Lauren LoGrasso is a podcast host and producer, Singer/Songwriter, Public Speaker, Media/podcasting consultant and SAG-AFTRA Actress. Lauren received her BFA in Acting and BA in Communication from Michigan State University. She traveled to Los Angeles to complete her last three credits with an internship on The Ellen Show and decided to stay to pursue acting. Within weeks of her pursuit, she got her first acting role and joined SAG-AFTRA, but soon after, with the constant rejection and less than fulfilling costar roles, acting started breaking her heart. As is so often the case, that pain turned into purpose when Lauren picked up a guitar and wrote her first song. Within nine months of writing that song, she had played House of Blues Sunset, The Viper Room and The Hard Rock Cafe. While continuing to pursue music, she also started to follow her love of talk radio and got a position as a host on AfterBuzz TV, which lead to becoming the EP of Maria Menounos’ SiriusXM Show, Conversations with Maria Menounos and a host and producer on The Tomorrow Show with Keven Undergaro.
She now works as the Executive Producer of Female Content for a podcasting company called Cadence13 where she works on hit shows like Brené Brown’s chart-topping show Unlocking US, Lauren Conrad: Asking for a Friend, Girlboss Radio, The Goop Podcast, Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver and From The Heart — Conversations with Yoga Girl. In addition, she independently produces and hosts her own podcast, Unleash Your Inner Creative. The show has been on the New and Noteworthy category 37 times since the show launched in late February, is frequently on the Apple top 200 charts, has a solid 5 star rating and is one of Anchor.FM’s featured podcasts.
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Alice: Today we have Lauren LoGrasso on. She is a podcast host and producer, singer-songwriter, public speaker, media podcasting consultant, and SAG actress. Lauren received her BFA in Acting and BA in Communications from Michigan State University and she traveled to LA to complete her last three credits with an internship on the Ellen Show and decided to stay and pursue acting. Within weeks of her pursuit, she got her first acting role and joined SAG, but soon after with the constant rejection and less than fulfilling co-stars, acting started breaking her heart. As is so often the case that pain turned into purpose when Lauren picked up a guitar and wrote her first song.
Within nine months of writing that song she played the House of Blues, Sunset, The Viper Room, and Hard Rock Cafe. While continuing to pursue music, she also started to follow her love of talk radio and got a position as a host on AfterBuzz TV, which led to becoming the EP at Maria Menounos SiriusXM show conversations with Maria Menounos and a host and producer on The Tomorrow Show. She now works as the executive producer of female content for a podcasting company called Cadence 13 where she works on hit shows like Brigade Browns, Lauren Conrad’s, Girlboss Radio, the new podcast Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver, and from the Heart Conversations with Yoga Girl. In addition, she independently produces and hosts our own podcast Unleash Your Inner Creative. On the music brand, you may have heard some of her songs and she also is working on a new debut EP Road to Glory, a true Renaissance woman. We are excited to welcome her on Weekly Woman today. Thank you for coming on.
Lauren: Thank you for having me. I know it is such a mouthful. Oh my God, we got to get them to buckle up for this one.
Alice: Yeah, we have a lot to discuss. You have so much to talk about. You have had all of these different roles. How did you come to the life of the artist?
Lauren: Ah, I was born this way. I think, you know, it is funny because I was just telling you before you went on, I came home during the pandemic back to Michigan. I usually live in LA so my apartment there but came back to be with my parents and we’ve been watching a lot of home movies and it is just amazing to look back at yourself as a child and to see that you have always been who you are in some way, you know, if you had a few had a wonderful childhood, look I was blessed and privileged to have like, you kind of always been that little self and so it is like I was singing when I was one– lesson one and a half. I was singing full songs.
I–you know, there is this really funny video we watched last week and I think this describes me there is a sprinkler going and we were outside. My mom was videotaping and a sprinkler is going and it was like the spray of the sprinkler was the sprinkler equivalent of like a fire hose. It was a really strong stream. I was one– lesson one and a half and I kept throwing myself into the sprinkler stream. Fully clothed just kept throwing myself into it. So I think I have always been the kind of person that even if something is difficult, I go in full force and with full passion and just see what I can bring to the table.
Alice: Wow, that is amazing. Thank you so much for that. And you like, went to LA right after college, can you talk about that experience? Was there like a huge culture shock moving to this big city?
