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For performing artists, the year 2020 was a year of change, of pivoting and re-invention. Former Connecticut State Troubadour Lara Herscovitch has been navigating her path in the same way she always does – by focusing on contribution and service.
In addition to releasing a new album and performing in concert online all year, she also unexpectedly turned to publishing. This month, she released her new, uplifting storybook for inspiration – in a time when it is needed more than ever.
While the book is fun and joyful, Herscovitch says it also carries a serious, underlying message of courage and hope. “I want to live in a world where we lift each other up, help each other be our best selves and share our superpowers. The world needs us, and we need each other. The byline is: Be who you are, Do what you love, Share your superpowers. I hope the book and story helps inspire readers and listeners to appreciate and share their gifts.”
Her new album, Highway Philosophers, was released in early April of 2020, as the first wave of COVID-19 was sweeping across the globe. The work has received critical acclaim: The Boston Globe called her “a luminous voice and a buoyant stage presence… big-hearted lyrics embrace the sum of life… Herscovitch’s music blows on the embers of a lagging spirit or dormant creative life.”
In a normal year, she would be touring across the country. But after the pandemic cancelled or postponed all in-person events, Herscovitch instead performed concerts from her home studio, calling the series “Songs From Seclusion.” She also worked with long-time collaborator and animator Matt Rasch of Michigan, to create a music video for her song “Shine Sister Shine” (you can see the music video on her YouTube Channel). And then, with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign and in partnership with Design Monsters in New Haven, she turned the music video into a hard-cover, full-color illustrated storybook, released on New Year’s Day.
Herscovitch explained that she wrote the song on a day she felt tired. “It’s written from the perspective of the sun. She’s weary, because she never gets to sleep or take a break. When we’re sleeping here, she’s still working on the other side of the globe. She’s exhausted, and forgot what she loves about her life and work. By the end of the song and story, she remembers. And I hope the reader will remember too – whether they’re four or a hundred and four.”
Herscovitch earned a policy MSW at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work (she was recently profiled by UConn Today), focusing in the U.S. and abroad on education, community development, environmental protection, and justice system reform. She has seven full-length albums to her credit, tours regularly, and was honored to serve as Connecticut State Troubadour (2009-2010). More information can be found at LaraHerscovitch.com.