An Interview with Laura Dengler


Where do your roots lie? Where are you from?

I’m not sure if I should I say Pennsylvania or Florida. I was born in Florida, but I moved to Pennsylvania when I was 7. I’ve spent most of my life in a quiet little town called Etters in Central Pennsylvania.

When did your love of music first start and what initiated it?

It started with singing, and I can’t say that there’s really an “aha” moment. I’ve always loved singing since I can remember. I played violin from 4th grade to 8th grade, and sometime in between that my grandpa gave me my first guitar. I started taking lessons for guitar the summer before 9th grade. I feel like my appreciation for music became deeper once I started learning guitar. I began to pay more attention to the content of the songs and how the artists were playing their parts once I understood the challenges that come with songwriting.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Gavin DeGraw has always been my biggest influence, because he writes his own songs and doesn’t use autotuned vocals. His songs are real, and I feel like that’s reflected in his fan base with the type of people that gravitate to him. I’ve listened to him since before I started playing guitar. He also plays guitar and piano like I do, so I like to think that I’m somewhat like him.

What inspired you to play guitar and perform for audiences?

I’ve always wanted to play for audiences. Before I could play guitar or piano I imagined myself singing on stage. I would perform in talent shows and musicals because I didn’t need to play any instruments to participate. One day my Grandpa took me down to the basement to look for an old guitar. When we found it, even though it had been down there a while it was actually brand new. He gave me the guitar, a case, a tuner, strings, the whole package. He told me that if I learned how to play it I could keep it. The guitar was so beautiful I just had to learn to play it. I still have this guitar today.

How do you choose the songs you cover? How do you know they’re right for the crowd?

I feel like I have a very good variety of genres in my set list. I think this allows me to appeal to a larger crowd, because chances are they will hear a song they know. I usually make sure that I can match the range of the vocalist before I decide to learn it on guitar. I try to pick songs to cover that are fun. I want people to be able to have a good time and sing along. If I play a song that has meaning, it’s usually one of my originals.

How much do you draw from your personal life in your songwriting?

A lot. I’ve written about people that have come in and out of my life. I’ve written songs to help people get through tough situations while trying to visualize what they’re feeling. I hope to inspire people by writing songs that anybody could to relate to.

What are your plans for the future?

As of now it’s a big goal to graduate college. After, I would like to see where I could go with a music career. I struggle with knowing how hard it is to make it in the music world, but it is something I’ve dreamed of since I was very little. I get a lot of support from my friends and family about how I could succeed. Everyone is always telling me, “Don’t forget to give us a shout out when you’re famous!” I’ll get a head start now. Shout out to my river rats!