Lauren: Yeah, definitely. So I finished my last class at Michigan State in August twenty-eleven. I found out I got the internship at Ellen ten days later or maybe no, it was like a week after that and then ten days later I moved. So it was a very quick turnaround if I had thought about it, at all, I would not have done it.
I do recommend to people especially people who tend to be over-thinkers. Sometimes they just throw themselves into something because they will figure it out but if you think about it too much you might not do it. So I moved there. I was kind of like jamming and like for the first month and a half, I just like kind of pretended like I was on vacation, and then it hit me. I was driving home from an improv class. There is a street called Cahuenga in California. Like I turned from Cahuenga on the Barham back into Burbank from Hollywood which by the way, if anybody is thinking of moving to Los Angeles, do not move to Hollywood, it is where souls go to die. But I was driving back into Burbank and I just started hysterically crying and I go, “What did I do? Why did I move to this weird crazy place? I do not know what I am doing. I am homesick. I am scared. The freeways are so big here. It makes no sense!” and so yeah, I had that little breakdown moment. It is okay, everybody you are going to have one of those. Just roll with it. It is normal and and you figure it out as you go along. But yeah, it was certainly culture shock.
It was hard for me because I came from a place, the Midwest from Michigan where– for the most part people do what they say they are going to do and the most confusing and difficult thing for me to understand about the culture of California and Hollywood, in general, is that people say a lot of nice things but it more often than not leads nowhere. And so when you find the people that are of integrity and do what they say they are going to do. Those are your people. Those are the people you stick with. And so luckily after eight almost nine now years of being there I really have found a great core group of people who are like me and like like-hearted and with a similar work ethic but that was definitely hard to get used to when I first got there.
Alice: Wow. Yeah, that would be such a different shift just to move to a big city like that and the huge freeways.
Lauren: They are so big. I mean, they are like– the freeways here, the one that I continually drove up to Michigan State from Detroit was two lanes, two lanes.
Alice: Oh my gosh.
Lauren: Imagine merging onto like the 101 or the 405 and by the way, the LA– this just goes to show LA and California, in general. It is not like you call it the fi– like five like here, you call it 696, the freeways, 696 or 94. There, they put a “The” in front of the freeways because even the inanimate objects are important there. So yeah, it was a lot to go from two lanes to like five to seven lanes.
Alice: Wow. And so you went from the Ellen Show and then you started to pursue this life of wanting to be an actress. Can you talk about that and talk about getting into SAG?
Lauren: Sure. So I– you know got my BFA in Acting. so when I graduated I really thought that is what I was going to do. And so I– the last week I was at the Ellen Show. I had done a Casting Director Workshop, which those things do not really exist anymore but back in the day that was a way for unrepresented actors to get to know casting directors and hopefully be brought in for an audition. I did one with this casting director named Craig Campobasso. He fell in love with me. He ended up hiring me for my first ever professional film job and I was one of the main characters in the shoot. I had, you know, my own little dressing room. They did my hair and makeup. I had a chair to sit in. I felt very special. I was certain that I was just going to go to the top right after this. This was in December twenty-eleven, went home for Christmas came back. It was like crickets though. My first agent that I had in LA, she cancelled a meeting with me because this was the quote, “The goats on my farm broke the water main.” I thought I was getting punked–
Lauren: She ended up signing me and then she left town without telling me and like got out of the business. I found out from the guy I was in acting class with. So it was a rough road with acting but it is through that first gig and a couple subsequent gigs that I was able to join SAG.
Lauren: Yeah. It was amazing because really like I was fighting for every inch I was going to all these sad musical theater auditions, a bunch of random student film auditions. There were some auditions that I got from backstage dot com, which is a way to get acting auditions that I was not sure if I was on a reality show or if I was getting like going to be murdered. It was a very strange situation. So this is really what led to the heartbreak that caused me to write my first song.
Alice: And what did you do when you decided to turn to music? you said you were like auditioning for musicals, so that had always been a part of your life.
Alice: You talk about moving into the singer-songwriter phase of life?
