Aubrey Mable and Kathleen Hooper of the Denver indie-folk duo LVDY met in New Zealand in 2012 on a study-abroad trip, then reconnected in 2017 when a breakup brought Mable to Colorado to stay with Hooper for a while. Although Mable's real-life breakup was sour, it led to a sweet creative partnership between the two musicians.
Hooper has been singing most of her life, and Mable, who has been playing guitar since she was twelve, has been writing songs for more than a decade. Although both write on their own, they mostly collaborate for LVDY (pronounced "Lady").
Their first song, a cover of Cobi's "Don't You Cry for Me," was recorded at a friend's studio in 2018, and their sophomore track, "Dust," was produced while they stood on a skateboard in another friend's closet. They recorded their first EP, Electricity, in 2019 and hit the road to tour in Mable's van, which they dubbed Fitz. They were on the road through 2019, releasing short videos of new covers on their Instagram each week as part of a series they dubbed "Fitz Cover Friday."
For their new album, Gold, which drops April 16, Mable and Hooper walked away from van life and opted to produce the project in a professional recording studio. Although they were ready to take things to the next level in their musical career, they didn't have much disposable cash. Hooper worked for her mother's company, The Confidence Project, and Mable was freelancing in health and wellness. Unable to afford the costs of production, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the album. When the campaign hit $50,000, they FaceTimed each other in tears, knowing that their musical dreams were about to come true.
The Kickstarter victory inspired the song "Saltwater," the last track on the album. "Saltwater drips from my eyes as I realize I get to do this for the rest of my life," they sing, expressing how they felt when they reached their goal.
The momentum hasn't stopped since. "We're gonna be creating as long as people will listen," Hooper says.
For the members of LVDY, the music is more than a job; it's what intertwines their heart and souls, and it's how they share their most intense joys and deepest feelings with others.
In pursuit of an intimate connection with fans, Hooper and Mable prefer playing house shows over large concerts. While touring Colorado's mountain towns, they've played in people's homes and backyards. "We would so much rather play for twenty people in a living room,"notes Hooper.
Mable describes writing music as "an invitation to show up as you are," and performing like "cracking people open." Accordingly, the two friends don't hold back their feelings, bite their tongues or mask any part of their identity. Music allows them to be unapologetically themselves.
In "Concrete Life," they sing about the big exhale that comes at that moment on I-70 when the city finally ends and the mountains come into view, knowing that they're leaving the chaos of the city behind.
The members of LVDY wrote Gold's title track for a roommate of theirs who went through a deep period of depression. "We sat down and wrote a song for her to remind her of her power and her beauty," Hooper says. "It continues to be a powerful song for people who have experienced isolation and loneliness."
"Magic Maker," a track that sounds like it was made for a first dance at a wedding, describes the magical feeling of being in love — getting lost in someone and choosing to be with that person every day.
Both musicians miss being able to sing for people live during the pandemic; after all, performing is about creating a shared space and common energy fueled by the emotions of their music, something they describe as addictive.
"It's like a drug," Mable confirms.
The new album is a big step on LVDY's musical journey.
Although Mable and Hooper prefer small backyard jams, their biggest dream, shared by more than a few Colorado bands, is to perform at Red Rocks. But even then, they hope to create an intimate experience akin to that of a house show — which is exactly what they pulled off on Gold.
Listening to the new album is like sitting in a small room and hearing Mable and Hooper sing a song they just scribbled on a notepad. It's as intimate as it is emotional — and they hope every song feels tailor-made for each audience member.
The best part of making music, concludes Hooper, is when someone asks them: "Did you write that song for me?"
Gold will be out on all streaming platforms on April 16.
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