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Mama Sings in a Band

Lawyer-turned-singer alumna Laura Hoffman Roppé makes a splash with songs like "Mama Needs a Girls' Night Out."

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By Alison Hewitt

Published Aug 20, 2008 11:31 AM


For Laura Hoffman Roppé '91, the journey from UCLA theater major to singer took an unusual detour through law school.

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The San Diego attorney thought she had left the artistic time of her life behind, but after marrying her high school sweetheart, establishing a successful law career and starting a family, she found herself antsy to accomplish more. At the top of her list was singing in a band.

She made it a goal in 2006, and two years later on Aug. 13 she debuted her first CD, Girl Like This. Songs like Mama Needs A Girls' Night Out draw on her own hectic life.

"It's an honest expression of, hey, being a mother is hard, and you need your girlfriends and your own permission to let loose sometimes," Roppé says. She's still stunned by her success. "I'm just this lady who jogs and makes peanut butter and jelly for my kids, but I'm able to feel like a rock star. It's been incredible."

She took a nervy chance when she spotted the producer of her favorite morning radio show in the parking lot of the grocery store this month. She tapped on his car window and handed him her CD.

"I'm a lunatic," she says in retrospect.

But the next day her songs were on the radio, fans were calling in, and the producer, "Little Tommy" Sablan from San Diego's 94.1 FM, was praising her music.

"I was blown away by the production and the sound," Sablan said on air. "I just like the sound of her voice."

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Laura Roppé and her daughters,
Sophie (left) and Chloe.

Part of what inspired Roppé to reclaim her creative side were her UCLA classmates from the School of Theater, Film and Television. Among them are alumnus Jack Black, currently starring in the comedy Tropic Thunder; Michael Goorjian, who snagged a recurring role in Party of Five; and Marco Sanchez, who appeared repeatedly in Walker, Texas Ranger.

"I've watched them and wondered why I didn't have the courage they had," Roppé says. "My experience in theater was the time of my life because I was surrounded by the most creative, idealistic, energetic people I've ever met. Law has the most skeptical people you'll ever meet. You need that idealism in your life."

Women are already telling her that her song Mama Needs a Girls' Night Out is their "anthem." The song rattles off the trials of motherhood — dirty diapers, laundry, and kids wailing over fries and ponies. The mom in the song calls her gal pals:

"Put your kids to bed,
Get your skinny jeans on,
Bust me outta here,
'Cuz I'm so far gone."

A homemade music video celebrates sparkly tops and beer, while the lyrics reassure moms that it's okay to leave the house "a couple times a year."

"Moms gone wild!
Lord knows she loves her child,
But Mama needs a girls' night out!"

But Roppé's songs don't just tackle the overwhelming side of motherhood. A song close to her heart is Little Daughter, which she uses to tell her girls — Sophie, 8, and Chloe, 5 — all her motherly advice, and ends with the chorus: "The greatest joy in my whole life is watching you grow."

But the joy of singing isn't far behind — she's already gearing up to record songs for her next album.

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