Laura Bell Bundy
Laura Bell Bundy is a self-proclaimed HOT MESS. Often going by the nickname ‘LBB,’ she has also been called funny, sexy, ballsy, the Mayor of Crazytown, the Ambassador of Good Times, keeper of the bourbon, Kentucky Wildcat, Heir director, mommy to the canine community, and of course, a living Jean Bonet.
Having grown up in Kentucky, almost everything she touches turns chicken fried. But her southern roots extend far beyond her hair extensions. They are woven into her most creative endeavors. As a child, her wild imagination coerced her to play characters and tell stories right in her very own sandbox. To Laura Bell, it was simply the best way to have fun. It was this genuine love for performing, writing music, and telling stories that rocketed Bundy from her southern comfort zone to the bright lights of Broadway and beyond.
Laura Bell’s theatrical resume reads like a wish list of the most coveted roles in recent Broadway history. It all began with a debut at age 9 in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! At age 10, she originated the role of Tina Denmark in the successful off-Broadway production Ruthless, The Musical, for which she received the Outer-Critics Circle Award and a Drama Desk nomination. Next up was a chance to originate another role, this time as Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray. She followed this with a turn as Glinda in the smash hit Wicked and eventually blew the roof off the Palace Theatre when she originated the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a performance that earned her a Tony Award nomination, as well as Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations.
In addition to dominating Broadway stages, Laura Bell has also been spotted fooling around in front of the camera throughout her career, appearing on network television shows such as Cold Case, Veronica Mars, Home Improvement, “Becky” on How I Met Your Mother, Malibu Country, and a recurring role as “Shelby” on Hart of Dixie. She also played the disgruntled teen “Marah Lewis” on Guiding Light. When you play the daughter of Soap Super Couple Josh and Reva, it is safe to say that some will mistake fiction for reality, stopping you in a shopping mall to tell you that you’re acting like a slut. True story. Taking television to the big screen, Laura Bell’s film work includes Dream Girls, Jumanji, Life with Mikey, The Adventures of Huck Finn, CMT’s first original movie To The Mat, and the anticipated upcoming film, Watercolor Postcards.
Throughout her time on Broadway, television, and film, Bundy remained true to her roots. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl! With country music in her DNA, she began writing country music at the age of 14 and started her first band at 18. She connects with idols Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton over their shared love of Broadway musicals and performing country music. LBB says it’s, “because they are both all about storytelling. Storytelling connects and when you add music to it, all the emotions are heightened. I love creating and performing in outlets that allow me to truly connect with an audience.”
Laura Bell’s previous album, Achin’ and Shakin’ came out of this inherent need to connect and have fun. This time, the music was heartbreakingly personal and joyfully rowdy. The album captured two sides of this multifaceted performer. “Two records, one woman is my motto,” jokes Laura Bell, who penned all but one of the songs on the album. Achin’ was a collection of sultry and soulful country songs, and Shakin’ was a group of sassy songs that were equal parts humor, confidence and attitude. Her breakout hit from the Shakin’ set was “Giddy On Up” which reached #31 on the U.S. Billboard Country Charts and landed her a show stopping performance on the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards. “Giddy On Up” was also featured on the popular video game Just Dance 3. “Shakin’ was the party and Achin’ was the hangover.” It was a bold concept album that challenged the traditional Music Row formula for country females. But then again, LBB has always been a risk taker and a rule breaker, a lesson she learned early on from her beginnings in the “business of show.” Her mother taught her that limits were not to be respected. There are no limits; ANYTHING is possible. Cue downbeat to her upcoming album.
Her latest album is a complete party in one shiny disk (or do-able download). It answers the age-old questions of what happens when you combine HOT, country, dance tracks and hip-hop beats. Sounds crazy right? Crazy enough for you to fill your speakers with it…duh! If Barbara Mandrell was “country when country wasn’t cool”, then LBB is “crazy when crazy wasn’t cool.” This is a woman who sees caution tape and tears right through it! The music is quintessential LBB: bold, outspoken, hilarious, surprising, and devilishly dirrrty. Oh, and did we mention danceable? We guarantee you will get down to your birth weight just by moving to these tunes. This album wrangles her multiple personalities to bring you a full service entertainment experience. “Performing throughout my life has influenced how I want to share my music with the world. I believe my music should be fun. It should be a party….a danceable, fun, flirty, joyful party. With this album, I am bringing the party to my fans. I wanted to create the kind of music that can take people from hum drum to happy hour!” Who wouldn’t want to drink to that?
This need to create and connect has been LBB’s inner compass. Kind of like Dora The Explorer…but not as ethnic. In order to forge her own creative path and to pursue an overflowing whiskey barrel of comedic ideas, she started her own production company, LBBTV. The LBBTV team lives up to its name, Little Bit Bold, and it is often joked that the acronym could actually stand for Little Bit Bitchy…cause bitches get shit done. The company is spearheaded by Bundy, along with partners Tiffany and Brooke Engen. One of the most successful LBBTV projects to date is the sketch comedy web series, Cooter County (www.cootercounty.com). Cooter County has garnered more than four million upload views and a cult following that quote characters like Shocantelle Brown, Euneeda Biscuit, and Justice Goode, to name a few. These characters all live in the small fictional town of Cooter County, KY. “A small water tower town….with a meth lab,” jokes Laura. The LBBTV team is currently producing the style web series OMC! (Oh My Country!) on the CountryNow channel (www.youtube.com/countrynow). A mix of sketch comedy and all things related to country music and southern style, OMC! brings fashion in music to another level. LBBTV continues to have many projects in the works with Laura Bell not only producing but directing as well.
The truth of the matter is that LBB is not interested in the limitations of grownups. She has turned playing in the sandbox into playing music, playing characters and doing plays. In LBB’s own words, “The motivation is not to be famous, it’s to have fun until I drop dead.” She continues, “My true purpose in this life is to express and spread joy in creative and playful ways.” No matter what LBB is creating, fun is the common denominator. “I want to make you laugh till you pee your pants and dance till you slip a disc. I want every night to be like Saturday night.” There certainly is no shortage of tricks up this gal’s sleeve. Hold on to your booty shorts….and let her entertain you!