With a sound as alluring, dark and ethereal as the sirens of Greek mythology, Superior Siren is one of the North Shore’s premier musical talents.
Their version of “eerie folk music” is comprised of a mesmerizing blend of vocals, strings and percussion, all of which is anchored by lead vocalist Laura Sellner’s powerful voice and poignant, honest songwriting.
Superior Siren was started as a solo project in 2014 by the group’s lead singer-songwriter, and guitarist Sellner who finds inspiration for her music in “human connections and the beauty and challenges of relationships.”
“My songwriting is raw and vulnerable,” says Sellner, “and my goal is to evoke deep emotions within listeners.”
Born and raised in Duluth, Sellner got her start as a musician writing songs and performing at open mic nights along the North Shore.
Sellner always enjoyed singing and listening to music growing up, and after graduating high school she found herself surrounded by talented musicians and people involved in the local music scene. Encouraged by this musical community and the acoustic Fender gifted to her by her mother, Sellner picked up the guitar to accompany her vocals and began writing her own songs.
“I worked with a number of different musicians at first,” continues Sellner, “and then, over time, began to develop my own sound. I pondered a number of different life paths throughout college, but knew that I needed to pursue a career in music to support my happiness, so that’s what I did.”
After the solo release of Superior Siren’s first EP Lotus in the Muck in 2014, Sellner spent the next few years searching out local female talent to compliment the project’s “ethereal melodies and ominous tones.” In 2016, cellist Rachel Gobin, bassist Nyssa Krause, and drummer Emma Deaner joined the group, all of whom played an integral part in creating the band’s first album—Superior Siren—in 2018.
“We are a musical collective,” says Sellner, “as well as a sisterhood, and are grateful to be creating soundscapes together.”
2018 also marks the year Superior Siren produced one of their boldest projects to date, the music video for her song Trying Too Hard off the self-titled LP.
“The song was originally about the turbulence of intimate relationships, feeling underestimated by others, and breaking free from limitations,” says Sellner. “We worked with the innovative videographer Killy Kay and filmmaker extraordinaire Caelan Mars to create the video, and had Allison Peluso play the three different characters—a young women tapping into her inner wisdom, an oppressed ancestor unable to stand up for herself, and a third character representing divine feminine energy and the goddess within.”
In addition to telling a story of empowerment and universal well-being, the film acknowledges Ruth Bader-Ginsberg by highlighting her iconic necklace and showing the groups appreciation for “her life-long efforts to promote equality for all and her role in establishing authority for women to make their own life choices.”
Earlier this year, Superior Siren released a new solo EP Kill Your Darlings, a project funded through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The EP was released as a way for the band to stay connected to listeners as they work towards their next full-length album.
When not actively pursuing her career, Sellner immerses herself in music by keeping a steady flow of music playing and attending as many performances as she can. Staying “immersed” in music is something that Sellner finds keeps her inspired while supporting the local artistic community.
Sellner is also passionate about yoga, and as a certified trauma-conscious yoga strives to serve as a “vessel in which the benefits of yoga and the healing power of music can flow through.”
The ladies of Superior Siren had a busy summer of 2021, highlighted by a performance on August 18 at the Water is Life event where they played alongside an outstanding set list that included performances from the likes of Bon Iver and Lissie, all in support of the environment.
They look forward to performing with Trampled by Turtles and more at the Grand Rapids Riverfest on September 10.
In addition to live performances, Laura Sellner plans on starting “Superior Siren Studio Sessions” this winter, where she will provide free virtual solo shows live streamed from her creative space.
You can find Superior Siren’s music on Spotify and Apple music, as well as on their website: superiorsiren.com.