Lauryn Marie Hedges, 19, is known around Pleasanton as the young songstress who regaled everyone with "Our Home," a song she wrote and performed as the city celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2019.
"What a place to live -- In Pleasanton," she sang at anniversary gatherings and in a video made for the occasion.
Since then, she has graduated from high school and gone off to college, singing and composing all the way.
"I've been singing pretty much my whole life," said Lauryn Marie, who performs under this name. "I started piano in the second grade, and wrote my first song when I was 11."
"I moved around a lot growing up and moved here from Indiana in middle school -- I went to Harvest Park for only a semester, then went to high school at Amador," she recalled.
Soon after moving to Pleasanton, she released her first song, "Lemon Tree," and began posting songs on her YouTube channel.
"I started in the eighth grade with one nice microphone and have done research and found what things help me create better," Lauryn Marie said. "I bought a pair of nice speakers for my last recording."
She joined Pleasanton's High School Music Collaborative and through that worked in a range of musical programs at the Firehouse Arts Center.
"That was where I met people with the same interests as me," she said. "I feel like a lot of us songwriters and singers sit alone in our bedroom. It's great to get everybody out and together and have everybody share that."
Lauryn Marie left last fall to attend Belmont University in Nashville, where she is majoring in songwriting and minoring in music business. About half of the classes were online, she said, but she was thrilled to be there and living in a dorm.
"I've met so many other singers and songwriters who are so creative and so encouraging," she said. "It's amazing to get to bounce ideas off each other."
"High School Musical Collaborative was helpful because Nashville is so focused on collaborating, with an advanced understanding of how to do that," she added.
Lauryn Marie has just released her second EP, "Lifetime," a collection of five songs she wrote in her freshman year of college.
"It includes stories of memories that won't go away, toxic relationships, walking alone at night, spider-like people and imaginary lifetimes, set to the sound of muted guitars, lo-fi synths, and beautiful strings played by my friend and fellow artist Elizabeth Piper," she explained.
"They're all very personal to me," she said. "With a lot of my music, I want to let people know they are not alone in having these difficult feelings. Even when I sing about something difficult, in the last chorus I try to give people a little bit of hope."
One song on her new EP, "Daisy," was inspired by the old beloved "Bicycle Built for Two."
"I started thinking, 'What if the guy singing was kind of crazy, not good for this girl?'" she said with a laugh.
At the beginning of the summer, Lauryn Marie performed in the Courtyard Concert Series at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore.
"The live audience was fun, and my family and friends came," she said, but noted it was weird having everyone in masks that hid their expressions.
"I would love to play live more but with the pandemic I've done a lot of livestreaming on my YouTube channel," she said.
Lauryn Marie said she considers herself a writer and storyteller first.
"When I was really little, I wanted to be an author," she remembered. "Then I learned I could put music to it. I always liked to write lots of different things and put a purpose and a meaning behind it.
"I love seeing people enjoy my songs and how they tell me their own stories and relate to my journey. It's crazy how thoughtful people can be."
Lauryn Marie said she might have liked the music industry more before the days of social media since she does not enjoy having to promote herself on Instagram and other platforms.
"But," she added, "it's so easy to make music on a computer -- I love getting to record and build a song, adding different instruments and seeing it come to life."
Lauryn Marie is grateful when people give her songs a chance.
"It's amazing," she said. "I appreciate even if one person takes the time to listen."
Lauryn Marie's releases are available at https://lnkfi.re/lifetime. "Our Home: Pleasanton's 125th Anniversary Music Video" is on YouTube.