Bayonne resident and R&B recording artist Alaura Lovelight is looking to empower others with her “You Matter Movement.”
Lovelight caught up with the Bayonne Community News about her recent work with mental health and school children as part of the “You Matter Movement.” She is a newer transplant to the state, but she is not unfamiliar with New Jersey, since her family is originally from here.
“I moved to Bayonne a year ago from Atlanta,” Lovelight said. “I have traveled a lot, but I found my way to New Jersey.”
Growing up with music
Lovelight’s family has always been a big influence on her. Her mother is a musician, too. She said her mother was a very talented piano player, and at a young age Lovelight sought to learn from her.
“I begged her to teach me and she said to wait,” she said. “Then I was trying to teach myself, and she said would teach me.”
Since the age of four, Lovelight has been playing the piano with the help of her mom. By age 11 or 12, she started to write songs and explore her talent with other instruments including the violin, the guitar, and the saxophone.
Lovelight’s passion for music continued through middle school and high school, and she eventually went to college for music. She got her bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Northwestern University in St. Paul, Minn.
Seizing an opportunity
After graduation, Lovelight moved to Los Angeles. There she worked in Hollywood, writing music for a film composer. While working in the million-dollar studio for that composer, she was able to get in the booth whenever she wanted.
“I ended up working on a studio album,” she said. “That’s when I decided I really wanted to take a stab at being an artist. And I’ve done that ever since.”
Eventually, she came to found her own company, Lovelight Sound Music in 2008.
“I really did it because I was about to put a new album out and they asked if it had a record label,” she said. “And I said it was mine. So I filed the LLC and established the company just so I could put the name on the record. But it turned into this whole entity of its own. And I love it.”
From there, Lovelight began to blossom further, from being a recording artist with her own record label, to becoming a motivational speaker. It came from a song initially written for someone else, entitled “You Matter.”
“Somebody had asked me to write it, which is ironic because it never got used for that project,” she said. “But everything unfolded the way it was supposed to. I was asked to write a song that was empowering, and I thought, what could I do that will really encompass everybody?”
Lovelight decided to embrace the song as her own, planning for an elaborate music video featuring scenes from her life. She then said the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February of 2018 really impacted her and prompted a change in the video.
“I threw everything out and contacted a school in Connecticut, which is in the area where I was living at the time, and I asked them if they would participate,” she said. “From there, I went to about five schools. I went to a reintegration program with men who were formerly incarcerated. I went to see the church elders of a big church in the area. I just wanted to get as many people in the video that I could and have them tell their story.”
Lovelight continued: “I felt like maybe this kid who brought a gun to school, maybe this movement is going to impact somebody that they’re going to decide they don’t want to do that.”
From recording artist, to motivational speaker
Lovelight stayed on the path of empowerment, going on to become a motivational speaker teaching vocal empowerment classes online amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“They started as teen classes,” she said. “During the pandemic, I created a course called ‘Unseen to Queen’ and taught it online. It was a bunch of teen girls who just loved music and feel like they matter through music. So we foster that.”
The class teaches fundamentals of how to write a song and how to perform on stage. The other part of the class is how to prevent fear from stopping musicians from getting on stage and being confident, which Lovelight said translates to other areas of life.
“I get a lot of people who come to me who love music, but they need a space to feel like they belong,” she said. “They need a space because they love to do music but don’t have the confidence.”
Soon, the classes grew to encompass more than just teenagers. Lovelight now teaches her vocal empowerment classes in person in Bayonne at Latin Groove Dance Academy at 398 Broadway. For more information, go to lovelightsoundmusic.com/new-jersey-classes.
“I had a lot of adults in Bayonne contact me, wanting to join the class,” she said. “So it turned into an adult empowerment class as well. There’s a women’s-only one, and a co-ed one.”
‘Eroticy’ brings new life to ‘You Matter’
Lovelight aims to continue her streak of empowerment with her latest single “Eroticy.” It came out in September of 2021 and has been making waves on over 100 radio stations across 18 different countries and has gotten over 5,000 views on You Tube.
“The premise of that song is still empowerment and feeling good about yourself and confident,” she said.
It was this song’s rising popularity that prompted fans to look into Lovelight’s old work, breathing new life into her old song “You Matter” and the corresponding movement.
“We visited a few schools right away, then COVID-19 hit,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything with the movement. Then my current single Eroticy has caused a lot of people to want to know about all my music and dig up the ‘You Matter Movement.’ They really loved it.”
Riding on that, Lovelight decided it was time to bring back the “You Matter Movement.” Recently, she visted Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell, reinvigorating the movement but this time in the Garden State.
“That was the first time that we brought that to a New Jersey school,” she said. “They’ve been so receptive that they want me to come back and do a week-long program.”
Promoting mental health among youth
According to Lovelight, the goal of the program is to promote mental health and sharing.
“I have the kids write stuff down anonymously so that they feel open to share,” she said. “They I ask the kids if they can relate. And it just opens up a conversation and that space for the kids to feel like that matter.”
Post-COVID-19, mental health issues in schools is obviously an important issue to address. And Lovelight is open to bringing her workshop to Bayonne.
“I love Bayonne,” she said. “I moved to Bayonne because I wanted to be in your family and I wanted to be close to New York. It’s very similar to my hometown of Westerly, Rhode Island. So I would love to tap into Bayonne as much as possible.”
Lovelight said she is open to visiting any school in New Jersey, and hopes to continue to spread her message of positivity. Her last name is fitting as she is looking to bring love and light to each community under the “You Matter Movement.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.