Amanda Palmer and Brendan Maclean – “Laura”


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Dearly Beloved….

Here I am again, thing in hand….and this one is quite personal and beautiful.

Anthony died a year ago today. I’m feeling it. If you’re new to my life, it’s such a long story. (Maybe read this.)

So….I know I’ve been barraging you with a lot of cover projects lately…but I plead permission to do this especially since I just co-wrote eight new songs with Edward (!) and am feeling like The New Will Come. And this is a Very Secret Archival One….we’ve have been holding onto it for a special occasion, which is today.

It’s a cover of “Laura” that I was doing nightly with Brendan Maclean at the Sydney Festival 2014, and while I was down under (this was over two years ago now) we decided to get together secretly for a day in a Sydney recording studio with engineer Paul Mac and record it. I played piano.

Now you can finally hear the studio version, and see the video we created using Sydney Festival footage (with the help of amazing direction and editing from Larry Heath from the AU Review and extra camera work from Johnny Au). The lip-synching is a little janky, but it almost works in a disturbing sort of way. I often hate the idea of marrying live footage with studio sound, but I think in this case we kinda pulled it off.

Here we are backstage in Sydney, getting ready to HIT IT.


Brendan, if you don’t know him, is a powerhouse talent just getting big in Australia and his voice and presence are beyond imagination.

I hope you can see some of that in this video.

This song itself, though, took on a bigger significance for me as time went on. It’s part of why I waited to release it and I’ll tell you the story now.

When I first heard this tune, which is by the phenomenal Natasha Khan from Bat For Lashes (and co-written by Justin Parker), I was just speechless.

What a perfect, beautiful offering of a song.

Nobody knows who “Laura” is truly about (though there are theories, and I particularly like the Laura Jane Grace theory…) and so, as good songs do, it shall remain a rorschach.

I have my own version of this song, and my own Laura.

Laura, my Laura, is Anthony’s wife.


So many of you know the story of Anthony and my beautiful friendship with him, especially if you read The Art of Asking. Laura makes a brief appearance in the book, but I don’t say very much about her.

She and Anthony shared a True Love – the kind of love I’ve almost never seen. Their communication, their joy in each other, their ability to work through the hard stuff and love and care for and stand by each other, especially through the four years of cancer that ravaged and took Anthony’s life…it has been an inspiration to me. In my own life, in my love life, in my idea of what love can be and how deep things can go.

When I first met Anthony (I was nine), Laura was kind of a shadowy adult figure at his side…Anthony had this fun, playful relationship with me and Laura was the Lawyer he was married to.
By the time I was in my twenties, I started to see how very human and real Laura was, and I started to have a kind of a reverence for their relationship. And by the time I hit my thirties, Laura and I were actually able to grow close. When Anthony got ill, I felt closer to her than I ever had, and the time that we spent caring for him, especially those last few days at his deathbed, brought her into my heart in a way that will never go away. She’s a true friend, a sister, a soul-mate, just like Anthony was, in our collective search for compassion and here-ness. I love her so much.

Anthony died peacefully, in Laura’s arms (with me and Neil and a fetal-baby-Anthony in my womb holding him from behind), exactly one year ago today, on June 22nd.

Laura’s been having a rough go of it since Anthony died, as anybody would. She’s lost her love but she’s still glittering, shining, finding the light in everything she can.

She’s been a hero to me, truthfully, in the year since Anthony died, because every time I see here, she’s so totally honest about how she’s feeling, and she’s smiling, and she’s finding the good in things. She’s staying in the light and not letting the grief knock her over and into the dark.

On her first birthday without Anthony, this past november, some friends and family gathered in Anthony’s brothers house (where we’d also held Anthony’s funeral) and I sang this song for Laura as my gift to her. The lyrics, the feeling of sisterhood, and the message of this song is so perfect for her. She shines like a bright star that few see, because she isn’t loud – she’s not an extroverted showman and wisecracker like Anthony was…she’s a quieter star, a super star, more than a super star.

Oh Laura – I love you so much. This one is for you, sweet sister. You’re the glitter in the dark.

We’re all sending you love today.

“But without the dark…we’d never see the stars.”

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 Laura with new little Anthony.


A huge THANK YOU from me & Brendan to the 8,000 PATRONS on who funded this recording and are giving these artists a salary.
(And ….this is a good time to thank Brendan for being so patient (TWO YEARS) for this recording to finally surface. All Things in their own time.)


This has always been a special song to sing with Amanda. We did it first at a Kickstarter concert – there’s something about the struggle of the faded star that I connect with. Not that I’ve been a star yet – but that feeling of hoping you are more than the one thing everyone knows you for. I remember someone captured some footage from a concert in Melbourne and I don’t remember a thing I saw – just me and AFP having a cry as we struggled to get through the lyrics. The same guy that wrote it with Bat For Lashes wrote Video Games and Born to Die with Lana Del Rey. I like that such an indie song has a songwriter from such a commercial pop background, it’s a good sign that a good song is a good song no matter what context or frame you put it in. I think both Amanda and myself appreciate that concept – whether it’s pop or cabaret – whatever you are doing just try and write the best song you can.

(and everybody, BRENDAN’S ALSO ON PATREON….(YAY): and his music is PHENOMENAL. go see and support on Patreon and Bandcamp.)

