BY KATHY CHANG
With three clicks of her red heels, Lauriana Mae, an American pop and R&B singer, is channeling Dorothy from the movie classic “Wizard of Oz” and taking it back home as she gears up for her first show debuting an album that is all about her roots.
“This project “Can’t Go Back” is a tribute to where I came from,” she said.
The album starts with Dorothy’s famous lines “There’s no place like home.”
“It’s a true story showing the beauty of my upbringing, having fun with my friends,” she said. “I talk about sacrifices that were made, what I miss, what I regret, what I appreciate and what I love.”
Mae said as she was continuing to work on her first full-length debut album, which is expected to be released this year, lyrics and melodies started pouring out, which resulted in the separate project of 11 songs.
“I got support from my record label, Atlantic Records to do this,” she said adding that she worked with producer Jack Splash to put together the project. “This project is special because I wrote all the songs. It’s not the first time I have written songs, I usually write the majority of my songs, but I also collaborate with different songwriters.”
Mae has collaborated with the likes of musicians and producers CeeLo Green, Kwamé, B.o.B., Dreezy, Raekwon and Manolo Rose. She has previously released a shorter length album City of Diamonds in 2015.
The soul vocalist and songwriter, whose sound is influenced by hop-hop and infused with jazz, was born in Red Bank and grew up singing in her church choir. She majored in vocal music at her performing arts high school.
“I used to be shy, but as I was complimented on my voice, I continued to sing out more,” she said. “I’ve lived all around Monmouth County — Union Beach, Keyport and Matawan. I have a lot of family still around in Monmouth County and they are proud of the project.” She said she is currently staying in Edison.
Mae said the album project started out with three to four song tracks and grew to 11 song tracks.
“I was traveling back and forth to Miami [Florida] meeting with Jack and getting excited about the project,” she said. “This has been done for a while. We just have been waiting on what would be the next step.”
Mae said a project release event was held in New York, but she requested to do something special for her home state.
The first performance of the project will be held at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on April 7.
Mae said it’s hard not to get a bit choked up when talking about the project, which she said is very real and true.
“I rehearsed the “Can’t Go Back” song 30 times,” she said. “I have in there missed moments of regret when my Nanny passed away … I was away in California recording music. A lot of sacrifices were made. I talk about one of my best girlfriends passing away in a car crash and how we are never going to talk again.”
Mae said she talks about cherished childhood moments of clean laundry hanging in the yard, family stopping by the house and running through the grass in her music.
She also talks about not so good memories of torn relationships.
Mae said her family and friends are proud of her project and can relate to the music because they know where it is coming from.
“This project is for anyone who can relate to my music,” she said. “My goal is to touch as many people with my music and the more people who I can appeal to the greater it will be.”
Four tracks off Mae’s Can’t Go Back album project can be purchased on Apple iTunes and the entire album can be heard on SoundCloud.
Mae will appear with her backing band “The Pains” during her performance at The Stone Pony on April 7. The show is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
For more information on Lauriana Mae visit www.laurianamaemusic.com.