, Australia has heaps of diversity, which means there’s so many different perspectives and stories to be told. The hip-hop scene in Sydney in particular has really been popping off and been represented lately, which has been dope to watch over the years. I feel like it’s starting to open the doors for other urban genres, like R&B, to have more of a spotlight. I’m excited to see how the R&B community grows locally!
What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
So much more music on the way! I’m just keen to keep connecting with the people who find both comfort and confidence in my music.
Listen to Lara’s new single ‘Confidential’ above and follow her here.