LACES has a new anthem, “they say”

LACES "They Say" single cover photo by Shari Hoffman

LACES has been a part of the music industry since age 16

LACES newest single titled "They Say"
LACES new single is titled “They Say.” Photos by Shari Hoffman

Effervescent, dynamic, and compassionate, Jessica Vaughn, a.k.a. LACES, rises again and again into the music industry, this time under her new music label, Head Bitch Music (HBM). Throughout her life her talents embraced the underserved, the survivors, and her own creative visions in the music industry and was able to transcend not only what it means to be an artist but what it means to be a human.

“When you turn your back on black, people of color, LGBTQIA+, refuges, what are you saying about yourself?” asked LACES, almost rhetorical as she describes her relationship with hate. “When hate gets louder, so do I,” said LACES.

The second season Voice contestant said she never strays from being outspoken, especially when it comes to what she believes in. LACES surges with energy to cultivate support for women and those underrepresented in the music industry. The new single,” they say” is a collaboration with BELLSAINT, Amanda Brown, and FLAVIA. The single revolves around perseverance and surviving.

In conjunction with the single “they say” the artist will also release a Womxn in a music series that will release on YouTube. And submissions for LACE’S video project have surpassed expectations.

Since age 16, LACES has manifested a professional career in the music industry. Under the name Charlotte Sometimes, the morphological artist debuted their 2008 record Waves and the Both of Us with Interscope/Geffen Records. However, this segment of the artist’s life is now in the past.

“My time in the industry has definitely helped me to speak up. You know, I see how things are behind the scenes,” said the artist. “It felt too heavy a burden,” said LACES. To share a common experience and thrive forward can build a safe place, and that is what LACES plans to build with HBM. It is a space where artists can feel respect, love, and transcendence in their craft. A space where artists can come as they are. LACES, a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, feels her platform is a place to use her voice.

“I’m not going to stop now,” said LACES. “I grew up in a very politically conservative town. If I saw people being picked on, I was going to stand up for them. That is who I am to my core,” said LACES.

Originally, LACES was hired to write the single “they say,” for a televised event on women. Due to COVID-19, the event was canceled. As a certified advocate for sexual assault survivors in California and working on hotlines the moment influenced what the artist dubs an “anthem for survivors of sexual assault.”

“I’ve heard a lot of stories and try to come from an inclusive place,” said LACES. The track shares her own story, an anthem for sexual assault survivors while ensuring an inclusive message that embodies overcoming.

Positive change from within the perimeters of the music industry is important for the songwriter. “If you don’t participate, you cannot make the change you want to see,” said the artist as an advocate and a survivor.

HBM works with Hasbro, Netflix, Fox, Wondros, Tsingtao, and other companies, as shared on the HBM website. And has labeling and publishing credits with Interscope Records, Hollywood Records, Avex Group, and much more.

In addition, LACES has grown up within the DIY music scene, which stretches the length of New Jersey and into New York. When LACES wished to become an artist, she Googled “how to be an artist,” rented a guitar, and put together press kits. “Back then, we’d actually have to make a physical press kit,” said LACES.

Before becoming a musician LACES sang poetry. “Jess, no one really wants to hear you sing poetry,” said her father. “You should probably learn an instrument or find a collaborator and make a song.” LACES chuckles as if reliving the exact moment.

Music was always essential for LACES. Music was, and continues to be, a home. Music is what always calmed her.

music was the outlet for combating the discomforting cruelty she felt

“I just knew I really wanted to get out of my town,” said LACES. The town could be really cruel, and cruel, in particular, in the face of difference. “I have more love in my heart than that,” said LACES.

LACES new single is titled "They Say"
LACES new single is titled “They Say.” Photos by Shari Hoffman

LACES now resides in Los Angeles but said she will always feel a sense of Jersey within. But music was the outlet for combating the discomforting cruelty she felt boiling in the veins of her hometown.

“I’m really lucky because being from Jersey, there was so many places to play,” said a reminiscing LACES. Playing known venues like The Saint and The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. “I don’t think I would be where I am at without those outlets.” Music was a way to let frustrations manifest into artistry and build on her identity and social spheres.

Even into her first record deal, the artist found her pod of people. “We are all just a bunch of misfit toys… we don’t really belong to a squad.”

Lana Leonard
Lana Leonard (they/them) is a graduate from The College of New Jersey with a degree in journalism and professional writing. They work at the GLAAD Media institute and freelance for publications like LGBTQ Nation while working on their journalistic theory of change project: Late Nights with Lana, a talk show based out of 10PRL film studios in Long Branch, NJ. Lana's mission, in all their work, is to focus on people, their collective truths and how those truths form a community of knowledge towards change.