It felt as if the stars aligned or serendipity kept knocking at the door. A quiet confluence of inspirations incited award-winning actress, musician, and artist Laura Dreyfuss to write and record music under the moniker of Loladre. While assuming the role of “Girl” in the Tony® Award-winning Once throughout 2012 and 2013, the production reignited her passion for playing piano, but it would be the reaction to her two-year stint as Zoe Murphy in the Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen that unlocked this new chapter.
“I had been getting so many letters from fans explaining their life stories,” she recalls. “A lot of them were touched by Dear Evan Hanson, and it made me realize how powerful a song can be. When you have something to say, you can put it in a song and affect others in a positive way. Now more than ever, it’s so necessary. As an artist, I was inspired to create and do more. Being around so many great musicians, I realized I didn’t have to pick one career—like just being an actress. That’s how I got back in touch with music. It’s where the story begins.”
Long before her standout season in Glee, landing NETFLIX’s The Politician alongside Gwyneth Paltrow, or even attending Boston Conservatory, she spent countless hours in piano lessons as a child. In between, she listened to classic rock a la The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell alongside her parents before eventually discovering Feist, Maggie Rogers, and Christine and the Queens. Immersed in acting post-graduation, she launched a successful career highlighted by roles in everything from the touring production of Hair to Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Additionally, she achieved numerous accolades such as a 2018 GRAMMY® Award in the category of “Best Musical Theatre Album” for the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Dear Evan Hansen and a Daytime Creative EMMY® Award in the category of “Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program” for ‘You Will Be Found’ as performed on The Today Show.
During the summer of 2017, she started harboring ideas for songs and reached out to old friend producer Michel Hayaca. Together alongside James Adam Shelley of American Authors, they recorded the tracks that would comprise her 2018 debut EP for S-Curve Records/BMG. Choosing the name Loladre (“Lola” is her childhood nickname and “Dre” nods to the first three letters of her surname), she dove headfirst into bringing this vision to life.
“I had all of these songs in my head,” she goes on. “Michel was able to put what I’d envisioned into his production. When you do something like theater for so long, you spend so much time acting through a character and receiving direction. It’s been really fun, interesting, and wild to figure out who I am as an artist without any character pretenses or script. I chose the name, because it was cool to have something outside of acting that’s purely mine. It’s not a character; it’s me.”
Backed by Michel’s lush and warm electronic production, intimate synths offered the perfect counterpoint for the singer’s strikingly soulful delivery and folksy lyrical spirit. She introduced this signature style with the empowering anthem ‘Be Great’ [feat. Pope]—originally debuted via Complex. Underscored by sparse piano and glitchy snaps, the track illuminates her expansive range, stretching into hypnotic highs as she sings, “They don’t want us to be great, but we’re gonna be.”
“My friends and I used to always say this phrase, ‘They don’t want us to be great’,” she explains. “That can be as deep as haters not wanting your dreams to come true, or it can also be about the MTA not wanting you to get to work on time. When you have a dream and want to do something, so many people will tell you all of the reasons you can’t. They’re just living in fear. Tell them, ‘No’, and do it anyway.”
In the end, she’s using songs like these to share the kind of honest and heartfelt stories that connect for a long time.
“I hope people are inspired and can see themselves in my music,” Loladre leaves off. “The message is twofold. Be your best self and don’t be ashamed of it. Also, it’s, ‘You are not alone.’ You don’t have to feel that way. It’s powerful when you put on music and hear your own story. That’s what I want you to take away.”