Sunday, October 28, 2012

HEAR THIS/INTERVIEW: Lauren Mayhew Causes 'Mayhem'

Please excuse my utter excitement but you have officially stumbled upon an artist that I have a long standing connection with.
Lauren Mayhew, an actress, television host and musician, has recently unveiled her latest solo exploit via the 2012 EP Welcome To My Mayhem, released under her new stage moniker 'Mayhem', a play on her last name. The 6-track EP  (with one additional remix) fits in quite nicely to this electro-soaked dance-obsessed pop music landscape -- much of it would read quite nicely into any dance club playlist ("Turn Me On" or "I'm Not Her" comes to mind), and is available for purchase on iTunes. The sound is decidedly more of a fusion of crunchy electric guitar with dance music. According to Lauren herself, its akin to Lady Gaga mixed with Joan Jett.
However, press rewind for a sec back more than ten years ago to 1999. Lauren first made her splash onto the pop music scene as 1/4 of the girl group PYT, an Epic Records signee made up of four real-life BFFs from Tampa. I first came in contact with the girls that year when I saw them open for 98 Degrees and Britney Spears in a one-off joint concert at the New York State Fair (the other opening act: No Authority -- ahh, the late 90's). I immediately snapped up their single, "Something More Beautiful" and became an ardent fan, as the group felt like a celebrity version of myself and my friends -- it was made up of girls in their teenage years and all for of them were just a few months older than I was. Two years later, the group released their debut album, PYT (Down With Me), and two music videos ("Down With Me" -- still my jam -- and "Same Ol' Same Ol'") before calling it quits. Lauren and grouppmate Lydia Bell branched off with their own duo pop group, dubbed Turning Pointe, before the lights on that also went dark and Lauren began focusing on acting and her own education, graduating from UCLA.
Since those many moons ago, Lauren has been wheeling and dealing -- whether it's appearing in a handful of films and television (most recently on Showtime's Dexter), as an entertainment hosting correspondent for the likes of "Access Hollywood" or FOX Entertainment in Japan, or even as a ring-side announcer for the WWE. Um, that's what we call range. Lauren isn't satisified with just one label in the entertainment world, she wants to do it all. As Mayhem, she's recently completed a tour in Asia (I love it when my musical words collide).

Take a look at her recent music video for "Look Inside", available on the EP Welcome to My Mayhem. (You rock that eyepatch, girl!)

As a longtime fan of Lauren from her PYT days of olde (I'll be honest when I say, Lauren was my fave -- curly haired chicks need to stick together), I was so psyched to get to ask her a few questions about her acting career as well as her current transformation as Mayhem. Make sure you check out the full EP Welcome to My Mayhem on iTunes, CD Baby and Spotify, as well as follow Lauren on Twitter via @LCMayhew. Thanks so much, Lauren!
MEL: You are the ultimate Triple Threat with regular gigs hosting, acting and performing your own music. Which area do you feel most comfortable?
Lauren: I love them all for different reasons. I think they each fulfill a separate side of my personality. Hosting - my outgoing nature, Music - my expressive and creative side, and Acting - my desire to explore other lives, worlds, people, emotions and escape to someone else's life.

In terms of your acting, can you tell us a little bit about your recent experience with "Dexter"? What was the cast like on set?
The cast was amazing. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are true professionals. I became closest with Matt Gerald, who plays my killer- love interest. He was a ton of fun on set. We were jamming out to music while getting ready in hair and makeup.

You've recently unveiled your musical alter-ego as 'Mayhem', a decidedly edgy sound. What inspired this project?
I love EDM. And I love rock music. Fuse the two together and the 'Mayhem' sound was born. I think the international EDM sound is something people around the world relate to. I just wanted to put my own stamp on it by sprinkling it with live edgy electric guitar riffs that'll get caught in your head.

Which song off the 'Welcome To the Mayhem' project is your personal favorite and why?
Probably "I'm Not Her." I feel like you can't help but dance once that beat drops. Also, I think the message is important. People shouldn't hold others accountable for mistakes that they didn't make. They should start each relationship as a fresh beginning.

What is your process like in the studio? Are you more of a studiohead or a live performance
kind of person?

I love both, but NOTHING is better than performing live and feeding off of a crowd.

Lauren Mayhew for T-5, a jewelry line in Japan. For more info, click here.

You've been spending quite a bit of time in Asia. What's that been like in comparison to the music/Hollywood scene here in the US? Any musical acts over there you've been enjoying?
Asia has been a wonderful experience. Most of the stuff I have been working on has been in Japan. I did a 7 date tour in of the Tokyo clubs, hosted a show called "Backstage Pass" for FOX INTERNATIONAL, and am also going to be the face of new jewelry line : T-5. Their stuff is amazing! Each piece is custom picked out specifically to your birthdate to give you luck! The music scene there is pretty rad. There's a lot of old school bands I liked when I was younger that I got to see as Simple Plan. :) I saw them perform, and then they came and saw me. :)
PYT L to R: Tracy, Lauren, Ashley & Lydia
I was first introduced to you more than ten years ago (can you believe it's been that long?!) through PYT in 1999. Do you still keep in touch with the other ladies?
Here and there. I used to speak to Tracy [Williams] {also pursuing a solo music career} the most. They were my absolute best friends, but we are now scattered all over the US, so it's not as easy to keep in touch.

If you could go back in time and give yourself and your former groupmates any words of advice gained from your years working in the industry since your initial debut, what would it be?
Enjoy EVERY second. Even the worst times.

In a Dream Scenario, if you could collaborate musically with one artist and score a leading role with one actor/actress, who would it be?
VERY hard. Before my musical dream collaboration would've definitely been Michael Jackson, but since his death, I'd say Tiesto. I respect and love dance music. And I love fusing it with other forms and genres. Acting wise, I'd say Nick Cage or Cherlize Theron. They have been two of my most favorite actors for a long time.

As 'Mayhem', your music is decidedly confident and strong -- and is likened to Joan Jett. As a young female artist, do you feel its important to be a positive role model?
Of course. No one is perfect. Artists are just people at the end of the day like everyone else who make mistakes, etc., but I do try my best to infuse a strong persona especially for younger women.

What is one album (past or present) that you feel is an absolute MUST for a fan of Mayhem/Lauren Mayhew?The one that is out on CD baby now "Welcome to the Mayhem" I'd say is the must get. But there is also 'Mayhem in the Movies,' which is a mish-mosh of alot of my popular music that I have licensed to TV and film. This has a BUNCH of fun songs that are not neccessarily 'MAYHEM' in style, but does show fans my large passion for many different types of music and how each allows me to take on a different a new character in a film.

Be honest - name one song/artist that is your favorite guilty pleasure.
Hilary Duff. She gave me her last CD at her listening party in LA, and I played it on my playlist for a few months non-stop!

Message for your fans?
Thanks so much for supporting me. Please check out my new music on ITUNES and CD BABY. You can always tell me what you think on twitter (@LCMAYHEW), I love talking to my fans and hearing your comments! :)

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