Singer Lauren Anderson began performing as a solo act in house shows around the Chippewa Valley. She then teamed up Josh Frederick and Elliot Heinz to form the indie folk-rock band, Idle Empress.
Heinz credits his passion for music to growing up in Eau Claire.
“I remember being fourteen and going downtown and seeing signs for shows for the first time, and those first moments of just understanding the wealth of music that we have in our city,” Heinz said.
Anderson, who wrote Idle Empress’s music during her solo career, also feels a sense of community and belonging when on stage that helps with her social anxiety.
“I’m really shy and talking is not the easiest thing for me, but music just makes sense to me,” Anderson said. “It’s easier for me to speak with music than with words, and so I feel more at home with a guitar in my hands.”
It was not always easy though, as Anderson struggled to control her nerves before going on stage when she first started playing shows.
“After the first few times I performed it got a lot easier, but I used to get really sick before shows,” Anderson said.
Now, with the support of her two other band members and the wider Eau Claire music community, Anderson and Idle Empress have found a home and comfortable environment to express themselves in.
“There’s this huge community of everyone that supports each other. Once you’re in it, you feel a lot of love,” Heinz said.
This story was produced in partnership with Set List, WPR’s summer music series.