I’ve known Laura Tsaggaris since we were on the Moon Area High School tennis team together many, many years ago back home in Pittsburgh. A few years ago I was walking up 18th St. in Adams Morgan and who did I run into, but Laura, all grown up and living not only in DC, but just a few blocks away on the Hill. It’s been great to see how this shy kid from back home has turned into an amazing singer songwriter who writes songs like “Catastrophic,” which DCist called, “…hauntingly beautiful in its simplicity,” and who NPR called, “A soothing rocker.”
Laura was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her crazy schedule prepping for an upcoming show at Iota over in Arlington on the 18th (more information here – you should check her out if you can!) to answer this week’s Five Questions.
How’d you end up choosing DC, and specifically the Hill, as your home base?
I’ve been in DC coming up on 10 years now. I went to school in Virginia, at The College of William & Mary, and I had a couple of friends that went to George Washington University. Every time I would come visit them I just really loved the city, and after school, when things weren’t working out where I was living, DC was the first place that came to mind. I was in an apartment in Cleveland Park for four years and then moved into a great house on the Hill 5 years ago.
How’d you go from being the relatively shy girl I remember from high school to being such an awesome rocker?
It’s been an evolution for sure. I struggled a little bit with opening up, especially when it came to singing and playing guitar. For some reason, music was always fiercely personal for me. Even listening to it. Some life experiences made me turn to music to examine my feelings and get some of them out, and people have seemed to connect with that which has really helped me grow as an artist.
Where do you get your writing inspiration?
Half of the time I don’t know. I see music as the most spiritual thing I have in my life – it’s a force that kind of works its way through me and a song comes out the other end. In a lot of my songs, I’m examining my at once successful and futile journey towards self-actualization, as well as moments in time that don’t necessarily define relationships but highlight the messy spots.
What do you think is special about the Hill community?
I love its diversity, slow pace and neighborhood feel. Eastern Market on the weekends is really special, too – I love having it a five minute bike ride away.
What’s in store for the rest of 2009 for Laura Tsaggaris?
I’ve been working hard on some new musical arrangements, so, hopefully lots of fun shows in the area and some new songs. Shows in New York, Philly, LA, and Boston to promote the new album. Some upkeep on the house is due and, of course, enjoying the neighborhood!
You can hear Laura Tsaggaris perform TONIGHT (7/16) at SOVA on H Street NE at 8pm!