Lauren Monroe’s new single “Brave” was written in the wake of the gun violence in early 2022. A message of hope and resilience, the song asks what it means to view radical kindness as an act of bravery in a world where it’s been shunted to the side. Monroe, the wife of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, has worked as a practitioner in the healing arts for 25 years, and her music is an expression of that recovery. For Monroe, healing and music are two sides of the same coin. Both practices are exercises in self-awareness, a face-off with an ever-more alienating world through acts of conscious reckoning. “We have an influence on what we choose to believe is important,” Monroe explains. “We have to have an inner awareness of where we’re blocked, to help people see themselves and have more empathy.”
Monroe firmly believes that the media we engage with profoundly affects the psyches of producer and consumer alike, an impetus which informs much of her work. “When you watch something good you get to feel good in yourself; the more we see that’s positive, the more we listen to that’s positive, guiding us to a place of awakening ourselves to love, the more the world’s going to be that way, that’s going to be the dominant frequency,” she reasons.
There’s an almost scientific approach to Monroe’s musical philosophy: She talks about the somatic experience of absorbing a song, the intentionality behind focusing inward on the effects it has on the body. She remembers meeting Allen as a healer first and a musician second, using drumming as a restorative practice before she showed him her own work. Allen provides percussion on “Brave,” as he does for much of her music.
Drumming has come to facilitate healing for Monroe in more ways than one: she and Allen facilitated 12 Drummers Drumming through Raven Drum Foundation, a collection of artists joined to support the Veteran’s Association in its trauma recovery efforts.
She compares that charitable joy with the feeling of experiencing live music, and of creating it. “You feel really good, your heart explodes, and you feel like everybody here together in the crowd has a unity. When we’re all creating it on purpose, this moment of elevation of healing—it’s 100 times more powerful.”
“Brave” is out today. Listen below.
Watch Monroe and Allen’s recent Paste studio session here.