LN Lurie is an extremely interesting dynamo. She’s an audio engineer whose expertise is in gaming. According to LinkedIn, LN specializes in “picking a direction, putting out fires, and replacing [herself] with efficient pipelines.” Through our interview, I also saw a passionate leader, who is great at telling stories through podcasts and using sound as a medium to communicate. LN is a global volunteer and her work includes disaster relief in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan. Some of her past roles include “Queen of all things Audible” and “Super Audio Girl.” (Is it clear yet why I think LN is awesome?) Currently, LN is wanderlusting across Africa while the rest of us drool over her pictures.
Q: How does telling the stories of others make you consider yourself and your story?
LL: I believe that when you re-tell a story, it becomes yours. Not the actions or experiences, but the story is yours. The takeaway is yours. With that said—I believe that ANYTHING I hear, I’m an audio person, after all, I try to relate that story to my life.
An example is hearing my grandmother talk about her life. She’s 90. She grew up during the depression where having a bit of string to tie up her hair was coveted. Hearing stories like hers, if anything, make me grateful for the things that we DO have in this world. When I retell this, I hope you become grateful or mindful as well.
Q: What role has music played in your life? Are there artists that you turn to time and time again?
LL: This is my favorite question. I was a music major—I’ve played the violin since age three and bassoon since seventh grade. I’ve played countless instruments because I originally wanted to become a band instructor. “What’s a bassoon?” you ask…don’t feel bad. My professors at Berklee, a Jazz school in Boston, didn’t know either. They actually called it a “wooden saxophone”.
But yes, music is incredibly important to my life. Because of school, I analyze music instead of simply listening to it. First I hear the melody, then the counter melody, the rhythm, the bass line, how everything works together, the chord progressions…and finally by the seventh or eight time I listen to a song, that’s when I’ll hear the words.
My mom was a piano pedagogy major. She didn’t allow me to listen to anything “unless they were dead.” She thought current music wasn’t really music. So I grew up listening to Beatles, Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven. When Kurt Cobain died, I was ecstatic! I ran home and said, “MOM!? CAN I LISTEN TO NIRVANA NOW?!” and she just looked at me and said “No. He’s not dead enough.”
A story I really wanted to share with you is about how music makes this weird thing happen in my brain, and probably everyone, where all of a sudden you hear a piece of music and you remember where you were when you first heard it, or how that piece has personal meaning for you.
I remember listening to Metallica’s One during a YMCA lock-up after a school dance. My High School Sweetheart Greg and I had just finished running up and down stairs, hyped up on Mountain Dew, and that song came on. We both stopped as if we were shot and drop down on the floor, mesmerized by the song, staring at the ceiling, trying to control our breath as we hold our planks. I get taken over by this almost trance-like guitar solo in the beginning. The music transports me to July 1999 and we are sitting on a wall listening to Metallica live. It’s pitch black except for a few joints and cigarettes. The guitar solo starts, I stare at the crowd, and it starts to rain. In real life, I snap out of my haze, realizing that I’ve been holding a plank for three minutes at the YMCA and I start to do Box Jumps.
It’s amazing how music can transport you and tells stories.
Q: What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?
LL: I would tell myself to think bigger. I could always think bigger. Also to think more simply….and don’t listen so much to my mother!
Q: What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done?
LL: Teaching my 90-yearr-old grandma how to use an iPad.
Seriously. Do you know how difficult that is?! I mean—I’ve worked in corporate America. I’ve dealt with sexual harassment. I’ve traveled solo around the world, I’ve moved to new countries, I’ve been poorly kidnapped in Ecuador, I’ve had my bag and all my belongings stolen in Panama, I finished a marathon, I’ve survived the world’s worst typhoon in history in the Philippines, I’ve been a first-responder on many incidents, I’ve been published countless times in video games. I’ve played Bassoon Porn Music! But my greatest achievement is teaching my 90-year-old grandma how to use an iPad.
How I measured my success was by writing her a message on Facebook. She “liked” it! That was it. That was the best day of my life!
Q: Life is beauty and pain. Tell me about pain in your life.
LL: I sliced open my thumb with a machete in Guatemala. Where there is no clean running water and I had to wash out my hand with rum. Is that the type of pain you’re talking about?…I’m sure it’s not.
My other pain is my biggest challenge right now. I’m about to embark on a journey to Africa with $5,000, which seems like a lot and maybe it is, but I’m going to pretty touristy places. I like some amenities, so my biggest challenges is that I’m still unemployed, basically, but my finances are in a scary, unknown situation. On this trip, I’ve planned three weeks so far, but that’s all time with family. I used to be someone with a 10-year goal and 10-year plan, but I’ve found that I miss out by planning so much. I backpacked through Europe and found that I only had two good stories from those three weeks because I planned so much. I started planning less when I went around the world and I started finding better stories. For Africa, I’m not planning at all, which is a huge challenge because I’m such a planner and a control freak. So not having any finances and being a control freak, I have no idea how I’m going to do this. And I don’t know what will happen when I come back. All those things are pretty scary.