Lauren: Sure. So I think that like picking up guitar really changed everything for me because I had been singing like I said, since I was basically a baby I did my first musical when I was three or four but since I had never had that piece where– was playing an instrument, I never considered that I could write music. Actually, weirdly and I do recommend this to any creative person if you do have the footage from when you were younger look at it because a lot of times like the little self knew things. Like I said before but there was this one video we watched about a week ago. I was two. I was jumping on the bed singing and I wrote a song and– but nobody in my family would have known to call that out because there were no musicians or no songwriters. So it was not gonna be like, “Oh, look Lauren is a songwriter.” They just thought I was being a weird kid. So I kind of had been doing it my whole life, but since I did not play an instrument and since I did not know anyone who was a songwriter. I never put two and two together, and so I mean there is a very funny story I can tell you. I do not want the whole thing to be like comedy moment but it is pretty funny.
Okay, I will tell you the story and it is wild wild wild but I really do think this opened the portal for me. So long story short. I was very good girl. I never tried drugs. I never did smoked pot. The last– one of the last days of my senior year of college, I– because and they will tie together I promise, one of the last days of my senior year of college, I was supposed to sing at this award convocation. I was so excited about it. I had tweeted about it at the time. I had told all my friends. I was really excited. It was supposed to happen at five P.M. So I was running errands around campus, I decided to check my phone it ended up saying that it– we need to be there at two forty-five which was weird because it was not till five. Why would you need to have a call time that early for a college event? This is the last thing I was supposed to do in college, by the way, was sing at this event. I start panicking because I am like this does not add up. I am calling all my friends who are supposed to be there. I am calling my teacher. I am calling the piano player. Finally, the piano player calls me back and he goes, “You missed it.” I was hysterical because this was the way I was going to be remembered forever in college. And so I was inconsolable. I was calling my teacher and apologizing and saying I am so sorry. This is not who I am. Long story short, I ended up getting together with my friend Michael who happened to be a pretty raging pothead and I am like, “You know what? Let us just give this a whirl.” I did way too much of it because it was the first time most– I had done it one other time before that but that was like the first time I would actually like gone in– Get in it to win it really. And I took five hits on a water bong. I hit the floor and like started really panicking and I made him walk all around campus with me. But long story short, when I was in that whacked-out state. I sang every thought I had for two hours and I kept saying. “This is the real me. This is the real me.” Now, that time my friends wanted me dead because I was just being so annoying, singing every thought I had. But when I started writing music I look back on that and realize my subconscious, my high self was trying to tell me that I was a songwriter and it was really after that– that finally, guitar started making sense.
I tried to play it like five times it never worked. So finally I started playing chords. The first song I ever played was Eleanor Rigby and it was when I played that song because that is only two chords, it is E minor to C over and over again. And it is by The Beatles obviously who are heavily considered one of the best bands of all time, and I thought if they could write a song with two chords, maybe I could write a song and so flash forward a year when I am having this heartbreak with acting and I am you know in my guitar learning process. I start falling asleep in that state between being awake and asleep, writing songs and I would sing them into my voice memos. And then finally I started putting those songs that I was kind of creating when I was in between awake and asleep into the chords that I would I was learning on guitar and that is how it started. So that is a very long story. But I do believe all those pieces are kind of, you know part of the path and I think sometimes we do have these talents from the time we are young but we just do not recognize them until we are ready.
Alice: That is interesting that you are able to like, think back on these moments or whether they are these video moments or just memories and figure out who you are as an artist sort of now and what kind of put that puzzle together? Can you talk about Road to Glory? And when is that coming out? How can we stream it? And what was it like creating that?
Lauren: So Road to Glory is actually out now. I have Road to Glory ri– oh you are talking about EP. Okay. So my single Road to Glory is out. Now. I have my other single, Rise, and then Like A Bomb is also out. Next month. Yes in August. I have to think about what month it was. In August I am going to be putting out my next single. It is called Freak Show and then I am going to put one more out probably September October and then at the end of the year. Originally, I was going to put the full EP out in the summer, but just a tip for anyone who is an independent musician or just a creative in general. If you can parse things out and not just do like one big bang, like do little things, it gives you more opportunities to market and get your name out there. So at first I was going to do two singles and then put out the full ep but especially now with COVID when it is harder to record. I am gonna do it as singles and then put out an EP with a couple bonus songs on it toward the end of the year.
Alice: How were you able to record this, with it being covid? Were you recording in a studio in LA beforehand or did you put this together at home with all your podcasting equipment?
Lauren: So it is actually done last year. And so we have just been doing it piece by piece and me and my producer have been going back and forth like getting the final mixes together and mastering it which basically just makes it super pristine and ready to play on the radio. And so yeah, we have been doing it all virtually, but I have not had to record anything. That is the next step. I am trying to get a nice microphone now where I can start doing some in-home in-studio recordings.
