We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurel Stearns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is inevitable in the music industry, Anyone who gets involved in this business either knows or will soon find out that they will be placing a bet with time and money on the art they believe in getting behind. I have never had any hesitancy in applying my entire focus on what I’m passionate about. If you love what you do, it becomes a lifestyle not a job and you become tireless when immersed in it. I knew from a very early age, hitchhiking to LA from Palm Springs when I was 14 years old to see punk shows, I have to follow that passion and risk taking in my every day life. I will never forget and still experience the unparalleled feelings of discovery and elation from music and honestly all the arts. No matter what the risk is, I always feel driven to follow these paths. At the core of almost every successful business and positive work environment you will most likely find these types of stories. I have worked in the same industry for 25 years, from major labels, major mgmt companies, to now creating my own space within a bigger company (Primary Wave), I have always taken risks and luckily been right at times … it was never based on what someone else said I should do, the voice came from within, follow your own voice, it is not easy at times but it’s definitely the most rewarding.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an employee at Capitol Records for almost 10 years, I had carved out a niche for myself with the community of music that I truly loved and still do, the independent music community, Normally at a major you follow and sign artists/ bands that are most popular at the time. Major labels amplify popular culture not necessarily niche culture. Luckily at that time, the music I loved and popular culture were aligned. I straddled this line of independent music and popular music, I worked on records I believed in and never had to apply myself to something I didn’t care about. That perspective has stayed with me throughout my career and defined me. It was challenging at times as you will always come across people with different perspectives and goals, I have tried very hard to not let that get in the way as I recognize we all have our own missions. The key to some success is in how we all communicate, learn how to approach a project with more than yourself in mind, the path might be a kinder, gentler one.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
my favorite LA spots: LA itself is in my top 5 favorite places on Earth, I have traveled extensively worldwide and there is no place like it . A lot of LA’s foundation and personality was built by spirituality and creativity, from Manly P Hall and Yogananda to Hal Roach and Max Sennet. Plus the lack of terra firma in California , we are a less ridged society in some cases as opposed to the tighter academic persona on the Eastcoast. Love eating at many Mexican spots in LA, currently Guisados is a fave. and the wonderful folks who created and run Hippo, they really did Covid safe dining right as well. The whole city still has a lot of old school charm , so I would recommend Atlas Obscura’s guide to all the weird , unique and antiquated places…Top spots on that map are all the Frank Lloyd Wright homes he built here , they are majestic…well most of them are . Hiking in Griffith upon the highest areas is incredible and then caffeinating at Trails of course.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people along the way that have supported and believed in my vision . Lawyers, Label people, Managers, Agents, Promoters, etc . For the last 8 years , Primary Wave have supported me in a very unique way within in this business . Ramon Villa and Adam Lowenberg , big shout outs to you
Other: I have a very serious hobby/side company called Pass IT On Ltd, I buy and sell fine antique and vintage jewelry . I have been building this for about 7 years , started collecting 25 years ago. It has grown into a real business that does intersect with the entertainment world as well, stylists have used my pieces for shoots, award shows, etc and many executives from the business buy from me all the pieces are on my IG feed
U.S. Girls – photo credit :Jeff Bierk(photo with child) The Album Leaf – Photo: Chad Kamenshine, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith(KAS) – photo: Chantal Anderson
Laurel -selfie 2020, Laurel with pup- Piper Ferguson, Red Fang (4 piece band)- James Rexroad . Moaning – Photo : Michael Schmelling