WELD Artist of the Week: Laura Allen

Career:President of Walk the Light/ Singer-Songwriter/ Exec Assistant
Mantra: Making the Arts a Vehicle for Change.
Interview by: Kristin Read

Tell the story of when you realized you were artistically gifted.

I started music lessons at a very young age, so I’ve always been around music. I began playing other artists music, and somewhere between the age of 10 and 12, I started writing poetry and my own music—becoming creative in my own right. At 16, I recorded my first album, and I feel like that’s when I really took ownership of the artist title. Like most creative’s who continually reinvent themselves, I feel as if I’m in a season where I’m waiting for my next identity.

Tell me a little bit about the project you’re best known for—Walk the Light.

When I released my second album in 2009, a friend and I decided to collaborate for a show, because frankly, we were tired of the music scene. I was so bored with the three opening bands and headliner format [for shows], so we started brainstorming alternative ways for us to perform together, and asked our fans to get involved. We had a plan to change the format of shows altogether.In between sets/bands, we wanted to feature artists painting, dancing, selling crafts, etcetera — so we put together this fun festival out of a coffee shop in Forney, TX, and decided to call it Walk the Light. Around sixty people came to our first event, which nearly doubled our second event, and has since grown exponentially. About a year into it, we realized we should organize officially—so we obtained the WTL name for our organization. At our ninth event this past March, we drew a crowd of about 5,000 people, so we’re very excited about what’s to come.

What sets your organization apart from others in the music industry?

Regarding WTL, I feel as if my background in music has given me an advantage in knowing what frustrates artists, and offering them a new outlet to share their music.For local artists, there is much to be desired in the realm of performing, so I positioned WTL to be a catalyst for change. I see myself as both an artist-activist hybrid, and I feel as if that’s what sets me apart. In the process of wanting to change my experience, and the expression of my craft, I’ve been able to help out other artists as well. I took it onto myself to make that happen—we’re engaging the community, all variations of artists, and other non-profits…just doing it differently than it has been done before.

What inspires you? What moves you to create?

I’m inspired by, and feed off of, results. When you have a vision for something, to see it come to fruition and grow and proliferate itself, that’s where I find the majority of my inspiration for WTL. I also love the fact that the WTL board is made up of people who are ridiculously encouraging—all they do is gush, offer words of affirmation, and serve…and, so, they definitely inspire me. More than anything though, I’m inspired by the community of phenomenal artists around me…the type of artists that struggle to do anything but create—it’s just a part of who they are. Anytime I feel bogged down, tired, or uninspired, I find fulfillment in talking to those successful at their craft, or reading a post from an artist I admire…and I’m reenergized.

Describe your perfect day.

Creating music, and being surrounded by other artists’ creative work—basically, my current day-to-day environment. And hopefully, soon enough, the day where WTL receives a call that we’ve received funding and can grow our mission—cultivating an artistic community, and offering them a new platform for their talents. We’re hoping that perfect day will be here soon enough!

Why do you enjoy being a part of the WELD community?

It’s like an instant pool of friends—I feel as if I’ve found my tribe. In other community settings, be it church or school, etcetera, you naturally gravitate towards those who have similar interests or values, and it’s not always easy to find that niche. But here, whether or not you’re pursuing the same craft, something about what you’re doing is different or unique enough that you can always find someone that can provide. We’re all helping each other do life, it’s a blast…I love it.