Here’s to all the Things.


(or if you’re in Germany watch it on vimeo here)

you can also freely stream (or download the song for $0.50, since we need to pay licensing fees to the original writers) on bandcamp HERE.


Performed by Amanda Palmer and Brendan Maclean
“Laura” Written by: Natasha Khan, Justin Parker

Piano: Amanda Palmer
Vocals: Amanda Palmer & Brendan Maclean
Produced by Paul Mac

Video Directed and Edited by: Larry Heath
Cameras: Johnny Au and Larry Heath
Filmed in The Spiegeltent at Sydney Festival 2014

Photo: still from the film of “Laura” live at Sydney Festival 2014 by Larry Heath
Design: Brendan Maclean

22 Responses to “Amanda Palmer and Brendan Maclean – “Laura””

  1. Vanessa Crooks

    that was absolutely stunning.
    i can’t believe it’s already been a year… reading your book and everything you said about anthony in it, and then all your posts around the time he was dying, i have to say, i have never felt a deeper sorrow. you made him real to me, and your pain and grief were so close to me that i found myself crying for someone that i never met, and wishing that i could have. you are powerful, amanda palmer. your words and your love are incredibly powerful.

  2. Mata

    That was lovely. We are all so lucky to have been introduced to Anthony, by you. He seemed to have such a special way about him.
    To Laura, how wonderful that you got to share your love and life with such a wonderful man.

  3. Surinya

    Actually Laura was written for Nell Campbell (Laura Elizabeth “Little Nell” Campbell) of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame. She and Natasha Khan are friends. I’m a huge Bat for Lashes fan ^_^
    Although I love the idea of it being about Laura Palmer as it always made me think of her story.

    Thank you for covering one of my all time favourite songs. I never would have dreamed that two of my most loved artists would combine this way ^_^

  4. Laura Moon

    Okay you got me cry. I’m going to go desalinate my face.

  5. Priya Sridhar

    Seeing Laura hold little Ash made me tear up. Amanda, you are such a kind person, and I remember how sweet Laura was in The Art of Asking. It has been quite a year.

      • Priya Sridhar

        Agreed. A year with little Ash to grow into a fine toddler, and to fill the world with more joy. I do wish I had your compassion, and your love.

  6. Lr Mckn

    This was just… amazing. I’ll have this on repeat for the rest of the day so I can work and finish everything. In order to continue on the path of light. Though I have come from darkness… and I’m so grateful for it. It’s weird all this. This feels so synchronic I struggle to not feel insane. I’ve listened to this song before, I love Bat For Lashes and Natasha Khan, I’ve listened to their music for several years now. I used to relate this song to the time when I first came out. I’ve been coming out many times since, in many different ways but… after your livestream last week, and now this. I just… have nothing else to say to you but THANK YOU. Thank you for existing Amanda. I really truly love you. Sending you all my love from the land of eternal spring.
    att: Laura Mickan, (Bogotá Colombia)

  7. Carrie Gee

    Timing is everything… I just started supporting you, Amanda, on Patreon after reading “The Art of Asking” and hearing your music for the first time a couple of days ago. Usually it takes three recommendations before I look into a new artist, so after I heard about you virtually through Maria Popova, Neil Gaimon and Evan Rachel Wood, I knew I had to pick up your book and check out your songs/videos. Now I’m rewarded with this beautiful universe you have revealed to me where disparate people can come together in this technologic world and support each other. Thank you. Sending love to you, Laura, Anthony (baby and friend), and the universe knowing that it will circle around to me when I need it. “The net tightens”.

  8. tattyheid

    It won’t have been an easy year for either of you. Best wishes.

  9. KaH

    This song is so special to me too. You played it for the first time ever at my Kickstarter house party. I remember you and Brendan figuring it out in my lounge room as everyone got to know each other outside.

    That was such a weird night for me. It was equal parts amazing equal parts devastating as I was on leave from hospital to attend my own party. That song was so beautiful though and every night you performed it at Sydney Festival. You make me emote hard lady!

    Love to you, Brendan, and Laura. x

  10. laurainnis

    Wow… I’ve never liked a namesake song before, and maybe it’s just because you’re covering it that I do, but thank you for putting this piece of beauty into the world. I’m five years without my mom this October, after losing her to cancer too, and I remember how hard the first of those five was. I send so much love to you and to Laura as you both continue to heal this hole in your lives and your hearts. xx

  11. H_Alpha_656

    What a wonderful sentiment and story, thanks for sharing it.

    Super excited about a new album on the horizon, too!

  12. Brenna Bardo

    Oh my god, this was absolutely beautiful! Just finished your book Amanda. It has been extremely life changing for me… learning to trust the inner artist more with each passing day and not allowing
    others or myself to talk me out of it.

  13. Ron Davies

    If it makes you feel better about the syncing to the studio version, I
    didn’t realize it wasn’t live until there were no cheers at the end
    (much like I avoid reviews of movies I want to see, I didn’t read the
    post until after). So here I am, on a grey Irish morning, cheering for
    the studio version.

  14. Wally Segieda

    I’m obsessed with this song today. The performance rises to another level of beauty. We all seem to have our own Laura, but the idea in the song is universal. You’re right Amanda, the net does continue to tighten. Now more than ever we have to keep people from falling through. Love is the only answer.


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