Taylor Harris, better known as Lady Lark, sits at the head of a table in a Dinkytown coffee shop, flanked by guitarist Oran Chan and keyboardist Kyle Pleggenkuhle. Her poof of light-brown curly hair, seen on the cover of the Lady Lark EP Love, extends forward like a burning halo, each bouncing curl a ray flaring from her bright disposition.
Harris’ smooth, slow-burning vocal delivery tempers the simmering passion and groove on Love, a project that’s light and fun but still sticks to your ribs and rattles around in your ear long after listening. Harris’ presence is much the same—she’s soft-spoken and unassuming, but her vivacious energy shines through.
Lady Lark jams are siren calls to the dance floor—not blaring starter pistols, but subtle enticements, as when someone catches your eye in the club, daring you to sexy-dance. “I want to pull you in,” says Harris.
Sexy-dancing can feel very silly, but what makes Lady Lark and Love so wonderful is that you can’t help it. Your embarrassment bubbles up to the top and Harris clears it away like a beer foam scraper.
The music of Lady Lark has traces of funk and soul, with clearly hip-hop-influenced percussion. Harris calls it “cool-pop,” and she began constructing her sultry, rich sound when she linked up with Pleggenkuhle, a former co-worker, and his friend Chan. The keyboardist overheard Harris singing and, impressed, asked her to record. Harris was inspired by collaborating with Pleggenkuhle and Chan. “They’ve helped me find it in myself,” says Harris.
Adding to the richness of the Lady Lark sound is a backing band that includes guitar, bass, keys, and drums, and two backup singers. Harris also pitches in on tambourine. (“She kills the tambourine,” Chan says as Harris humbly winces.) ”It’s a nice balance that we have,” Harris says. “I don’t know if I would have come up with it on my own.”
Though Harris, a Minnesotan since the age five, is sweetly modest, she’s clearly the leader, the source of Lady Lark’s singular vision. Pleggenkhule and Chan gush about filing behind her, finding their role and enhancing her talent.
In the 11 months since the creation of the band, they’ve performed 22 times. They plan on releasing a full-length follow-up to Love in 2018, with a single dropping sometime around New Year’s.