Laura Marano is completing the story.
A year and a half after the Austin & Ally alum released her debut EP ME, she's returned with YOU. The new seven-song collection explores the idea that "there are always two sides to every story," she said in a press release.
And though finishing the sparkling indie-pop set in the midst of quarantine was a unique sort of challenge, Laura admitted, "In a lot of ways, it completely informed the sonics of this EP. For instance, I ended up recording some background vocals on an iPhone for one song, and it actually sounded awesome!"
Along the way, she's turned to her fans for help with the creative process, seeking their involvement on artwork, lyric videos and social media marketing ideas. "I'm so grateful for them," Laura said, "and I'm so excited they can finally enjoy this EP in its entirety!"
Not only can they enjoy YOU, but they can join Laura on The YOU Tour, a series of four unique (and virtual) live performances. Though the first performance took place on Saturday, Oct. 3, each has a 48-hour re-watch window. The remaining three shows will take place on Oct. 10, Oct. 17, and Oct. 24. Tickets for each are available now.
In celebration of the EP's release on Friday, Oct. 2, E! News asked Laura to pull back the curtain on the artists and albums that have influenced her throughout her life and career. From the album she wishes she'd written to the song she hopes she'll never hear again, this is the soundtrack to her life.
The song/album that reminds me of childhood: Blue by Joni Mitchell. My mom is a huge Joni Mitchell fan, and she would constantly play Joni's album when we were in the car. And since we were always driving to auditions—that child actor life—we were in the car a lot.
The first album I remember buying: ...Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. I mean, it was Britney. Enough said.
The song/album people might not expect me to love: To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. It is truly one of the most beautiful, cohesive albums of all time. I already am a huge fan of concept albums, but I feel like Kendrick just took it to another level.
The song/album that makes me think of falling in love: "Beyond" by Leon Bridges. Oh man, this is truly one of my favorite love songs of all time. The first time I ever heard it, I literally had chills all over my body, which doesn't happen to me often. I'm definitely the type of person that gets intimidated by my own feelings, so I just relate to the lyrics so much.
The song/album I turn to when I'm at my lowest: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. This album means a lot to me for so many reasons, but most of all, it reminds me of a really emotional time in my life. Every time I need to cry, that's the song I put on—and the tears start flowing.
The song/album I hope I never hear again: "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran. It's a beautiful song, and I love myself some Ed, but it was so successful that it would play all the time. I feel like it still plays on a couple radio stations I listen to!
If I could only hear one song for the rest of my life, it would be: "Archie, Marry Me" by Flyte. It's just a stunningly beautiful song. It makes me calm, happy, emotional, kind of everything all at once.
My own song that I'll never get tired of performing: "Boombox." The way people light up when I play that song potentially makes me the happiest person in the world. I love that song and my fans' reaction to it so much.
My own song that I'll be happy to retire: "Me and You." I love this song, but I don't really think of it as one of my own. It's from Austin & Ally, which I am so proud of/grateful for, but I don't really think it represents me musically.
The song on my new project that I can't wait for fans to sing along with me on tour: "Something to Believe In." This song means so much to me, even more now than when I wrote it. It's a song about overcoming darkness with someone else and I feel like after this year, that's something we all need. Plus, it has pretty epic gang vocals throughout the song, so that will be super fun to sing along to with my fans!
YOU is available now.