Girls to the Front: An Interview with Lauren Alexander of The Cerabellas

By Carlee Griffin

All through the month of March, Indie Jones is celebrating National Women’s History Month with our local women in music. In our “Girls to the Front” series, we ask local female musicians about what inspires them to contribute to our live music scene in the Bradenton + SRQ area.

Lauren Alexander is the lead vocalist in the Bradenton based band “The Cerabellas”. Described as “music that makes you want to dance and pairs well with beer”, we at Indie Jones caught up with Lauren after her show at Cock and Bull in SRQ to talk about music and celebrate talented women everywhere.

IJ: Hello, Lauren. How was tonight’s show?

Lauren: We had such a great time playing tonight at Cock and Bull. I felt like I was prepared but I still get self-conscious. I just figure we are all here to see live music, so we are gonna do great! We all had fun and tonight and the show was definitely empowering.

It’s so funny to hear that you would get self-conscious on stage. You’re very talented. Do you have stage fright?

Honestly, my biggest worry is that I don't come through as authentic and real. I want people to feel my music and groove, relax, dance if you want to - all that. That’s my main goal: I want people to just let loose and really have fun. I get more joy out of that then just performing.

Talk to me about your roots in music. When did you start singing?

I have sung all my life but it’s always been a hidden thing. I sang in the shower, or in my room alone, but I wasn’t ever pushed or encouraged to perform professionally until recently.

How long have you been with The Cerabellas?

They formed as a four-piece before I was in it. JB, our rhythm guitarist, would sit in the car and listen to music and just sing to each other. Eventually, he asked me “Why aren’t you doing anything with this? Why is no one hearing your voice?” and that’s how I got on board. We did a little jam session and the rest is history.

What do you think about the Florida music scene right now in our area?

It’s hard because there just aren’t enough venues, but it’s made us musicians get creative. We can play in bowling alleys, retail spaces - anywhere there’s room. I wish more businesses would recognize the value of hosting live music. It really does benefit everyone.

How do you feel that other women creating art help the scene survive?

The power behind the voices of women that inspire me is what drives me to sing, too. Amy Winehouse, Adele - their voices really speak to me. Janis Joplin, Florence + the Machine, Aretha - there is so much incredible influence from women making music. Locally, I think Dana Laag of The Pretty Dirties is amazing. She’s so comfortable onstage and makes me feel like I can get there, too. I want to have that same kind of stage presence.

But you have that same magic, you know.

I’m self-conscious, but I'm learning and I'm growing and just trying to put myself out there. I’m interested in doing some side projects soon. I love music. Period. As long as I can feel something or take something from it, it matters to me. That’s something I would like to do for other people.

What can people in your community do to support you as an artist?

Just listen to my music. Come to the shows. Tell me you enjoyed it. That encourages me and makes me want to keep it up. I have a lot of personal self-doubts and I’m still learning. It’s fun and frustrating and amazing all at the same time. It’s hard for me to get out what I need to say but when I’m up there on stage with my band it’s fun. We have a good time.

What do you think about women becoming more involved in their local music scene?

I think it’s awesome and I’m like “Yes, please, take over and reign where you belong!”

I feel like there are more women that speak up for themselves and others, but there’s also a beautiful movement of men and the queer/trans community really being advocates and allies for women. We create our own community in a way and it’s really special in so many ways. Women coming up is just a beautiful thing.

Listen to The Cerabellas here.

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This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Independent Jones