Ian Anderson 2:30 p.m., Feb. 18
Laura Roppe's Cancer Survival Song/Video Hits 1 Million YouTube Views
Laura Roppé has surpassed a million YouTube views of the costume and dance-filled video for her cancer survival anthem “I’m Still Here,” which had over 13,000 views during its first 12 hours online.
The achievement caps a banner year for Roppé, one which began with Billboard ranking her number six in the world on their Uncharted Music Chart, a listing of Top 100 emerging artists who demonstrate significant internet presence.
Shortly after that, her “George Clooney” music video began charting in the Top 30 or higher on YouTube in 13 countries, with over 50,000 views during its first week online.
“I wrote ‘George Clooney’ during treatments for triple negative breast cancer in 2009,” says the San Diego–bred singer-songwriter. “My chemo buddy and I were chatting about who we’d want in the movie of our lives one day, and I said, ‘Well, we need to find a part for George Clooney. You know, he’s so dreamy….’ That night I wrote the song, and I realized it was my bucket-list song [about] the life I would live when all of the cancer stuff was behind me. I originally thought it would be a hidden track, because it’s so weird. And then I thought, ‘Oh, well, I’m a weirdo. I might as well not try to hide it.’”
As if that wasn't enough to call it a good year, “I’ve signed a book deal with Seal Press, an imprint division of publishing powerhouse Perseus Books to publish my memoir in Spring 2012,” she says.
“My book is a life adventure/self-realization/love story/music/cancer memoir.” Her album I’m Still Here also deals with her surviving chemotherapy and cancer.
Roppé was raised in San Diego, getting her musical start in high school plays.
After obtaining a degree in theater arts from UCLA (where Jack Black was her fellow student), Roppé originally pursued a legal career, marriage, and motherhood. However, after running her first marathon in 2006, she was so overcome by her sense of accomplishment, she vowed to follow her heart and resume singing.
In 2006, she began singing for the cover band CoolBandLuke, belting out cover tunes from artists as varied as Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Blondie, Lucinda Williams, and Kelly Clarkson.
In 2007, after running a second marathon, Roppé made another life-changing vow: to release an album of her original songs within a year. In early 2008, she made a demo with her cousin Matthew Embree of Rx Bandits. After bringing it to Grammy-nominated producer Steve Wetherbee of Golden Tracks Studio, he encouraged her to make a full-length album.
Her 2008 debut album Girl Like This (all songs written by Roppé) was produced by Wetherbee in Escondido. It features Matthew Embree (Rx Bandits) on electric and acoustic guitar on several tracks, as well as Marc “Twang” Intravaia, Dennis Caplinger (Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale), Bob Sale, and Jennifer Argenti.
“My music is an eclectic and organic blend of Americana, pop, rock, blues, country, even a sprinkling of bluegrass when the mood strikes me. It’s melodic...and typically happy and hopeful. Though sometimes a bit testy, if I have something urgent to say.”
In May 2008, Roppé was selected as runner-up in Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star Contest (San Diego) for her song “Mama Needs a Girls' Night Out.” Shortly thereafter, her song “Float Away” aired on Jeff and Jer’s local Showgram, on Star 94.1 FM, prompting such a flood of listener calls that the song became a station staple.
“It got a huge reaction,” she says. “Their phones lit up with people wanting to get a copy.” After Roppé won second place in the 2008 New Country 95.7 local talent competition, she was signed by a U.K. label wanting to distribute her album overseas. The pieces of her dream, she says, were falling into place.
Then, in October 2008, she got a call from her doctor. “She told me I had breast cancer and not only that, it was a really aggressive type.”
Roppé left her job as an attorney and spent much of the year ahead fighting for her life. She continued to write songs. By the end of her treatment regimen, Roppé was declared cancer-free. In late 2010, she released a new autobiographical album called I’m Still Here.
As of 2011, Roppé (pronounced row-pay) — a mother of two — lives in Encinitas. She is considered cancer-free but is not yet in full remission.
Is she ever scared about this?
“Yes. I am. But I can’t control it,” she says. “So I try not to dwell on those feelings.”