Laura Savage stayed up until 4 in the morning writing her original piece “Once” for the Spring Sing application. In the process, she kept her roommate awake and endured little sleep.
“Once” is a product of not just a midnight writing session, but the third-year sociology student’s lifetime of musical growth, culminating in a distinctly folk sound. She will perform “Once” at Spring Sing on Saturday.
Savage plays instruments such as the guitar and piano, and has also explored more folk instruments such as the harmonica and mandolin.
“That was my thing in high school,” Savage said. “I would sit in my bedroom and teach myself instruments. I just wanted to be a folk star.”
Now, she often sits on her apartment patio with fairy lights surrounding the perimeter, singing covers of songs like “You’re the One that I Want” with fellow musicians. Together, they help each other develop their talent.
Long before working with other musicians, Savage lived in Ireland for a semester during her 10th grade year with her family. Her father taught at the National University of Ireland, Galway at the time on a Fulbright scholarship. She said living in Ireland helped her begin to love Irish folk music and poetry verse.
“All my friends make fun of me because my songs do not follow verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus,” Savage said. “They are very much story-like, which I totally got from my time in Ireland.”
Her father has also heavily inspired her compositions through his mannerisms and background as a music professor. The majority of Savage’s songs ramble melodically, mirroring her father’s style of speech. She has fond memories of her father giving long-winded explanations to her questions as a child.
The father and daughter have always had a special connection, as exemplified by their quasi-telepathic relationship when she was a child. One often knew what the other was thinking. Savage said they were able to understand each other because of the common language they spoke – music – that the rest of the family did not understand.
“It’s been cool to see his respect for music that’s my own now, instead of classical music that I was just playing,” Savage said.
His fundamental ideal of saying important things that need to be said inspired her song “Once.”
After being admitted into the showcase, Savage worked with John Roberson, a second-year business economics student and a Spring Sing talent director, to finalize her act before May 21. Roberson said the two of them focused on refining her song’s composition and have become comfortable with sharing their musical ideas with each other.
“Even if you don’t like her alternative style, it’s hard not to appreciate the music,” Roberson said.
Savage said Roberson has offered her encouragement to continue exploring the depths of her song. He inspired her to change the style of her song from a quiet piece to one filled with jazzy riffs. She said he affirmed her creative vision and boosted her confidence.
“I am so lucky to have been put with someone that I will be friends with after Spring Sing, and that is totally pushing me as an artist to keep working and keep creating,” Savage said.
Savage is not used to performing in the spotlight. She said her couch is her most loyal audience. Savage saw the audition and upcoming performance as a means to push herself.
“For me, there was no pressure because I had no expectations,” Savage said. “I (thought I) should do this as an artist.”