Alice: Oh, awesome. I see your microphone right here. Can you talk to us a little bit about your own podcast that you start?
Lauren: Yes, of course. It is called Unleash Your Inner Creative and the goal of the podcast is to help people make creativity the filter for their life, redefine their relationship with fear take it out of the driver’s seat so it is not making decisions for them, and step more fully into the essence of who they are and you know, a lot of it is you brought up a great point that I like to trace the lines of kind of your creative life to figure out where these things came from and how you can best serve who you truly are and so every week we talk to different guests that help us get to the bottom of the creative process and figure out how to be more ourselves and not let fear rule our lives.
Alice: That is really great for right now. What would you give someone who like needed a helpful tip just right now during COVID? What is the best thing you have learned from your podcast about helping with fear and stress during this COVID environment?
Lauren: I think number one. Do not deny how you feel. I think the times I have been most depressed in this time period have been when I have been trying to run away and I really do believe that the only way out is through. So if you are in the thick of things, journal, talk to a friend, cry. I mean, I get a lot out of crying for me it is like that is how I release my pain and like the trapped expression. I know sometimes it is hard because it is like, you know, you are going to have to go on a journey with that. But it– when you get through it, it is kind of like how the are looks beautiful after it has rained and it smells fresher and the skies clear. That is how it is for our bodies too when we let ourselves have that full body expression by crying. So let yourself feel. And then when you are– do not beat yourself up too for being creatively block because it is a very easy time to be blocked. Something that I have learned about being able to express yourself creatively and the way that I started writing again because for about the first month and a half of the pandemic, I did not write at all because I was so overwhelmed by everything that was happening and so stressed. I think that my brain just could not go there and I started doing this thing on my podcast where every week I would give the audience a creative challenge. And that was just a word and they could make anything based off of that word. They could do a drawing, they could cook a meal, they could write a song, they could play a game with their kids, whatever that word inspired create something from that word. And for me having that container gave me the boundaries I needed to start to feel like, “Okay, I can get the hang of this again.” It is not this weird broad, like I could pick any topic in the world. I have something to study me and that is what really got the ball rolling. So I would say that and just honor where you are at, where ever it is.
Alice: Thank you so much, Lauren. And what has been your favorite project that you have worked on? Based on one of these words from your podcast.
Lauren: I wrote this really cool song. I do not know what it is called yet actually, but it was the word I gave was bird and the lyrics are I was kind of inspired. Have you read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed?
Lauren: Okay, cool. So I was inspired by her book and the lyrics are, “I have been acting like a bird who cut her own wings tied herself to the ground and said she does not sing. Trying hard to forget my own nature.” and it goes into this whole thing about you know, in a lot of ways how I have held– I have actually held myself back and how could I get more in touch with that little girl? How could I get more in touch with who I really am? With the fullness, the largeness of who I really am and it is– the chorus is “I could fly reclaim my space inside the sky.”, you know, it is about getting back to that broad, big soul that you are and so I would definitely say that is my favorite. I am still working on that, as a human. But I love that that song encouraged me to do it.
Alice: Oh, I think that is just lovely. I love this idea that you are talking about finding– finding your way back to that girl, that young person, that person uninhibited by everything that is put on us as woman, and like everything that society tells us really and something that we always ask on this podcast is, what is your definition of Womanhood? It is probably something that can like shift in the next minute right after you say it. What– what is it?
Lauren: Wow, I love that question. The first thing that came to me was strength. We, throughout the years, as women have had to hold so much inside. So I think it is at this point if we are like looking at the true meaning of it, it is strength. It is caring. It is expression. It is expansion, It is resourcefulness. It is creativity. It is warmth. It is kindness. It is love. I am so proud to be a woman and I am grateful to share in this experience with other women of all walks of life and for the sisterhood that we all have.
Alice: Thank you so much, Lauren. Is there anything else that you would like to add to our listeners today?
Lauren: Just the way I end every podcast is, I believe in you and I think that is oftentimes the difference between us going toward our dreams and it is not and I just want to say whoever is listening I believe in you you are so worthy and I hope that today you take this interview and this lovely talk that we have had as a sign that you needed to claim your right to have a dream and to take up space because you deserve it.
Alice: Thank you so much, Lauren, for being on.
Lauren: Thank you for having me.