"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." -- Dale Carnegie
An impromptu jam session a year ago has led to an ongoing musical project with fun at one end and charity at the other.
When Alex Chandler and friends stopped by Lauren Ray’s dorm room and asked her if she played all the instruments she had there, they all ended up playing music together, and Alex and Lauren quickly found their songwriting and improvisational talents clicked.
“Alex is awesome at improvising,” said Lauren, a sophomore environmental studies major from Siloam Springs, Ark. “One day I was writing this song on the guitar, and we started making it up as went, and suddenly we had a song. That’s where ‘Fish Stick’ came from.”
“And a couple nights later,” Alex added, “‘Stalker X’ emerged.” He added that video had had the most hits so far. “Way over 50!” he laughed.
[Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/user/improvising331#p/u/7/FeDoG1Qg6oc]
Lauren has previously released a solo album, “Peas and Carrots,” which she sells through her web site, laurenray.bandcamp.com. All proceeds from sales go to the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes environmentally friendly behavior and keeping the nation’s beaches clean.
Alex, a senior marketing major from Little Rock, said their new song, “It’s All a Game,” was inspired by an idea from Lauren. “We played our song ‘Waste Away’ live on the radio during the last Study Night Breakfast,” he said. “We played it twice. We were stoked to get another song together, so we started it immediately and finished it over Christmas break. It’s a rap”
“Yes, we were texting each other over the break, urging each other to finish their parts so I could put it all together,” said Lauren. “As soon as we got back we recorded it!”
[Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCotUgikiJc]
Alex described himself primarily as a vocalist, and Lauren plays the ukulele, bongos, regular percussion, the guitar, the steel drum, and the piano.
“We’ve had a couple different friends help here and there, but mostly it’s just the two of us,” Alex said.
So far the duet’s videos have all been live and acoustic, but they said with the upcoming warmer weather they plan to shoot a “real video” using locales around town and on campus.
Will the proceeds from the new album go to the Surfrider Foundation? Laura said maybe not. “I kind of wanted to do different ones so that more people are interested, Although I am passionate about Surfrider’s work, I also want people to feel they’re actually making a difference, so I may pick a different charity for this one.”
Like Lauren’s previous album, the new project will be available at laurenray.bandcamp.com. “Every time we do an update it’ll be on that site,” Lauren said, “and people can go to that site and buy directly from there.”
Like Alex, Lauren makes the point they are making music for charity but also for fun. “I mean I know we’re not ‘real’ musicians, off in fairyland,” she said. “Our heroes are people like Bo Burnham or those guys who do ‘The ShamWow Song.’ This is for fun.”
Alex added, “We are putting out this album, and then since I graduate in December, hopefully before then we’ll have a third album done before I graduate.”
“One per semester, that’s our goal,” Lauren said.
The duet’s videos can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/improvising331, and Lauren’s web site is laurenray.bandcamp.com.