On Being Human: Interview with Lara Veronin

There are no absolutes, no perfect answers, and [for all you emo kids out there] there definitely isn’t a golden plug that will fill that deep hole in your soul, whatever the cause may be. Where Do We Go is about accepting the unknown, making peace with it, and even being a little excited about what’s around the corner.

For those of you who aren’t clued in yet, Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter Lara Veronin (梁心頤) has recently released her new single Where Do We Go at the end of what has been a tumultuous year for her. The sweet, vivacious 28 year-old who was once part of band Nan Quan Mama (南拳媽媽) and previously under Jay Chou’s record label JVR Music spoke to YAM Magazine about what she’s been up to since her last album in 2012, and about all the ins and outs of her thoughts for this single.

After leaving JVR in 2013, Veronin set up her own company with sister Esther called Meimeiwawa Multimedia (妹妹娃娃多媒體), a lifestyle and entertainment channel which has provided this writer with many hours of entertaining and thoughtful bilingual web content since its conception. But starting Meimeiwawa has been a blessing in more ways than one for Veronin:

Starting Meimeiwawa Multimedia with my sister has really pushed me to let go of all these supposed rules that artists have. First and foremost, I’m a person. I like to work hard, carry my own stuff, and make jokes. I don’t like to brush my hair or pretend I’m too cool to say hi to people. I think getting that back has been more rewarding than anything else.

In other words, the bubbly singer-songwriter describes the lessons learned from this entrepreneurial experience simply as “being human.” It may be a strange thing to say, but an understandable statement given her early entrance into the industry.

I think this tends to happen with artists that start at young age [around 15-16 in my case] which in all honesty is an extremely awkward and insecure time in ones’ life when you are easily influenced. In my case, I got it into my head that artists had to try and be “perfect”, and since obviously no one is, I took it up on myself to hide all the things that weren’t perfect. I smiled a lot and tried to say as few words as possible [the less you say the less mistakes you make], was terrified of meeting people if I didn’t have makeup on, would never go anywhere alone.

Prepped since she was in her pre-teens for this line of work, it’s almost unimaginable the kind of experiences the youthful singer has accumulated beneath her cheerful exterior. But what does all this have to do with her latest single? Titled Where Do We Go, it’s release marks a milestone of growth for Lara; in learning to be human, she found that there are no absolutes, and no perfect answers in this world, just change and growth.

“[Where Do We Go is] a question that’s on everyone’s mind, so even though the true journey has to be taken on your own, we are never alone. And honestly, whenever you feel like you’re stuck, you’re still moving, changing, and hopefully growing. Trust in that.

And certainly, any who have listened to Veronin’s latest single can clearly see that it is a testament to her growth as an artist. An experimental take on pop with electronic influences, the singer who once denounced electronic music is eating her words and embracing the genre a little more.

I used to attach a lot of negative connotations to the label of “electronic music”.

In fact, my first solo album Hello was built around the concept of “organic” music, blatantly avoiding anything I deemed artificial, such as midi instruments or pre-recorded loops. I now feel like that was entirely unnecessary and poor judgment on my part. We need to use all the tools that we have access to, and this era has given way to many wonderful programs that help us create a new sound.

From her openness about her flaws to her chatty demeanor, it is clear that Lara is embracing her human-ness and exploring possibilities like never before. Despite being in the industry for over a decade, it is fascinating to see an artist like Veronin still testing the limits of her skills to this very day. Breaking from the confines of a bigger record label, co-writing the melody for Where Do We Go has led her to realize that lyricism may not be her only strength.

I still remember when I showed the demo to a few songwriting friends and one of them commented on how catchy the high note (“go”) [in Where Do We Go] was. I was so surprised because well, I wrote it. I’ve been vaguely known as a composer artist for years now, but I always figured my strength was more in lyrics. To have industry professionals compliment the melody was really new and rewarding for me.

Its refreshing to meet an artist who is as brutally honest as Lara. Straightforward and earnest yet spouting phrases which are both lyrical and deep, her writing style bodes well when gauging the quality and creativity of her original works. I believe that there is much truth in her words, even for ordinary plebs like ourselves. Being human is hard enough, why make things harder by searching for an answer which may not even exist? Where Do We Go is a measured, intelligent work which posits this question thoughtfully, standing out in a sea of Cpop ballads and missed targets. The winds of change seem to have done Lara good; hopefully she’ll have enough in her to set her sights on the global music market next.

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