MEET LARA LAVI
Lara Lavi never sleeps. Right and left brained, there simply isn’t time in the day for all she does. Called once by Bonnie Raitt as “One of the best kept secrets in the music world,” Lara is a professional Grammy award-winning Americana singer-songwriter, media/tech/entertainment law attorney, entrepreneur, entertainment company executive, business development specialist, film and TV producer & writer. Lara is the managing partner of her Seattle based boutique law firm Media Law Group. She has been practicing law since 1987 while concurrently growing as an artist and managing her production company Dreaming in Color which supports dozens of artists and filmmakers as well as housing her own film/tv/music projects. Praised as a noteworthy talented songwriter and performer by the likes of Peter Gabriel, The Neville Brothers, Carol King, and concert promoter Bill Graham (RIP), The Village Voice once called Lara the “Quintessential Songstress.”
Lara recorded award winning albums both independently through the label Very Juicy Records that she and her producer husband, Maurice Jones Jr. own and on A&M records during its golden era. Lara worked as a professional writer for Warner Chappell publishing for several decades and then took a break to raise and eventually manage her highly musical alt rocker of a son Cameron Miles Lavi-Jones of King Youngblood fame before returning to the stage. “I like to think I grew my own guitar player,” laughs Lara.
Lara began her musical career as a classical piano prodigy starting at age three. At seven she added the violin. At 18 the guitar and at 21 the viola. Concurrent with playing classical music, Lara wrote poetry and in her teens started writing songs. By the time she was 19 she had dropped out of the University of Chicago to sing in the Blues Bars of Chicago including the famous Kingston Mines where bluesman Jimmy Johnson took her under his wing and taught her how to authentically sing the blues. She eventually toured with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells until her wild ride ended when her parents insisted she finish her University Studies at the University of Michigan that led to law school at the University of Oregon.
During law school, one of her greatest mentors, Charles Neville(RIP) the Sax player for the mighty New Orleans based Neville Brothers was one of the first to teach Lara how to run a band and perfect her emotive performance style. Her first single River of Hope was an ode to Charles’s own recovery journey and scored over 200 radio station launching Lara into the national music scene. Her albums The Art of Living and Inside the Room have combined sold over 500,000 hard copies – pre internet and pre social media marketing. Lara toured with many top acts including support for the Neville Brothers for many years which is really where Lara learned the ropes in the national and international music business as well as attracting Bill Graham Management supporting her rise as a songstress and performer.
“I think my message to the world now is that a creative life is definitely NOT over for me or anyone at any age if you still have the heart for it. I have survived major illnesses, highs and lows in my law and business career and the one thing that has been constant for as long as I can remember is that I know who I am as an artist. This carries me through everything. Powerful people in the music industry over the years have held me up, taught me a great deal and encouraged me to keep going. This next phase of my career is the best because I truly think I have evolved to such an improved place in my songwriting. All my life I have been running to other people’s finish lines! Now I say when, where, how and why and I am running to my own damn finish line.”
~ Lara Lavi
Lara also is the lead English speaking singer and co-writer for the Native American Grammy winning SongCatchers which she founded with Charles Neville, Mark Cardenas and award winning Native singer Arlie Neskahi, Dine` nation eventually adding her husband – producer, bassist Maurice Jones Jr. The SongCatchers are an incredible fusion of Native American Singing and Drumming with rock, soul, jazz and spoken word. Peter Gabriel took us on the WOMAD tours and called them “Spine Tingling,” explains Lara.
“During my first 10 years of my law practice I was one of the attorneys for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe near Seattle, WA. It was there I was schooled on Native American inter-tribal culture. I was so inspired. I wanted part of my artistry to embrace this unique window into a world most people never get near. Bringing Charles Neville in and eventually the other founders has been one of the most amazing musical experiences of my life.
Lara’s influences include Americana superstars including Bruce Springsteen, Brandi Carlile, Gillian Welch, fellow A&M label mate Sheryl Crow. Lucinda Williams, and Emmy Lou Harris. Lara’s own style reflects the true grit of an Americana singer songwriter, story teller and truth-sayer sharing one epiphany after another.
With multi-gold record producer/arranger Phillip Peterson (Taylor Swift, Portugal the Man, Ryan Lewis, Pink), her husband, specially her gifted son Cameron, and an army of true believer musicians and industry professionals holding her up, Lara is a shining example of what is possible when you decide not to give up on your authentic self.
Lara has 5 projects slated for the next 18 months starting with releasing her own interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s "River" as a benefit for www.NoKidsInCages. She will then start putting singles out in January 2021 in support of the first of three collections of original music starting with Mermaid Under A Desert Moon, the Lost Sessions. From then will come Finish Line and eventually the third in this trilogy – Last Honest Kiss. All the collections offer full band and scaled down versions of the songs that define Lara’s determination to finally return after decades to her own heart. Lara will top it off by finally releasing Little Dreamers, Lullabies & Love Songs, a children’s project she wrote when pregnant with her son Cameron who is now 21.