Close this search box.

Laraw Leans Into Adulthood on Quarter Life Crisis

The Montreal songstress unearths a time capsule of wisdom and wisecracks on her debut album.

by Maggie McPhee

Photo by Charlotte Rainville

It’s been two years since we last caught up with Laraw, and in the interim, according to her, “everything has happened.” The indie-pop startup left her major record company in Toronto, moved back to Montreal, signed with her dream label (Bravo Musique), recorded her first album, and is preparing to tour it across Canada.

Quarter Life Crisis, out now via Bravo Musique, contains the weight of these changes, wrapped up in punchy pop production and Laraw’s shimmering vocals. “This is all such a dream come true and everything that comes after is just such a blessing,” she gushes. “I’m going to continue dreaming, but this is it. For me, this is really huge.”  

Laraw, real name Lara Rawadi, has invited us to her turf – Café Bravo, a coffee shop sandwiched between the upstairs Bravo Musique offices and the record label’s basement recording studio. She’s as stylish as ever in a black one shoulder tank top, statement ’70s belt, gold pants and sparkly eyeshadow to match. Her fingers glisten with thrifted rings and 10-carat nails done by her friend glam.mtl. “I wanted to look like I was dipped in gold,” she smiles. And on this sunny early spring day, she’s shining inside and out. 

“I’m so happy,” she shares. Turns out walking away from a massive record deal was exactly what she needed. Laraw wasn’t comfortable with the pace and marketing mediation of major label life. That world sought stratospheric success off of singles, which felt overinflated and disingenuous. “It was pop star or nothing,” she says, “but I’m more of a believer in working slowly and creating a universe people can relate to and enjoy watching grow.” 

At just 24, that break was also essential for her own self-discovery. “I didn’t know what I wanted to say,” she admits. “So I took the time to figure out the kind of artist I wanted to be before jumping into a new label.” 

She orders a caramel latte and swirls a spoonful of sugar into the mug. “My boyfriend has a sugar addiction and I would make fun of him, but I got used to him cooking everything so sweet,” she says. “I can’t have a regular coffee anymore.”  

The aptly titled Quarter Life Crisis, a collection of vignettes pulled straight from the young singer-songwriter’s journal, manages to be both self-assured and openly unsure, capturing the uncertainty that comes with being 25. “No stop/No end/Just one big/State of confusion,” she sings on “Poster.” 



“25 sucks,” she says, laughing. “It’s the worst era ever because you think you’re old, but you’re so young and you don’t know anything.” When that milestone came around the bend, she was devastated to find herself nowhere near the perfect life she had pictured: married with kids and a successful career to boot. “That image of a 25-year-old is absolutely not accurate. I learned the hard way and I made this album to reassure the youth that this shit is normal,” she says. 

Like a vintage slide projector, the album flips through the typical plot points of that age. The break-ups, betrayals, regrets, and repairs flash one by one, accompanied by a propulsive pop soundtrack. It’s a juxtaposition that does justice to the low lows and high highs of that era, with early 2000s rock tones washing it all in a nostalgic haze. 

These sonic images, so carefully wrought with confessional lyrics and pitch-perfect production, actually originated from visuals. “When I write, I have an image in my head, like a painting,” she shares.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but I’ll just recreate how the painting makes me feel. It’s very, very clear, but I can’t draw for shit, so I sing.” 

The melodies she manifests become not only the lyrics, but all the instrumentation featured on the album. Though Laraw only plays guitar, she developed every sound using her voice. Her producers, intuitive and skilled players, translated her emotions and ideas into fully formed soundscapes. “They helped me create those songs by understanding and talking and being patient while I was crying. A lot of crying. They’ve seen me cry from every angle,” she adds with a laugh. 

Laraw, at such a difficult age, embraced uncertainty and embarked towards the unknown. That bravery shows up in her music, where she shares her innermost fears, dreams, and desires. Quarter Life Crisis is a time capsule that makes everyone feel a little less alone. And filtered through Laraw’s glamour and grace, it’s been dipped in gold. 

Laraw will perform two album release parties: May 2 at Bar Le Ritz (Montreal) and May 9 at the Baby G (Toronto)