interview & photographs by Justin Thor Simenson
This article was originally published in May 2014. Cygne continues to tour the US and Europe. Her new album Passenger is now available on iTunes.
In the corner of Zinc Cellar Bar Cygne hooks up her amp and gets ready for a three hour set. It’s another town and another gig on her summer tour which will take her from one coast to the other and back. After ten years of touring solo Laura Meyer recently changed her name to Cygne. Cygne is french for swan, but for Laura it means much more than that. The change is a step to make the music more than just about her. With a new name the music becomes it’s own being. “When I returned to Santa Cruz this winter I began processing what I’d picked up over the course of the year. I started drawing what became the album cover to invoke the divine feminine energy I felt necessary to heal the planet and to heal myself.” Her album “Rise Up” comes out June 10, 2014 under the new name.
When we sat down, I started the conversation with asking her how she has been able to maintain the constant touring for so many years. She replied “the connections I’ve made over the years allow this to happen.” She stays with friends she has made along the way, hotels stays stopped years ago. “I would’ve been broke long ago if I had to pay for hotel rooms every night.” The people she stays with are like an extended family. They invite her into their homes, which at the beginning “was sometimes sketchy” but with time it has become more stable. It is the little things that really makes the difference, Cygne explains “I am able to cook myself dinner because I am in a house”.
Q: Why do you do this?
A: I first and foremost am a fan. I love the feeling of being in a stadium and the band plays their hit and everyone goes wild. Thousands of people with their hair on end and are united. That is really my goal. To unite, connect, and inspire.
Beyond staying with friends, there is also a balance she has found over the years, booking the right amount of shows with having the enough days off in between. “This tour I have probably the most days off, which is scary.” They are important though, because this is when she is able to take time and experience the town she is in or just do some yoga and recenter herself. Even though she has figured out a formula that works, Cygne hopes to soon tour with a drummer and a bass player. But for now, Cygne is spending another summer driving to and playing at big and little venues alike gathering more material for the next album. In her own words “[I am] inspired by the view beyond the windshield and thoughts inside it.”