"Atone" has the attitude of a pop song with the depth of a ballad | photo by Ashley Rose Stanol

Up-and-coming Charleston pop artist Laurlyn has loved music since her early days as a student of classical piano in Colorado Springs, but she wasn’t always interested in the pop genre. 

In fact, Laurlyn originally created alt-rock tunes, but felt she wasn’t hitting her stride. “I kind of always had the dream of putting out my own music, but wasn’t ever really happy with my songwriting and what I was coming up with,” she said.

It was after meeting pop-focused musicians at The Contemporary Music Center in Nashville during her last semester of college that Laurlyn grew intrigued by the genre. “I fell in love with pop music and more specifically indie pop music, and I think I kind of was able to marry my love for alt rock with my love for pop music, and that sparked my style.”

Laurlyn moved to Charleston in 2017 and decided to focus on incorporating music-making into her life. “The pandemic happened, and kind of makes you take stock, like, ‘Hey, this is something I need to do,’” she said. She then connected with local producer Matt Tuton from Johns Island studio The Lab. “He was able to take my vision and run,” she said. 

Most of Laurlyn’s songs begin in front of her piano. “I really feel like [it] helps shape the direction of a song totally differently than it does from a guitar, and I think the emotions that I’m able to pull simply from sitting down and playing the piano really informs my writing,” she said. 

Lyrics come last, a method she prefers so that she can properly pair vowel sounds and phrase shapes with the structure of the song. “They are mostly inspired from personal life experiences, sometimes inspired by people close to me’s life experiences or other people’s stories,” she said.

In March, Laurlyn released her debut single, “Atone,” along with her first music video, shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by Toshi Jamang. “I originally wrote the song as kind of a response to what it feels like to work in customer facing roles,” she said. “I felt like I was constantly put in the position of needing to atone for sins that didn’t exist.”

While the piano makes up the bones of the track, Laurlyn worked with Tuton at The Lab to give it a pop edge. The result is a song that is pop in its beat and attitude with the depth of a ballad and a layer of retro quirk added by the synth. 

Laurlyn’s lush, soulful vocals stand out on “Atone,” soaring through an addictive melody that came to her in a dream. 

“I was fortunate enough that I could remember it when I woke up,” she said.

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