THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Growing up, Lauran Hibberd was a “cork-head” — otherwise known as “a person who was born on the Isle of Wight,” she clarifies. “Everyone laughs at us because we’ve never been in a big ASDA store,” the musician adds with a laugh. “We’re still in 2001.”
As a kid, she lived next door to a surreal tourist attraction called the Dinosaur Farm; a maze of old fossils, plastic caves, and motion-activated T-Rex roars. Her first job was cleaning the museum’s dinosaur eggs with a toothbrush; later, she got a gig microwaving spag bol in a seaside cafe. “Somebody once said to me ‘compliments to the chef,’ ” she recalls.
Still based there, Hibberd loves the island’s pace, and her music — charged with deliciously quick wit — draws on its many idiosyncrasies. She views her hometown with a protective fondness. Case in point: The town’s unofficial anthem. “It’s the worst song I’ve ever heard,” she laughs. “They play it on all the ferries. I’ll be there on the midnight ferry with shit cup of tea, watching Derek Sandy sing ‘Welcome to the Isle of Wight.’ I think: This is England.”
As a teenager, she listened to Galaxy FM and worshipped at the altar of One Direction — “it taught me how to write a catchy chorus,” she points out. “I love pop music.” Chair of her own eight-member strong Jacqueline Wilson fan-club, Hibberd “nearly passed out” when she met the author, and meanwhile wrote her own “weird trilogy of books called Daisy Chains” about life on the Isle of Wight.
Later, a mixture of curiosity and sheer boredom prompted Hibberd to pick up a guitar — and she immediately found that music lent itself to her knack for witty, observational storytelling. “I like to find the things that would normally gross people out, or things that the average person might look past,” she says.
Originally, Hibberd toyed with folk — and soon caught support from two key figureheads in the Isle of Wight’s small, but influential music scene. Isle of Wight Festival boss and Bestival founder Rob Da Bank both helped out early on by booking her — she ended up opening Bestival’s main stage at 18 after winning a competition. Soon, she was able to head into the studio to record her early tracks — and that’s where everything changed. A producer handed her an overdrive pedal and a copy of Weezer’s The Blue Album. “That was me converted,” she says. “I remember I got that CD stuck in my car for a year of my life.”
Pondering what kind of artist she wants to be, Lauran Hibberd has a typically succinct, and slightly strange, answer at the ready that somehow manages to tie everything neatly together. “I like to think of myself as One Direction for children that want to pretend they’re alternative,” she says. “I want teenage girls to come to my shows and bring their dads who will stand at the back like ‘Oh god, can’t wait for this to be over,’ and the girls at the front. And then I want the dad to be like, ‘Oh, actually this is quite good.’
“The dad and daughter combo,” she grins. “That’s the golden spot.”