Name: Lauren Zettler
Borough/Neighborhood: East Village
Tell us a little about your music and how your got started: I grew up in the Midwest, taking voice and piano lessons. I was a terribly shy kid, though, so I never really anticipated this becoming my career, even though in my heart of hearts, it was definitely at the top of my list of dream jobs. I decided to continue music after high school and went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I studied music business and got a job working for Universal Music Group immediately after graduation. I really wanted to try and make a decent living in the music industry and I thought that would be the best way. I was there for a little while, and got really unhappy. I woke up one day and decided to stop being scared and do what I really wanted to do. So I quit.
And now I’m a musician, full-time. There’s no turning back. I got a tattoo of a Brandi Carlile lyric that reads “I have seen your nine-to-fives wash away your dreams.” I refuse to be a hypocrite, so I can never go back. 🙂
Your favorite place to practice or create new songs: I’m a big fan of coming home to Indiana. Don’t get me wrong – the city is great for inspiration and accessibility and creativity. But sometimes it’s just too loud. When I come home to Indiana for a few weeks at a time, I can sit in the peace and quiet and work for ten hours straight. It’s harder to do that in a small Manhattan apartment. Especially when you have roommates. Between visits home, however, I generally sit in my room and write. Sometimes I sit in my ridiculously small closet, so I can be somewhere dark and quiet and let my mind calm down and things start to come out.
Any upcoming gigs we should know about? December 2, 9pm, Rockwood Music Hall. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this venue. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you MUST.
Who are you currently listening to? Any local bands/musicians? My favorite thing to do is turn on my iPod and randomly shuffle through the 4,000 plus songs I have on there. I can’t get enough of this band from Asheville, NC called Arizona. I think they spend time in Brooklyn, too. (They have a CD release party at Cake Shop on Nov. 7). And Fleet Foxes! I love them. They’re out of Seattle, I think. Elizabeth & the Catapult are an awesome Brooklyn band – also from Berklee.
Favorite shop(s) in the neighborhood: I’m a big fan of food. Babycakes and their vegan desserts are a weekly habit of mine. Their chocolate chip cookies are bad news, man.
Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: Mercadito. BEST FISH TACOS EVER. Get the estilo baja.
Little known fact about your neighborhood: Everyone always marvels at the black squirrels over by Stuyvesant Town. I guess I had never seen one before either, but it’s like you’re introducing them to a new species or something when they see one for the first time.
Favorite Watering Hole: I guess I frequent the Crocodile Lounge most. I don’t know if it’s because I’m lazy or if it’s because I’m not really sure if you can beat free pizza with every beer.
Best pizza in your hood: Hands down, a lot of people will tell you the Artichoke Basille, on 14th street, is the best. There is always a line out the door. I’m more of a vegan/vegetarian eater, however, and really like Cafe Viva on 2nd Ave.
If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene: I think it would definitely be a NYC neighborhood. The West Village is where I want to end up. It is so quaint, so beautiful, and you can easily find a few quiet streets. So I’d say if I could choose any neighborhood, it would be that one. I wonder what that says about me?
Any advice for the kids out there interested in singing? I am always the first one to say that you have to do what you love. Forget about money, forget about stability, forget about probability. Everything falls into place if you are doing what you truly want to do, and anything is possible. And there’s really no way to prove that – you just have to do it. It’s the scariest thing, but that’s how you know it’s the most worth-while. And definitely the most rewarding. Sorry for the Hallmark moment, haha. But it’s all true, I promise.
Alright, what is your all time favorite monster and/or horror movie? Hm, I’m not too knowledgeable about anything campy or cult in that genre – but I will say that The Shining is a freaking scary and brilliant film. Jack Nicholson is monster enough for me in that one.
[Photos by Clay Marjory]