We drive to a nearby pub in her 1970 Dodge Challenger. I laugh when I see it, the thing
is enormous. She shrugs and smiles, saying without apology, “I love muscle cars. What did
you expect a rock and roll chick to show up in – a Volvo station wagon?” We both order
local craft beer that comes in giant liter steins. Just as well we are going to be here for a
while .Laura tells me her parents are Italian, her mother from Northern Italy near Venice,
her father from near Naples in the south. “Naples, that’s my bond with Madonna,” she
says with a giggle.
She grew up on a farm in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, a blue-collar satellite community
with a struggling downtown and Walmarts encroaching from all sides. A community
that could be Anywhere USA, but as it happens, is Anywhere Canada. She was the high
school high achiever. Smart, tough, and top of the class. While the other girls were
competing to date the high-school QB, Laura was busy actually playing sports. Captaining
several of her teams. Sitting opposite Laura at the microbrewery, I flip through her photo
album. It soon becomes apparent that she didn’t blossom into beauty, she was born that
way. Picture after picture from toddler to teen - beauty, beauty and more beauty. No
pimples, no awkward gangly stage, damn unfair.
The snapshots reveal a precocious youngster who demanded the family spotlight. Laura and her old world grand-father playing accordions, Laura at the piano for the family sing song, Laura with her first horse, Laura astride an ATV, Laura with a rifle shooting targets. “I’m the boy my Dad never had! ” she says laughing. The oldest of three girls, he taught Laura how to do everything the boys could do, and my guess is that most of the time she did it better. In the photographs Laura’s father is continentally handsome, replete with thick dark waves of hair reminiscent of La Dolce Vita. She tells me he’s a retired welder from General Motors. “One summer” she says, “ I operated a backhoe tractor digging holes and putting up heavy duty fencing all around the farmer’s property.” She describes how people would slow down to watch the petite teenager deftly working the huge machine, work more commonly associated with large grizzly men. By this time Laura was seasoned, this was what she did - no big deal. “Where did you write your first song?” I ask. “Riding the tractor with my Dad when I was 11,” she replies, “ I started to make up a song to the rhythm and sound the motor was making”.
“I hear you play a lot of instruments - like what?” She draws a breath before answering, “Piano, saxophone, guitar, accordion, flute, a little bass, a little percussion and of course I have been singing since I was a little girl. I’m learning to produce my own music, but I want to get better. “Getting better”, are words that Laura, the over achiever, lives by. She is the girl who worked her way to the top in everything. The competitive Laura, not a cheerleader but a player. Volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, motorcycling, sea-dooing - She does everything she loves and loves everything she does.
Academically, Laura has applied herself with the same muscular determination. She speaks and writes fluent French and Italian. Following high school she pushed herself to the next level through grueling biomedical sciences and Veterinary college then presto! Doctor Laura Palumbo- veterinarian!
But that, she tells me, was never the plan. Laura is a songwriter, a singer, and a multi-instrumentalist. She isan achiever. The babe with brains and
Olympian drive who remains steely-eyed. She has heard the cautionary tales of the “can’t fails” who failed, the ones who dreamt of the rewards but forgot about the work, the ones that convinced themselves they knew more than they did. Laura‘s relentless work ethic and undeniableself-confidence is not contrived. It is simply her nature. But even so she remains remarkably unaffected.
We’ve been talking for quite a while now and I’ve lost track of time. All the chairs in the restaurant are on the tables, and the lights have been dimmed, a sure sign they want us to leave. So we leave. Climbing back in to that monstrous muscle car I feel certain that Laura’s story is just beginning.
Thank you to : Erwin Loewen photographer
Emily Helsdon Hair and makeup
Achievements and Awards
-Summer of 2010 Palumbo placed 3rd in Canada in the Virgin Radio FM 99.9 song writing contest
-Winner Best Pop New Music Award of the Year 2010
-FIRST PLACE in the Original Song Category, 2010 CHIN Italian Idol Competition
-Several originals selected for TV Licensing placements