It took Laura Jean Anderson some years of adjusting to feel comfortable in her own skin. She was always a fish-out-of-water, growing up in a traditional Mormon household...in the grunge haven of Olympia, Washington. Hovering between these communities, she felt fully accepted by neither, which made her double down on her eccentricities. Fast forward to what was meant to be a cleansing trip across South America: Anderson lost all of her money in Peru but managed to busk her way back to the States, giving her the confidence to pursue music full-time. Her new EP, which she calls Lonesome No More, encapsulates her convictions.

Read our interview with Laura Jean Anderson below, where you will also find an exclusive live version of the EP’s closer, 'Who Am I To You'. Grab Lonesome No More EP on Bandcamp. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

On your new EP, you clearly push yourself to reach new corners of roots and Americana. Determination seems to be part of your brand, most infamously when you were forced to busk your way back from Peru. Would you describe yourself as resilient?

Resilience, determination and hard work have always been things I’ve valued. Some may say I’m just stubborn as hell, but I hope it is seen as resilience. My grandmother would also say, “you’re sad…go work. You don’t feel good…work harder.”

'Love You Most' feels like a celebration of love, but you remarked to the Fader that it is actually a reckoning with denial. What drew you to write it in this way, as opposed to making it more obviously about heartbreak?

Desire, love, and denial are such complicated experiences that make you feel incredibly torn. To write a song in a more straightforward and traditional painting of my feelings wouldn’t do the feelings justice.

There’s a moment toward the end of 'Silence Won’t Help Me Now' where the sound gets compressed and warped as you sing, “I don’t know what you’ve been told, don’t let them tell you no more...” Can you talk about the making of this song?

This song was one of my favourites to make. It began as a home production that I made almost as a comfort to myself to speak up for the things I believe in. It is highly personal and I thought it would just stay as a song I’d sing to myself. But it just wouldn’t leave my mind and so I brought it to producer Tyler Chester and we started working on it. The whole process was empowering to make. That bridge section was actually a “stream-of-consciousness” that I recorded as a placeholder, but once I brought it to Tyler, we realized that that was actually what the song is all about. That bridge represents that moment you are inside your mind telling yourself to be strong, despite the resistance—it’s confusing and full of doubt mixed with strength. It builds and builds and then you finally gain the strength to say what you want leading into the last chorus.

You told Salon that the #MeToo movement made you feel more empowered to release that track, Now, your EP is about to come out during a historic moment in the Supreme Court. How have you been feeling leading up to Lonesome No More?

To be honest, I have been entirely taken over by the state of our country right now. I am so sad that we have come to this. I feel deeply heartbroken as a woman and for all women. There has always been resistance and it takes so much to finally speak our truth and then for it to get shut down is horrific. The Kavanaugh case has shed truth on where we are in America and the work we need to do to change our culture. I am in complete awe of the strength and power of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and hope we can continue to follow in her footsteps. Humans have subtlety and nuance and our country forces us into sides and forces us to not believe a woman’s truth. I’m heartbroken that the headlines we are seeing are “this is a win for the republicans” or “a win for the democrats” instead of “this is a shift in the way we treat women.” We can’t stop speaking out, we can’t stop making change.

The EP’s closer, 'Who Am I To You', discusses identity and insecurity, leaving the listener with thoughtful heartache. How do you feel you’re perceived by others?

I’m not sure how I truly am perceived but my upbringing in a conservative environment juxtaposed with the lifestyle I live now brings out guilt and paranoia about my good intentions being taken wrong. This song is about judgement and the fear we feel about being judged, and when we catch ourselves judging others.

You’re becoming more recognized as a force in the local scene than in years past, so then how does this release feel different from your earlier work?

It feels much different because I believe in the music and the meaning of the music much more than my other work. This record has also been such a wild, long journey that to finally share it with the world is incredible! So grateful to be able to share it with you all!