Interview video by: Lukas Stelter
Oh, lets never go back home/ for I’m still wishful, not yet forlorn
Always hoping that I’ll be/ that glimpse of further
Laura Hempel (Liebeskind) was born in Leipzig and learned how to appreciate art, science and philosophy very early on. Her mother who worked as an art and history teacher taught her to appreciate not only the fine arts but all sorts of artistic forms of expression and performance. Her father, an engineer, always helped with homework in math, biology or physics and told her that if others could understand and observe the schemes and beauty of nature, she could too. He also introduced her to the great authors of the world and the philosophic themes of our existence. That’s why Laura quickly learned to embrace anything that was emotional and smart at the same time whilst being articulate in an artistic way. Her first vernissage she had together with her mother, when she was only 7 years old. She quickly learned how to play the piano, classical training as well as jazz improvisation, she took singing lessons and taught herself how to play the guitar. In 2003 she won first prize at the „Jugend jazzt“ competition of her state together with her jazz ensemble, accompanying her voice on the piano. By that time she had also started to take dancing and acting lessons, wrote her first songs in German, English and even one in French and had been to the USA as a Highschool student for one year to experience a different kind of life. After she finished the German lycée as top student of her grade, she moved to Berlin to study Political Science and German Philology, learning Mandarin Chinese, French and Italien as well as receiving a Scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation for her achievements.
After having satisfied her thirst for philosophic and political topics as well as for foreign languages she went on to study singing, acting and dancing at the Viennese Conservatory, for she felt that this was the profession she really wanted to work in. She followed up the Bachelor program with a Masters degree in musical theatre performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow which she finished with merits in 2011.
Ever since then, Laura has contributed as singer and composer to commercials such as the cinematic MAN spot with former soccer player Oliver Kahn in 2013, as well as to the repertoire of the electro label Ultra Music and two children song albums that got published with Verlag an der Ruhr in 2009 and 2012. Furthermore she opened the Ernst Jandl lyrics festival, initiated by the Austrian federal department for education, won a Musical theatre matters award together with her former colleagues from Glasgow, the original cast of the British musical ‚Wasted Love‘ as well as third prize with her own songs at the International Singers Competition of the Elbe-Elster-Stiftung.
From 2015-2017 she toured Germany with the radio and TV station WDR as actress, multi instrumentalist and dancer for one of their well known comedians ‘Tony Mono’. She did about 60 concerts, playing the piano, bass, guitar, flute or Loop Station, imitating popular singers like Adele, Lana del Rey or Helene Fischer in cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf or Bielefeld.
Since 2016 Laura was able to enhance her work as an actress more and more at the youth theatre of the city of Leipzig. Here she embodied roles such as Lady Milford in Schillers ‚Kabale und Liebe’ as well as Clara Schumann playing the piano. She also released her first and very own album ‚weiter’ on the big stage of this theatre, entertaining her audience not only by singing and dancing, but also with the help of special videos and projections, black light colour and reciting poetry slam lyric whilst doing acrobatics as an aerialist. The music video to her headlining song ‘weiter’ she did with the Parisian haute couture designer Faye Formisano who had previously worked for Dior and Chanel.
She continued to perform her own songs for instance at the prize ceremony of the Saxon ministry for the environment or the Saxon TV awards in 2017 as well as for the equal opportunities office of the university of Leipzig. She also started a reoccurring series of an own show called ‚Bei Hempels aufm Sofa‘ where she invites international musical colleagues to get together, talk, do music and cover from each other in front of a warm hearted audience. For her role in this project as artistic director, host, lyricist, composer and performer, a newspaper called her ‚cult figure of Leipzig‘. In this fashion, she also made it to the yearly finals of the Livelyrixs Poetry Slam 2016 as well as the Song Slam Leipzig 2012.
In 2018 she played the main role as ‚Dota’ in the international lyric documentary on the topic of the Prague spring that is shown on TV and in the cinemas of Germany, Tchech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Later that year she landed a role as singer and ‚diva‘ in the 4 months ensuite production of the renowned Krystallpalast Varieté in Leipzig where she sang mainly 20ies style of songs with her jazz band Swing Delikatessen, but also one of her own songs, ‘Wenn der Wind kommt’, again doing some aerial acrobatics.
For 2019 she will be receiving a stipend by the Kulturstiftung of the Free State of Saxony to work on her second, even more interdisciplinary album called ‚350 millions‘. Here she wants to focus on one of her most favourite, one of the most important topics of all: democracy. She will be working not only as a composer, artistic director, musician and performer in this project that will be influenced by many different styles of music, contradicting and complementing each other. She is also set to work on drawings for each song that will be exhibited at the release concerts to come. A highly complex content needs very different shapes of form. To be that medium, where everything comes together, is what Laura loves most in her work.