May/June 2011 Lyric Spotlight Q&A: Laura Busey

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photo by Liz Woolaston

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1st Place
“This Side Of Sanity”
Written by Laura Busey

What was the inspiration for “This Side Of Sanity?”

It was actually a family trip I took down to Nashville. I’ve been writing songs for quite some time now. My family hadn’t spent a lot of time down there, so they wanted to hit all the touristy spots like Broadway. I noticed that when I was down there that I had this overriding kind of sadness. Essentially what I linked it back to was that we all want to go to Nashville, everyone who has this dream of being a singer or songwriter, and how you end up singing in bars or street corners because very few actually make it. As I was walking through the streets, and seeing everybody out there with their guitars on Saturday night, I could tell that some of them had been there for years. It just kind of made me feel very sad, and realizing at the same time how impossible the dream seems for myself. That’s really the true inspiration for the song.

It’s a great song.

Thank you very much.

How long have you been writing?

Seriously writing? Probably about the last five years, but I have always written songs. Really from the time since I was a kid, I would just make up my own words to different songs.

Have you always played guitar? Or is that something you started because you were writing songs?

I’ve played guitar off and on for the past 15 years. But, the more I started taking the songwriting seriously, the more I started working on my guitar skill, to be able to accompany the music, the lyrics.

Are you excited about getting your songs out there for people to hear with your first independent release?

Absolutely. I’ve gone independent, but I’ve actually been working with a friend of mine who’s been in the music business off and on. We’re going to put it out together. I’m hoping to have the album completed by the end of this year, but it’s kind of a slow process. I’m trying to write the right material for the project, but once it’s done I really do want to get the music out there.

What’s the music scene like in Yellow Springs? Is there a strong community of musicians?

There is, but I find myself lately trying to get more and more involved in it. The Blue Ridge Mountain area has a lot of rootsy music. It’s very influential for me. Bluegrass music, country music, and even Irish-Celtic music is present. A lot of music festivals come through the area. A lot of talented songwriters are here locally, so there are a lot of options.

Which contemporary songwriters influenced you?

I really enjoy Adele. Also, Robert Lee Castleman, who does work with Alison Krauss and Union Station, is a big influence on me. His lyrics are just so soulful. A lot of my music tends to veer a little bit on the sad side, and I think that’s somewhat of an influence from him.

What do you do when you’re not songwriting?

I’m actually a faculty member at Blue Ridge Community Technical College in Martinsburg, West Virginia. So, I teach during the day.

What do you teach?

I teach a college transition program for high school students, and in the past I’ve taught English.

You encourage them all to become songwriters, right?

Absolutely [laughs].


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  1. Way to go Ms. Busey!!! Not only are you one cool teacher, you’re an awesome songwriter. You are an inspiration. I’m blessed to have you as my teacher.

  2. What’s on the other side of sanity. If sanity’s the middle line to cross then either side of sanity is insanity.

    Just food for thought for the next song.

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