We all love playing for Laura Pursell! She is the musicians' singer. Laura is one of us - She thinks, sings, and phrases like a musician..."
- Billy Paul, Drummer
Laura is at home singing with a solo guitar or a 32-piece orchestra.
What started out as coffee house gig with a jazz duo on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997 rapidly progressed into a series of concerts, benefits and appearances culminating in a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville with her father, pianist Bill Pursell. In 2001, she had the honor of singing for Betty and President Gerald Ford in Palm Springs.
Over the years, Laura has recorded and performed with some of the greatest and accomplished jazz musicians on the West Coast, including legendary drummer Earl Palmer; guitarists Ron Anthony, Barry Zweig, Ron Eschete, Doug MacDonald & Larry Koonse; pianists George Gaffney, Ross Tomkins, Marty Harris, Karen Hernandez and Richard Eames; trumpeters Carl Saunders and Wayne Bergeron; trombonist Andy Martin; saxophonists Rusty Higgins and Brandon Fields; bassists Trey Henry, Dave Carpenter…and countless others.
She has performed live in St. Petersburg, Russia; Dublin, Ireland; Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Nashville, Savannah, San Antonio, and more. Over the years she has recorded 5 CD albums, appeared with Gary Tole’s “Legends of Swing” Orchestra, and Doug MacDonald’s 13-piece "Jazz Coalition”. She currently performs every Thursday night at Mixology 101 in the Grove in LA with a stellar jazz trio.
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At 18, Laura was cast as Dick Van Patton’s niece in a nationally televised Christmas special, “The Gift of Song”, starring a host of country music stars. Relocating to LA in the early 90’s, she studied at the South Coast Repertory and Beverly Hills Playhouse and has starred in dozens of stage productions all over LA, including "Blue Moon Dancing" by Ed Graczyk, "In the City for the Summer” (“Variety" singled out her gritty performance), and the farcical, outrageous "And Then There was Nun" which played to sold out houses for 2 extensions, where she did a hilarious send-up of Gloria Swanson.
She was a member of the Company of Angels, LA's oldest repertory theatre, for 8 years, winning a Dramalogue Award for her saucy, sword-wielding performance in the main stage production of “Zastrozzi”. She appeared in an iconic video for Weird Al Yankovic, spoofing Tanya Harding in the "Mmmm Mmmm" song (where she did her own figure skating). She appeared in several episodes of "Days of Our Lives" and had a small but pivotal role in "The Landlady" starring Talia Shire.
In 2013, Laura was cast as one of the three leads in a hilarious coming-of-middle-age web series called "Living the Dream" available for viewing on YouTube. In 2015, she played opposite Richard Lucas in "Only the Moon Howls", a dramatic and moving one act which won the Encore! Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The performance was singled out for its "deep emotional access" and hailed as "heartbreaking", "truthful", "sensitive" and "vulnerable". The film version of the piece is planned for late 2015.
After studying songwriting with Harriet Shock and Jai Josefs, she began working with British songwriter/composer Chris Cutler, shaping demos for other songwriters. Realizing they had hit upon a unique writing and production style, a blend of British rock and jazz, they wrote and produced their own song, “Found”. The recording was released on iTunes, and a video for the tune was filmed in 2001. She also worked with Matt Malley, founding member and bass player for the Counting Crows, co-writing and recording a handful of tunes which Matt produced.
In 2007, Andrew Bonime of Cloudshine Music approached Laura to write lyrics to pre-existing melodies which he had written. The result was the release of her 4th CD, “Somewhere in this Room”, a semi-autobiographical collection of songs, which was recorded at Westlake Studios in Hollywood. Critically praised as a concept piece, this CD was chosen as one o the Top 25 Indie Releases of 2008 by Indie-Music.com. Laura performed a live, filmed version of the entire album, directed and staged by choreographer Randy Johnson, at the famed Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.
Laura co-wrote the title track to her latest CD, “The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.” Based on a true story about a disappearing time and place, her father Bill Pursell set her words to music, using a funky undulating Latin riff and a soaring string section