Interview: Lorana

Get to know the ace dream pop of our alumna's latest 'Here In Between' EP... 


Master songwriting alumna Lorana has been on a creative roll in recent months, releasing some captivating tracks of dream pop. 

Her latest EP, 'Here In Between' , was recorded and produced by Lorana in her home studio and explores her experiences moving from Belgium to her time in London. 

Ahead of the release, we caught up with our aluma to find out more about her, her music and the experiences behind the EP...

How did you begin your musical journey? 

My first memories of listening to music are driving in our family camper van across Europe. We would listen to albums from my dads’ collection that he deemed worthy of listening to back to back for those long drives. This included a lot of Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, George Michael.

When I turned seven I started playing the flute, but when I realised I liked singing, I turned to the piano. Wanting to be a writer and a singer, I put two and two together and started songwriting. There isn’t really a specific song or person who inspired me first, but I got inspired by a lot of musical moments that triggered a loving feeling in me, which was something I didn’t want to let go off. 

What led you to ICMP from Belgium? What made you want to come to London? 

A year prior to moving to London, I spent the summer here in an Airbnb in Putney with a beautiful family.

When I graduated from uni in Belgium later that year, I wanted to continue my studies with a masters in songwriting. That’s a course we don’t have back home, so my decision to move here was a bit of a no-brainer. I already knew I loved the city and I wanted to challenge myself, so I took the leap and crossed the Channel.

How were you learning songwriting at ICMP? What were the most important things you learned? 

I don’t know where to begin! There are so many useful skills and techniques I took away from my year at ICMP. However, I think the biggest thing I learned was how to develop and maintain my creative process.

Realising songwriting is like training a muscle really motivated me to keep pushing my boundaries. I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever at school, so I was very keen to keep discovering new aspects of songwriting, and I still am!"

Could you talk a little about this new EP? What are the songs about and how was it made? 

Of course! I really like writing around a concept. The running theme of my 'Here In Between' EP is finding balance between different dualities. The title track, which is also the opener, is about becoming an adult. It’s about that feeling of knowing where you’re headed and knowing where you come from, but every now and then getting lost ‘in between’. 'Moonwater' on its turn, is about the highs and lows in my emotions and how I’m learning to accept them.

Next is my song 'Am I?' which translates my love for music and questions if that love can ever grow too big. The fourth track on the EP, '3 Words', is the most intimate and vulnerable of them all. I wrote it for my mom and dad, in my old attic bedroom, when I got overwhelmed by the fear of losing them. Lastly, I’m closing the EP with 'Countless First Times'. That song is about my hometown and how I started to see it in a different light after moving away. Whenever I go back now, I get overwhelmed with beautiful nostalgia, which is something I’ve come to cherish a lot! 

I’ve written, recorded and produced these tracks myself, which is something I’m quite proud of. For this first EP, I really wanted to push my own boundaries to discover what I’m capable of on my own. It was a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. For the production for example, I used homemade samples, like the sound of my microwave, my window blinds, a peacock ... which I turned into percussion, drums and synth sounds. All of this experimentation helped me to pull the listener closer into my world. I think it all feels very personal and vulnerable in a strong way, which is something I’m super happy with!


How do you approach the creative process? Have you a way into your music making? 

As mentioned before, I like to start with concepts. I usually have a thought whirling around for days - if not weeks - before it makes its way to my notebook.

I think that’s why I like starting with lyrics. When I have a rough outline, I turn to my piano and start playing around and singing the lyrics very intuitively. I almost always write the acoustic song in one go. Next, I let it sit for a little while. Once I revisit it, I quite quickly understand what I like about the song and what needs changing. Then comes the redrafting where I craft the acoustic song until it feels ready in its naked form. Later, I start producing it and experimenting with sound to see how I can translate the emotions of the lyrics to the sound world. I keep tweaking this until there’s nothing more I can do myself. Lastly, I might sit with an extra producer to push it even further before sending it off for mixing and mastering. It’s a whole process, but I quite like all those different steps, they keep it exciting!

What's the best piece of advice you'd give any aspiring songwriters/artists? 

Do it because you love doing it. Do it because your art might help and inspire others. Don’t focus on the outcome, because the future will forever be unpredictable and out of reach. Focus on honing your craft and enjoy doing it right now."

Who are your biggest musical inspirations? 

Oh there are so many! Bon Iver, Lorde and Maggie Rogers are always my go-to when people ask me this question. On the other hand there’s a whole range of artists that play a part in certain situations or time periods. I’m thinking about Bleachers, FINNEAS & Billie Eilish, Orla Gartland, Sigrid, Naaz, Holly Humberstone, Sasha Sloan, Emily Burns ... I could keep going! 

How important has London been in shaping your musical journey? 

Very! Especially on the 'Here In Between' EP all the songs translate my biggest emotions and experiences I encountered when I moved away from home, to another country. I think that might be something other ICMP students can relate to as well. Apart from being inspired by changes in my personal life, the city has a lot to offer! There are opportunities around every corner and so many like-minded people to be found. On the other hand having more opportunities translates in more people going after those same opportunities. You can see that as a downside, or you can use it as another stimulant to work even harder. I think I’ll go with the latter! London is challenging, but in a good way. 

Your songs have performed well on Spotify. How do you gain traction on the service as a new artist? 

It’s hard to tell what exactly helped gain traction. What I do know is that I’ve been doing all I could. From reaching out to blogs, playlisters and radio stations, to making sure my social media looks on point and creating visual assets like music videos and more. I think a lot of it has to do with building a story and leaving a trail. When someone finds your music, they immediately need to get a sense of who you are, so they can easily make up their mind about you. It’s about being visible and staying active.

What does the future have in store for you and your music?

A lot of exciting things are in the air. I’m working on new music, I’m looking to get into sessions with people, I’m working on creating a team around my project, ... Now that the Here In Between EP is out in the world, I feel like there’s a bigger space that opened up, for me to explore and experiment!

Visit for more information. Listen to the EP 'Here in Between' below: 

Follow Lorana on Spotify.

Main photo: Isy Townsend, other photo: Arthur Coppens

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by Jim Ottewill
October 30, 2020
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