We premiered the video for "Shouting at the Dark" the day after Trump announced his ban on transgender military members, which felt especially powerful. The song is about never giving up, about continuing to tear away the darkness of the patriarchy, and the walls that try to hold us in. It was important for me to create an expression of that resistance from the voice of womyn, and I am so honored to dance side by side with my trans and queer friends in this video. It becomes a rallying cry for resistance, for protection, a call to the most vulnerable people among us to know that they are loved and accepted, and that we've got their backs.
Thanks to LA Weekly for interviewing me about BE HERE NOW and premiering the new video for "Cocoon" in which director Lavinia Jones Wright and I travel to some dystopian post-apocalyptic global melting future and manage to find safety, solace, and beauty in the Southern Californian super bloom, and each other. (Hint: the future is now.) Here's to finding safe spaces in tumultuous times. Let us be like the lovers sealed together forever in ash at the foot of vesuvius (even as the fighting and fire rages), monuments of love. xx, Laura.
Billboard says the first single, “Cocoon” feels "cosmological, as if its twinkling production and Burhenn’s voice could transport the listener to another planet far away from Earth." Listen here first and read all about how and why I wrote and recorded BE HERE NOW in two weeks following the Inauguration and Women's March in Nashville with producer Patrick Damphier and a whole host of friends, including the legendary McCrary Sisters and the Umoja Choir of Omaha, comprised of refugees from Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Congo. It's interesting times. We need each other more now than ever. Enjoy! Love always, Laura. xx
Today I am launching “I Know Why I Sing”, a visual art protest in response to Trump’s inauguration and the ongoing prevalence of rape culture in America.
The artwork -- 30 original gouache and ink (framed and signed) birds -- was created in conjunction with my new song, “Good Medicine”, which I wrote in the aftermath of the Brock Turner rape trial and the Trump "Grab them by the pussy" videotape leak. The song, and the art, are to remind everyone of the power we have to change and influence our own communities.
All 30 pieces of original art are for sale now on Etsy (HERE). The birds are also on display at Woodcat Coffeeshop in Echo Park, Los Angeles, through February 11th, with a closing party on February 11th. Proceeds from sales will benefit RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Back in October 2016 I released a song (on Saddle Creek), “Good Medicine,” which is about the weight we feel every morning, about the tears we shed in private, and the strength with which we *choose* to keep going, one foot in front of the other. I say choose, because it is a choice. I was reminded of that choice after the woman who was raped by Brock Turner shared the open letter of her experience and sang her truth and her song, despite what sentence the judge handed down, letting her rapist go free. She embodied Sartre: "Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." She was the strength she wanted to see.
I cannot imagine how painful and exhausting it was for her to write that letter. I, for one, am eternally grateful that she lifted her voice to remind me, to remind us all of the choice we can make to write — to sing — our own future. We can open ourselves up to feel all the feels (and feel them deeply) and let them paralyze us — for a minute. We should; to feel the real weight of human experience will make us fiercely compassionate. But from there, we can decide to do something more. It will not always be easy; it will exhaust you. But we can choose, as Mother Theresa urges, to do it anyway.
Each of the birds featured in “I Know Why I Sing” was made in the summer of 2016 as I was writing the song “Good Medicine.” While not every one is a songbird, each represents the unique voice in all of us, when we chose to lift it — no matter how uncertain or terrified we are to speak up — that can transform a heart, a community, the world. I’m donating 50% of the proceeds to RAINN, The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, to help them do their good work as “grab-them-by-the-pussy” rape culture is normalized from the highest position of power in America.
Right now the news doesn’t seem to be getting any better. You are probably exhausted; I know I am. But I will choose to keep singing, because I know that music saves my life every day. And if I can use my voice to do some good for others, I will. I believe in the power of music and art to empower, to comfort, to heal. Whatever your song, keep singing. Do it for you and do it for me. You never know when you'll strike a chord in someone else's heart and save them, too.
Sing, little nightingale
Sing your song
Though the night
Is black and long
We'd waste away
Without your spark
Oh it helps to chase away
If anyone tries to tell you
It's just a song
You tell them
It's real good medicine
If anyone tries to tell you
It's just a song
You tell them
They should start listening
This fall I'm heading out across the US solo, just me and a piano, opening for William Fitzsimmons. Send song requests my way. And come hug me in all of the cities -- well, at least as many as I can get to this trip. All dates posted on the tour page, starting October 29th in Omaha, and ending in Chicago on December 4th. See you so soon! xx, Laura.
Excited to be playing a FREE show this Friday in Seattle sponsored by KEXP and the Seattle Center. Check out all the details for the Summer Concerts at the Mural Series here. Can't wait to see you, Seattle! xx, Laura.
A little bit David Lynch, a little bit Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the new video for "Believer" (directed by Michael Erik Nikolla) features Laura narrowly escaping the grips of a cult as she's chased through the streets of Los Angeles with her trusty dog, Charlie. Look for cameos from plenty of Saddle Creek bands...
And now I present to you: the premiere of VELVETEEN over at Noisey, in all its BLOODY GLORY...
"Vampires. Universally sexy. Blood, starlight, hot breath on the neck before the perfect puncture. Here we find a solo vamp (Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn) stalking the streets, looking wan, getting in an altercation with a douchebag and finding her honor defended by a stranger, and then, well, then it all goes perfectly pearshaped and boy does the blood gush. An estuary of ruby red."
Enjoy, my lovers!! And see you on tour on the west coast this week!
PS: thanks to LEAN and every single person who made this video a bloody dream. xx
Laura will be performing old + new songs stripped down with strings. Intimate, orchestral arrangements of Mynabirds songs in a fresh perspective, in the name of spring cleaning. VEGAS, BOISE, SEATTLE, PORTLAND, SAN FRANCISCO, LA: GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.
Hey guys! My whole new record is streaming now over at NPR Music!!!!! It's not out until August 7, but you can hear it all right here, right now. I hope you love it!! it took a beautiful army to make it, and i couldn't be prouder and more grateful. And thank you NPR for the kind words.
(Click the photo below to go to NPR)
"Lovers Know is both multi-faceted and intricate, but it's also writ larger than anything else Burhenn has done with The Mynabirds... like a collection of jewels, bright and eclectic, collected from points near and far." - NPR
"Wildfire," the newest single from Lovers Know (out August 7th on Saddle Creek) is now streaming over at Consequence of Sound. Inspired by Jack Kerouac, this is a serious summer jam for all your night-swimming + road-tripping needs. Into the night -- we're burning into the night, into the night... Enjoy! xx, Laura.
Head over to NOISETRADE to download 6 songs from a free Mynabirds Mixtape, including "Semantics" (from the upcoming Lovers Know), 4 songs from the first two albums, and a super dream-summery Field Days remix of "Radiator Sister." GET YOUR MIXTAPE ON // GET YOUR MIXTAPE ON // GET YOUR MIX MIX MIXTAPE ON