LOUISE GOFFIN: Charting her own path

By Lisa Lynn Morgan

Renowned musician Louise Goffin has been immersed in the world of music since the tender age of 8, when she wrote her first song. Originating from Brooklyn, New York, she carries within her a rich musical heritage steeped in exceptional songwriting and production. From her early childhood vocals on iconic tracks like Cheech and Chong’s “Basketball Jones” and Carole King’s “Really Rosie” soundtrack, her debut at the Troubadour opening for Jackson Browne at 17, to her groundbreaking debut album “Kid Blue” at the age of 19, Goffin has traversed a remarkable career path spanning major labels and her independent venture, Majority of One label, all while paying homage to her musical roots.

Goffin has released ten solo albums. In addition, she wrote the original songs and produced her mother’s Grammy-nominated first holiday album, A Holiday Carole. She has toured with Tears for Fears, and famously sang alongside her mother on the theme song of “Gilmore Girls.” Notably, Goffin’s infectious track “Uptown Boys” became a highlight of the cult classic “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” soundtrack, marking her as the youngest artist featured. Today, Goffin is regularly “playing” it forward.

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Mil-Tree, a veteran-focused nonprofit located in Joshua Tree, proudly announces a complimentary singer/songwriter workshop led by Goffin. Scheduled from May 31st to June 2nd at Furstwurld in Joshua Tree, this workshop extends a warm invitation to veterans and community members, regardless of their musical background. Attendees will have the invaluable opportunity to learn from Goffin, a seasoned troubadour with an extensive repertoire, offering a treasure trove of insights and expertise in songwriting.

Goffin’s artistic endeavors extend beyond music, as she is also the Founder and Creative Director of the Goffin & King Foundation. This organization champions aspiring songwriters through retreats and educational opportunities to help them find their voice, irrespective of background. Currently, the foundation is embarking on a pop-up tour titled, Songs and Stories. Goffin is joined by special guests, Therese Curatolo and Ashaine White, who Goffin met at the Goffin & King Foundation’s inaugural songwriters retreat at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, October 2023. Her dedication to nurturing emerging talent is evident in her ongoing efforts to provide platforms for artistic expression. “It’s important to give emerging artists an opportunity to connect with other creatives and learn how to protect and nurture themselves from the inside out, when so many of the cultural and industry messages are working in the opposite direction,” Goffin shares.

Photo by Jeff Fasano

As a storyteller, Goffin curates and hosts Song Chronicles, a podcast delving into the intricacies of songwriting and music production. Featuring intimate conversations with industry luminaries, the podcast offers listeners a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. Goffin’s commitment to preserving musical legacies and fostering creativity underscores her enduring impact on the music community. She has triumphed by doing what she loves.

Joshua Tree Voice had the pleasure of speaking with Goffin who graciously gave her time in between flights during her tour:

JTV: “What were your earliest influences on the path to finding your voice?”

Goffin: “My maternal grandmother celebrated my self-expression with the message that I could create anything I wanted, and it would be fun. Also, my mother. She did not see gender lines. She believed she had a voice worth expressing, and nobody would keep her from doing what she loved.”

“I had a cheap record player in my bedroom in New Jersey when I was seven. The two records I remember coveting the most were The Monkees Headquarters and Leopold Stokowski’s Fantasia with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I became interested in the Beatles when Rubber Soul came out…staring at the photos on the back cover and imagining recording in London.”

“There was my parents’ songwriting in the house too, and the music they listened to. There was a lot of soul and music by black artists of the time.”

“I was also influenced by the perceived isolation of my insecurities – our house felt too big. My parents would often drive into New York and leave us girls with a babysitter, and I wanted to be where the action was. When we moved to LA, I would lose myself in the sounds and smells of Laurel Canyon, a sweet dry mustiness along with dreams of the world when I’d hike in the Hollywood hills. I spent a lot of time relying on my fantasy life. My songs and stories and the little movies I’d make on a super 8 camera became my way of creating safety when the times I grew up in felt predatory. My mom was always supportive and a genuine fan of what I’d do, which continues to be a blessing.”

JTV: “Any upcoming releases or projects we can watch for?”

Goffin: “I have a single I’m still putting finishing touches on before releasing, called ‘Backseat,’ which I’m so excited about! I came up with a line driving up the coast: ’I’m never ever gonna be driving in the back seat of my own car.’ I brought the idea to my son, Elijah Wells, and in his Highland Park studio, he built this wonderful track around it. A series of fortuitous accidents happened in the recording process after I took the session away that included me changing the tempo accidentally. Then when writing with a young artist, Salomé Monroig, I played her the song to see if it would be a good fit for her. She riffed melodies and lyrics in a few takes but didn’t want to do anything else with it. It stayed on my hard drive for a year until I opened the session and thought, “Damn, this is great. I’m gonna finish this one!”

Photo by Elissa Kline Photography

JTV: “What is it like to have a common voice between three generations of artists?”

Goffin: “I think we all share a common language when it comes to vulnerability and emotion, each with our different ways of expressing it musically. My lyric writing is influenced greatly by my father’s songwriting. The act of writing a song was more than a job and a craft, though it certainly was modeled to me as both those things. Like my father, I needed to write my way through to understand the emotions I couldn’t process. Lyrics became a refuge, and the page became a place of renewal where I could get right with myself.”

JTV: “Your best advice for any aspiring songwriter?”

Photo by Sandra Goodin

Pictured from left to right:
Therese Curatolo, Ysa Fernandez, and Louise Goffin

Goffin: “Don’t get caught up in songwriting strategies. Your muse is the greatest inspiration is there for you whether you choose to use it or not. Sometimes the solitary treasure hunt is lonely and alleviated by others, but when that takes us away from the voice that whispers directions to a curious road leading to somewhere only you can travel, make time to listen. I try to stay clear from people on the sidelines telling me what to do with unsolicited commentary. I don’t relate to strategies like, ‘You should write one like so and so,’ or ‘You could have a really big hit if you just…’ The truth is, no one knows you like you, so treat your heart like it’s your north star.”

“Start with yourself and remember to be both the parent and the child. Remember to tell the child he or she is doing a great job. Doubt the doubters. You decide. It’s your right, your life! That’s how I am. Everyone can find their own way, but the important thing is to not give up on yourself.”

Connect with Louise Goffin: IG @goffin_king_foundation

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