A Clarks Summit native has taken her pursuit of a career in music to Nashville, Tenn. to study, but she’ll return home for a few performances during the holiday season.
Alyssa Lazar, a 19-year-old freshman at Belmont University School of Music, will play a series of shows in Northeastern Pennsylvania beginning Thursday at Crotti’s on Ash in Scranton.
The young songwriter plays piano and guitar, and she said her vocal rehearsals are almost as old as she is.
“I cannot remember a time when I didn’t plan to pursue music,” Lazar said in a recent phone interview. “I remember being 3, sitting in the back of my mom’s car in a car seat singing along to Martina McBride and Reba McEntire.”
By the time Lazar was 4, she knew she wanted to be a singer. She developed her voice by singing at dance recitals for Clarks Summit’s Devine School of Dance.
“I started playing piano when I was in second grade,” Lazar said. “I would play with a little kid’s electric piano. When I was in third grade, someone was giving away a nice piano, and my dad and uncles lugged the piano into the house.”
Piano lessons started that year for Lazar, and guitar lessons followed in fourth grade. By the time she was a freshman in high school, the young songstress had the equipment she needed to perform in public and started playing gigs at Scranton venues like Andy Gavin’s, Ale Mary’s and Coopers.
“That started becoming sort of my job, and I loved it,” Lazar said.
After graduating from Abington Heights High School in 2016, Lazar matriculated at Belmont.
“I didn’t know that I was going to college to pursue music, but I knew I was going to Nashville, and I decided I would be pursuing music regardless,” Lazar said. “It’s been a great fit for me. It’s great getting the education while getting to experience Music City.”
Lazar said her education is coming not only through school but also through spending time in one of the country’s thriving musical hot spots.
“Through going to all of these open mics and writers nights and getting to see what people do and what people have been doing through all the years they’ve been here, you learn a lot about the business and performance skills,” Lazar said. “They are necessary things to have a firmer grasp on what it means to be a real musician.”
Lazar released her debut EP, “570” in April 2016. The record features four of her original tracks and was recorded at SI studios in Old Forge.
“I’m definitely rooted in country, but I’m also rooted in rock ‘n’ roll because my dad was always super in love with Elvis,” Lazar said. “I would say my music is like an Eagles country mixed with an Elton John sort of soul. That’s what my music has come to be.”
For her upcoming string of local shows, Lazar said listeners can expect an eclectic mix of popular music covers from Lady Gaga to Dolly Parton, with a few of her originals sprinkled in.
“I’m always writing whenever I get the chance,” she said. “I’m working on getting new stuff recorded, so maybe by summer of 2018, I’ll have that out.”
Although Lazar has grown to love Nashville, where studios are abundant, she plans to return to SI Studios to record.
“I’m a real hometown girl, and I couldn’t have had a better experience than I did there,” she said.
Lazar’s music is available on iTunes and Spotify.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.