In a world where the gift of simply appreciating music seems to have been lost, it takes something extraordinary to capture the heart and the attention of listeners. Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk do just that. From captivating indie folk-pop melodies to an authentic and energetic performance, you’ll get drawn in to the music and won’t be let go anytime soon.
What began as a simple solo project in the summer of 2008 has, over time and travel, evolved into a powerful and dynamic folk-pop experience. Lauren Mann, the namesake and forerunner of Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, has brought an eclectic, passionate, and, as the name might give away, fairly odd group of musicians alongside her to bring greater instrumentation and dynamic to her captivating music.
Lauren’s start as a musician came long before she ever thought it as a viable career. Her parents enrolled her in classical piano lessons at the age of five, and she faithfully continued, reaching grade 8 Royal Conservatory, until it became tiresome and she found she was losing her love of playing. She ventured into jazz training and gained a refreshing perspective as well as a strong technical foundation.
After years of training, Lauren started looking for opportunities to play her own growing repertoire of music. She started with house concerts, local all-ages shows, and coffee shops, and as she became more connected in Calgary’s notable music scene, soon graduated to larger and more prolific venues, including the bi-monthly Market Collective and a Shot At The Dark showcase at the Cantos Music Foundation. In spring 2009, Lauren completed a four song EP with songs she recorded on her own, as well as some with local Calgary producer Andrew Hamill. A few months later she put out another self recorded EP and continued to sell these at shows.
As Lauren’s songwriting continued to develop, she wanted to reflect that in the live atmosphere with more instrumentation. She began collaborating with friends and formed, not a band, but more of a collective of transient artists that took her music to the next level. “I like seeing what other people, who are masters of their specific instrument, can bring to the songs I write. With such an ever-changing group, it means the songs are never the same. Not to mention that there’s such a greater energy with more people on stage that makes it so much fun.” One such friend that Lauren played with for a number of months came up with the idea of the Fairly Odd Folk, and although it was something of a joke, it stuck, and it now represents Lauren and her troupe of musicians.
In November 2010, Lauren did what many strive to but not many follow through with and decided to make music her full-time career with the release of a full length album “Stories From Home,” a compilation of the two EPs she had previously released as well as a three unreleased songs. She followed this release with the “All These Places Tour,” a debut solo tour that spanned 65 days from coast to coast with shows in every province. It was an intense and lengthy undertaking, but proved very successful and gave Lauren a foundation to build upon. In the following months she completed two more cross-Canada tours, one with British Columbia duo Reeves, and the next with Nashville duo Handsome and Gretyl, who, as well as opening for the shows, also played as part of the Fairly Odd Folk. These three Canadian tours, as well as a three-week tour throughout Denmark, all in the first year of doing music full-time, brought Lauren’s show count to just over 200. This wasn’t the only milestone reached; she also charted to the #1 folk album on Earshot for the month of December 2010, recorded a new album for release in Spring 2012 at The Vanguard Room in Lakeland, Florida with Aaron Marsh (formerly of Copeland), and was invited to play at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in July 2011 alongside such acts as City and Colour, Couer de Pirate, The Hollow Brethern, The Head and the Heart, Deep Dark Woods, and many more.
In her own words, “Music is a common ground. It allows you to connect with people you may never have been able to connect with otherwise. I love that. I want to make those connections wherever I go and learn people’s stories. That’s what inspires me.”
The future is bright for this young songstress and her team of “odd folk”. The connections that they’ve made with young and old across Canada, and the notice that they’ve been getting from industry professionals is taking them to new levels with their brand of indie folk-pop. This coming year sees Lauren and a more permanent band continuing to build on the foundation they’ve laid with more Canadian tours, the release of the aforementioned new record in the spring, and a debut American tour. With infectious music and a strong ambition on their side, Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk prove that they aren’t one to be forgotten any time soon.
“Lauren Mann along with her Fairly Odd Folk are lovely. Lovely to hear and lovely to work with. We enjoyed having them at the 2011 Calgary Folk Music Festival. From what I’ve seen, it looks like she’s at the beginning of a promising career.”
--Kenna Burima, Calgary Folk Music Festival
"Lauren Mann brings a wisdom and reflectiveness to her brand of indie pop that tickles the listeners fancy with beautiful melodies and delightful charm."
--Kat Dornian, Music Director, CSJW 90.9
"Bold and brash meets nuanced and introspective, with Mann’s honeyed vocals easing it all down."
--Mark Teo, FFWD Magazine
“Lauren Mann has one of those voices that tends to sparkle no matter whether a song has an upbeat, catchy sound, or whether she slows things down with a sadder tune. It's just a pretty voice which is a pleasure to listen to.”
–Calvin Daniels, Yorkton This Week
“Lauren Mann is a true artist. She is able to find art on any canvas whether it’s the plot of a novel, a movie that’s moved by script and music, lyrics to a song or friends she has made along her journey across Canada.”
– Gary Moore, cornerbrooker.com