Lara Herscovitch wrote her first song when she was eight, and as if it flows through her veins, the inclination to pen music to the guitar and piano has followed her ever since. On the other hand, turning this natural calling to a career took some circumventing across not only several career choices but also across the globe.
"I believe we all end up on a path that we are supposed to be on," she says. She hopes that means her acoustic brand of contemporary folk, which comes flavored with dashes of pop, blues and jazz, will someday satisfy as heronly career. Arriving, though, at the entrance way to this future began in pursuit of a law degree and morphed into a social work career that put her on the ground all over the world with Save the Children.
Upon completing her undergrad degree in political science - all while not noticing that music might have been something to make a career of - she got herself a job in the copy room of a law firm. Moving up to paralegal, she soon got all the education she needed about making a future of the law. "All the lawyers that I worked with hated their jobs," she says.
Left pondering law school, she let her heart start taking her in a direction that was more suited to her mindset of making the world a better place. "I was going to join the Peace Corp," she says, and to firm up her application, she began volunteering in a homeless shelter.
Out of the experience came the realization that, she says, "I can help people and make a living at the same time." She went on to get a masters in social work and was soon making an impact in various locations throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Of course, in accompaniment of the good will went her guitar and song writing acumen.
This conducive arrangement between vocation and avocation would lead to a convergence that turned her world on its head. Loving the career and becoming proficient at music making, things changed when her mother was diagnosed with MS. It slapped me in the face about how fragile life is, she says.
After much contemplation, she decided if she never made an attempt at a music career, she would someday regret it. Still, never having performed for a live audience - save friends and locals from her third world stints - she took to a Stamford open mic and nothing was the same. "I was home. The universe opened up and I said, 'yes this is where you'resupposed to be,'" says the Guilford, Connecticut resident.
In the time since, a transition to full time musician has put her social work on a four-day week and kept it local. "I couldn't really pursue music seriously and do international development," she says but the good work certainly had an impact on her music.
Aside from adding a good deal of depth to her storytelling, the six string she brought to various peoples showed her the universality of music. "It helps me understand how music is a bridge between peoples - regardless of language, culture or race, she says.
But keeping it here, and in the office confines of the community foundation she works for in Bridgeport, gives her the chance to actually see finality in the types of efforts she once made elsewhere. You'd go somewhere, dig into a situation for a month and leave, she says. In this position, she adds, it's the chance to grow something from the beginning and see change over a long period of time.
Nonetheless, her music follows typically along the lines of love songs, family and relationships. Of course, a social conscious more easily enters her music from her experiences but she does it minus taking sides in a partisan manner. I'm not interested in Red and Blue. I'm interested in humans figuring out how to make the planet a better place, she says.
Otherwise, she doesn't limit her songwriting to any particular music genre. Jazz, Blues, Latin, she has named her record company La Rama or the branch to mirror the way she creates music. I love to take the foundations and branch out into new unique directions that meld together, she says.
Likely evident in her upcoming CD, she hopes it launches her career to a new level but completely leaving behind the social conscious is not part of her personal liftoff. In future movements throughout her New England circuit, she's looking into ways to get involved in local communities - especially in regards to juvenile justice. Playing in detention centers or helping young at risk women to explore their creativity, she says, "I'm confident that there is a way to keep both things in my life." So far, there's no reason to think otherwise.