Originally published on Virgin Media’s Red Room Blog.
By Amy Chyan
She sang and played guitar and wrote her own music, but wanted to break away from the singer songwriter stereotype that most female musicians face.
“I basically felt trapped in the singer songwriter genre,” said Lauren Zettler before her Brooklyn show at The Rock Shop. “When you go by your name, they put you in this box and you’re this girl with a guitar and there are so many girls with guitars. I just didn’t feel like it fit what I really wanted to do.”
Zettler is now under the moniker Lightyear, whose new EP, “All of The Miles” was released on November 14th. By changing her musical direction and wanting out of the singer songwriter cliché, Lightyear began to explore with other sounds. She cites Metric and Emily Haines as influences of her new sound.
When asked about whether this change would be difficult, Lightyear thinks fans of Lauren Zettler will find enough elements in her new music that it will still appeal to them. “I’m grateful to have had the past few years to learn how to play shows in front of people,” Lightyear adds. “Lightyear has a different energy to it, which is cool, but at the same time, it was a really scary change to make because I had spent so much time building a fan base.”Lightyear nervously took the stage, to a crowd mostly with supportive friends. As much as she wants to depart from the genre of female singer songwriter, her voice is her strongest weapon. Lightyear’s voice shines through all the arrangements and highlights emotions best when paired with lyrics from extreme ends of the emotions spectrum.
“This next song could be for a baby, or someone you love. It depends on where you are in your life,” bantered Lightyear before her third song. A four piece band is how Lightyear performs. She’s backed up by bass, drums, guitar and keys from herself.
‘All of The Miles’ sees Lightyear experimenting with steady drum beats, electro-synth elements while in combination with guitars and keys. All the same, Lightyear’s voice remains dreamy and ephemeral, radiating through and sounding the most powerful when she’s in front of a piano. In that moment, the audience hears a confident and compelling voice, as if all the anxiety from playing new material never existed.
“All I know is that when I listen to music and it moves me, I want nothing more than to be able to do that,” said Lightyear after calling herself an introverted performer. “And that’s why I’m doing this. I just want to make something that somebody connects with. And that’s my way of talking.”