As the world continues to move at warp speed, GRAMMY® nominated songwriter Laura Veltz is trying her best to slow things down.
But it’s not easy.
“I spend more time in my garden these days,” she told American Songwriter in those certainly scary days when the coronavirus had its tightest hold on the country back in March. “I look at the birds. I take my time. I’m really trying to lean in to the slower nature of things.”
Granted, Veltz has never been one to like slowing down, much less staying in the same place too long. In fact, she spent much of her childhood moving around from town to town, searching for a foundation to build a life on.
“I was raised in quite an unusual way,” she explains. “My parents were like gypsy type people. There was no real security growing up, but that really gave me the ability to role with the punches. I mean, it took me 20 seconds to recover from things.”
It also gave the girl with the wandering mind much to digest.
“I was always ‘the new kid,’” recalls Veltz, who spent time honing her music talents in a family band before choosing songwriting as a viable career path. “I would barf all my feelings to pretend strangers. That’s been a lifelong thing with me.”
Call it barfing.
Call it songwriting.
We call it simply perfection.
Because when Veltz puts her heart on the page, there is a rawness and an honesty mixed with a touch of off-the-cuff humor that makes her songwriting stand out from the rest. And this songwriting has allowed her to rack up an impressive run of number one hits as of late, including the Grammy-nominated “Speechless” (co-written and performed by Dan + Shay), “The Bones” and “I Could Use a Love Song” (co-written and performed by Maren Morris) as well as “Drunk Last Night” (Eli Young Band), “Lonely Eyes” (Chris Young) and GOLD-certified “What If I Never Get Over You” (Lady Antebellum). Her most recent, soon to be hit is Kelly Clarkson’s current single “I Dare You.”
And yes, before the pandemic hit and racial tensions erupted and the world seemed to tilt from its otherwise routine axis, Veltz was busy making history, spending 5 weeks atop Billboard’s Top Country Songwriters chart and becoming the first woman to claim the top spot since the chart’s inception last year. And if that wasn’t enough, this past March, she was awarded with the Song Suffragettes Yellow Rose of Inspiration Award at their 6th anniversary show in Nashville for inspiring the hundreds of women who have performed on their show.
Yet, despite her growing list of accolades, Veltz remains low-key and centered and relatable. But most of all, she remains committed to sticking with the same songwriting theories and strategies that led to her success in the first place.
When it comes right down to it, she is just being herself.
She always has been.
“What was that song that Céline Dion put out right at the beginning of her career?” she asks inquisitively, before shouting out the song title of Dion’s 1990 hit “Where Does My Heart Beat Now.” “Oh my gosh, I listened to that song over and over. I never paid too much attention as to what was popular or the hits or anything like that. I listened to everything from the Beatles to Michael Bolton to really obscure acts. I was really right down the middle when it came to the music I listened to.”
Of course, once Veltz set her eyes on making songwriting a career, she tried her best to transform a tad, but it was no use.
She was going to be just fine being herself.
“At first, I came with all of the bells and whistles, but I quickly realized staying in the middle was working,” remembers Veltz, whose sister Allison Veltz is also a songwriter who landed her first No. 1 last year with Matt Stell’s “Prayed for You.” “When I felt something, I knew I was doing something right. When I could feel something, I felt like others would be able to feel it too.”
“I see people breaking their brain trying to craft a song, and I just don’t get it,” says Veltz, who has also scored her name in the liner notes of albums from an eclectic groups of artists such as Reba McEntire, The Cadillac Three and Maddie & Tae.
Of course, one thing she fully understands is the need for collaboration, and that collaboration has served as quite the antidote to crazy times in Nashville, and the country, and the world.
“It’s like, no matter what is happening outside, you get sit down in a room with people and it’s like you bring with you an ice cube tray, and before you know it, everyone in there can fill all of the cubes, you know?”
Right now, as Nashville tries to find their own sense of normalcy in these turbulent times, she is filling those cubes herself…with more music.
“Music does incredible things in times of tragedy,” she says quietly. “You need music or you will go insane, especially right now. Our job just got that much more important.”
Photo Credit: Jules Bates