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October 2014

JUST five years ago she was a struggling single mum, scraping a living together for her and her son by working in a T-shirt printing shop.
Her dad had committed suicide, her mum and two sisters had moved away.
Lauren Henson was alone.
One lunchtime, she nipped into a smoothie bar in her home town of Loughborough, and met the man who would turn her life around.
“It sounds cheesy, I know, but it was love at first sight,” says Lauren Henson, better known as rising Nottingham music star Indiana.
“We couldn’t breath, he was dropping things... we couldn’t get out of each other’s heads.”
The 27-year-old is sat in Suede Bar in the Lace Market, co-owned by her boyfriend, who also, coincidentally, runs a T-shirt company.
As well as moving her and her son Harvey, now 6, to Long Eaton, James Alexander encouraged her to pursue her passion for music.
He entered her for the annual Future Sound of Nottingham competition in 2012, the winner of which would open the main stage at Splendour in Wollaton Park.
She made the semi-final, held in the Old Market Square, in April of that year - her first live performance.
Despite obvious nerves, other local musicians, music writers and Splendour boss George Akins, were blown away by her dark electronic pop. To reach the final, Indiana needed votes but as an unknown artist, she didn’t have the fan base to put her there.
No matter, she would play the final at Rock City anyway, as a special guest, such was the belief in this fresh music talent.
Since then she has signed to major record label Sony, played all the major music festivals, including Glastonbury, had her first Top 20 single, Solo Dancing, and played an intimate show at Radio 1’s Live Lounge with Irish chart-toppers The Script - in front of The Queen.
It was a one-song performance, of David Bowie’s Heroes and included her singing the line “and I will be Queen”.
She laughs: “I was told not to look at her when I sang that line. But I was so focussed on not looking at her, my eyes were darting around the room and they hit her a couple of times.”
HRH was on a tour of the BBC’s new Broadcasting House in London and Indiana’s three minutes were screened live on BBC News 24.
“She’s well sweet and little,” says Indiana, who was introduced to her afterwards.
“She reminded me of my grandma Mary.”
That was last year, a year that also saw her make her Glastonbury debut and play the main stage at Splendour, while heavily pregnant with second child, Etta.
This year she has been regularly playlisted and interviewed on Radio 1, had a No. 14 single, played summer festivals such as Reading and Leeds, Bestival and Nottingham’s No Tomorrow in Wollaton Park and finished her debut album, No Romeo, released this month.
So how does she combine motherhood and a music career?
“It’s been hard, this summer especially, because of all the festivals. After Bestival on the Isle of Wight, I got home at 4.30am and had to be up at 7am to prepare for Etta’s first birthday party,” says Indiana, a lean 5 ft 11 with model looks and tattoos snaking down her left arm.
James, who inspired her growing collection of tattoos, isn’t a stay at home dad as he has three businesses to run, including Suede Bar, three smoothie bars and the T-shirt company Some Kind Of Nature, which Indiana often wears for gigs and social media photos.
“He’ll kill me,” she says, realising she’s forgotten to wear a branded T-shirt for today’s photo shoot.
“We’re lucky that my mum has moved in to our house to help out with Harvey and Etta,” she says, returning to the childcare issue.
“She’s retired and she wanted to do it but she’s looking to buy a house so she won’t be there for much longer.”
Her mum and dad separated when she was six.
“I saw him every day and I was extremely close to him but I didn’t find out he was ill until I was 14 or 15,” she admits.
“He was a paranoid schizophrenic. My childhood is a very confusing place because there were two sides to him. He could be very loving and caring and a really fun dad to be around. But then he’d say some really confusing things to me.
“A young girl from our town had been murdered and the last person to see her alive had the same name as my dad. The police told him that they knew it wasn’t him but he invented this whole thing that he had killed this girl. He’d tell me that he was a bad man and a murderer.
“Even when they caught the guy who did it, he’d carry on saying that and I’d scream at him ‘what is wrong with you, you didn’t do it!’ It was very confusing. Very weird.
“He attempted to kill himself six times and I witnessed it. He stabbed himself in the stomach and we had to take him to hospital.
“He eventually killed himself because he thought me and my sisters would get bullied because of him.”
After that her mum moved away. Her older sisters, Joanne and Nicola, had already moved to Hampshire and London.
She became pregnant by a childhood friend.
Indiana admits that she went off the rails after her dad’s death, although she believes she was always off the rails until she found music.
“I was ungrounded, going from job to job, fixating on fitness or partying too hard or yo yo dieting... there was something I always had to focus on. Sometimes bad things. When I found music, I found peace. I have an addictive personality... I’m just glad that I’m addicted to something healthy.”
Early musical favourites included Marilyn Manson.
“I had a poster of him on the wall next to my bed right where my pillow was and I used to kiss it,” she laughs.
“What a weirdo!”
She adds: “I was a greb. I went through a bit of a bit of goth stage but reverted back to being a greb. I was into metal, punk and ska. I didn’t used to wash my hair, I’d wear baggy trousers... and I’d stink,” she laughs.
She didn’t make to the trip over the border to Rock City to see gigs though because she had a baby at home, whose dad is still very much a part of his life.
“Harvey’s heard me on the radio and he comes to rehearsals, so he’s getting it,” she says.
“He misses me when I’m away, as does Etta, but sometimes I see them more than the average mum because I can be at home for long periods.”
That won’t be the case this month when the album is released. There’ll be promotional duties to do followed by a UK tour that includes a home coming in November with a date at the Rescue Rooms.
She admits: “I’m the most contented and grounded and happiest I’ve ever been.”

No Romeo is released on October 13. Indiana plays the Rescue Rooms on November 7. Tickets are £10, call 0845 413 4444 or go to

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