Laura Marano has spent the last year writing songs, recording music, shooting videos, doing press, rehearsing for tour. She might be here; she might be there. She might start early; she may work late. It’s a fluid, mishmashed existence, one that’s standard for musicians.
But for Marano, at 20, it’s not typical at all.
For the five years that came before it – essentially, her entire high school career – Marano had a regimented schedule: She was the co-star of the Disney Channel sitcom “Austin & Ally,” which meant her weeks consisted of working with the same people on the same soundstage on a schedule that was set by the producers.
The schedule was predictable, and so was the result: “Austin & Ally” made Marano famous, giving her a nice leap into the music career that “is a dream come true for me.”
But “Austin & Ally” wrapped one year ago, which means Marano is in control. She’s in control of her time. She’s in control of her music, as much as a signed musician can be. (Marano is with Big Machine Records, which will release her first album later this year.)
She’s in control of her success.
“I’m making my own schedule,” said Marano, whose debut single “Boombox” was recently released. “I’m going to the studio when I want to. I’m doing band rehearsal when I want to. I’m doing all these things I’m in sole control of, which is awesome and scary and crazy and awesome.”
Marano chatted with The News by phone; here are excerpts of the conversation:
Q: What subjects are you exploring in your songwriting?
A: For me, the journey of writing and recording this album, and just transitioning in life – I’m 20 years old, I spent four or five years kind of going to high school, but kind of having a full-time job, and finding myself. This album has a lot of, really, self-empowerment songs. Songs that are about, no matter how many people don’t believe in me, or how many people want to bring me down, I’m going to rise above it and I’m going to keep being me. I love those kinds of songs.
Q: Your teen years were far different from other people’s experience. How do you bridge that gap in your music?
A: Experiences may not be relatable, but emotions always are. I think no matter what, humans all over the world have various experiences, and yet they can have a way to match through art, through emotions, through music. I have very different experiences than my contemporaries and my friends in high school or who I’ve met through college, (but) you still have the same moments of insecurity, the same moments of anguish and angst and happiness and bliss. We all kind of share those moments if not experiences, and I think I can definitely get in touch with emotions, pressures, different things that people might (feel).
Q: You’ve been taking college classes. (Marano is studying politics, philosophy and law at the University of Southern California.) What’s it like to be in the classroom?
A: I’m going part time and I’m probably not going to graduate and get my degree until I’m like 37, but it’s really important to me. I love the experience of being in a classroom, meeting kids and socializing. I haven’t totally lived my frat party life yet because I’ve literally had no time. But it’s been awesome still being in a classroom. I loved learning in that atmosphere. It’s funny: I can perform in front of a bunch of people and feel really confident about it. But there’s something about being in a classroom with a bunch of people and you raise your hand to say something to the teacher and you’re hyperventilating because it’s so nerve-racking. It keeps me grounded. At the end of the day, there’s this whole other world out there that’s not just in my tiny entertainment bubble.
Q: Do you think about the future a lot?
A: For sure. I have to tell myself to stay in the moment, because I am totally the kind of person where I’m like, “In a few months, this needs to happen. And in a year, this needs to happen.” You know what I mean? It’s good to have that. It’s good to have goals. I mean, it’s imperative to have goals. But it’s also equally as important to realize life will take you in the way in it’s going to take you.