Lauren Hashian is a long way from jamming out to ‘90s R&B in her childhood bedroom in Lynnfield.
And yet she’s channeling that long-simmering passion into her soulful debut release, “Love … And Other Things.” Side A of the two-part EP was released in December, with Side B coming in March.
Hashian grew up loving music — she’s the daughter of the late Sib Hashian, drummer for the band Boston. Later, at Emerson College, “we started building recording studios in our dorms,” she says. “We would, on any given day, go in there and go to town.”
After Emerson, she worked at Warner Music Group, pitching songs by the label’s artists for film and TV placements, and then at Paramount Pictures, gathering songs to fit the studio’s releases. In 2012, she left Paramount to move to Florida with her now-husband, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who wanted to be closer to his daughter, Simone.
“I kind of left music and transitioned into this family and relationship life, and did that while simultaneously going into the studio on my own, by myself, and just experimenting,” says Hashian. “I wanted to make myself the best musician I could, so that eventually when things did settle down back in Los Angeles again, I had something to offer in going to the studio with people.”
The Globe caught up recently with Hashian, who now lives in Beverly Hills with Johnson and their two daughters, Jazzy, 6, and Tia, 3.
Q. Why did you decide now was the right time to put out an album?
A. Despite already knowing that I loved songwriting, I was really shy, and didn’t really think I had it in me to put myself so out there. So I thought that maybe the best place for me, since I loved music, was more working behind the scenes. But then as time went on, I felt this calling that I really wanted to get back into a studio, be around live music and live musicians. I never stopped writing, so I wanted to write again in the studio and see what I was capable of, and put aside my personal reservations.
Q. How did your years working behind the scenes inform how you made your own record?
A. Being so close to all of the departments — not just the licensing department, but the marketing department, the ticketing and show department and concert department — you start to see how much it means for all of these people to give these artists and give these songs a chance. It is so beautiful, because you’re gaining so much experience just from listening to music, and what’s coming out when, and how music is changing. So now when writing music, I am always trying to stay up on what’s coming out.
Q. For years, you’ve written songs for other artists to sing, like “On the Run,” which was in the Netflix film “Red Notice.” What’s different about performing them yourself?
A. For me, still being pretty shy, it’s not easy to put so much of yourself out there. But at the same time, it also gives me a chance to finally, authentically, be myself. Being a white girl who’s primarily influenced by Black artists and R&B music, I did feel a little self-conscious about that in the beginning, when I was younger. I was always hopeful that one day if I was choosing to sing like this and putting out these songs, that hopefully people would understand and be accepting of them and connect with them.
Q. What was it about ‘90s R&B that you wanted to emulate?
A. I think it was the coolness of it. I always felt really uncool as a kid. That’s how and when I learned how to sing, from ‘90s R&B artists. I would see SWV and I would see Aaliyah and then Brandy and then Beyoncé, and I thought they were beautiful. They could sing, they could dance. They were perfect. Their style was perfect. I would go into my room, I would pick up my microphone — I had a karaoke machine in my room — and I would sing in front of the mirror. I think everything that I’ll do for the rest of my life will be my middle school dream come true. Those things that you loved when you were a kid, they don’t ever go away.
Q. How do see Side A and Side B of the album as speaking to one another?
A. It felt natural to put the sexy songs together, and get those out at a time where things are feeling really unsexy right now with COVID happening. The songs to follow are more personal and they go more into depth with everything from getting into a healthy space in mental health and losing loved ones and missing loved ones. It’s talking about that side of love, too, which is just real. Real love, and all of its emotions, and all of its perfect imperfections.
Q. Did any experiences with your husband inspire a song?
A. One of the songs that I’ve already put out, “Bout U,” is taken from the romance of Hawaii, being out there — that’s where we got married. On Side B, there’s a song called “Healthy Space,” which is more so about when you’re not at your best, and you’ve been trying to hide it or fake it. Inevitably, you have to be honest with each other, and then sometimes it’s also hard to admit you need a little time and a little healthy space to get back to feeling like your whole self again.
Q. Was it hard to write such honest songs about romance when your partner is so high-profile?
A. Yes. Which is probably another reason why for so long I wasn’t putting out personal music, because you’re writing about the stuff that’s happening to you and your life and your experiences, and I’m like, “Do I really want to put him out there like that? This is pretty personal.” I’m just trying to save whatever sliver of privacy that we have left in our lives. It’s less about me and him, it’s more about the poetry of it all and human connection.
Interview was edited and condensed.
Dana Gerber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org