While Skout’s earliest work grapples with surviving in a state of uncertainty, her new EP Patterns is a testament to thriving in spite of it.
Skout is the musical moniker of Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist Laura Valk. Known for percussive, melodic guitar work and introspective songwriting, Skout’s lyrics wrestle with the messy truths and “what nows?” that linger once the dust of adolescence starts to settle. Often writing and performing alongside her best friend and longtime collaborator Connor Gladney, Skout has created a sound that floats somewhere between indie, folk, and pop.
While an evolving soundscape defines her sound, it’s the repetitive, cyclical thoughts common with anxiety and depression that ultimately led Patterns to its namesake. In writing the EP, Valk confronted one of her darkest patterns: the swirling self-doubt that seemed to dominate a post-coming-of-age reality.
“The first time I shared the lead single ‘Move’ with loved ones, they were able to hear something I couldn’t,” Valk recalls. “I remember them saying ‘Laura, this song isn’t just about feeling stuck. This is what depressive thinking sounds like.’ It was a revelation that changed my life.”
Patterns was produced by Quinn Redmond and Julian Dente and recorded over several months in both Nashville and NYC. The EP is the result of two years of writing, touring, and intensifying highs and lows, culminating in two particularly difficult struggles for Skout: while Valk grappled with her mental health, Gladney was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic health condition.
Skout’s second single, “Dumb Little Life,” was written at the height of these setbacks. “It was a really dark, uncertain time both personally and professionally, so I challenged myself to write something upbeat, anthemic almost. Whether intentional or not, ‘Dumb Little Life’ has become this reminder that I can always try to change my perspective even if circumstances remain beyond my control.”
In navigating this musical and personal uncertainty, Skout found confidence, healing, and a remarkable new stride. In 2019, Adam Duritz of Counting Crows tapped Skout to play at his Underwater Sunshine Festival in NYC after seeing Valk and Gladney play live, remarking, “they just blew my mind…they are both incredible guitar players.” Later that year, Skout joined platinum-selling soul-pop powerhouse Eric Hutchinson on his sold out City Winery tour. Proudly independent, Skout’s first major release, Just Words, landed on both Spotify’s USA and Canada Viral 50 charts, and her music has since been featured by MTV, NBC, Popmatters, and Music Connection.