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Laura Roppe: On a Run

Laura Roppe is a mother of two, a cancer survivor and an emerging pop star in England. Her newest CD, I’m Still Here, written during the year she spent undergoing chemotherapy, is currently being aired in heavy rotation at a number of British pop stations.

These days, she ranks consistently in the top 10 among Billboard.com’s Top 50 Uncharted Artists. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering that just five years ago, Roppe was a successful if dissatisfied Rancho Bernardo attorney. Going through something of a midlife crisis, she decided to try a marathon. Running 26.2 miles seemed like the cure.

“But when I crossed that finish line,” she says, “I thought, ‘I have to sing in a band.’ ” She joined a local cover band named Cool Band Luke.

During her second marathon, Roppe discovered that the sound of the rhythmic, steady pounding of feet inspired her. By the end of the race, she’d written a complete song in her head. She kept writing music, and by 2008, Roppe recorded the CD Girl Like This and posted it on Myspace.

A London label contacted her through Myspace and offered a recording deal. But the ink on the contract had barely dried when she got a call from her doctor. “She told me I had breast cancer —  and not only that,” she says, “it was a really ag­gressive type.”

Roppe quit her law firm that same day and spent much of the next year fighting for her life. Cancer-free as of this writing, Roppe says it will be a while yet before her doctors are able to declare that she is in full remission.

In the meantime she’s written a book about the experience, Woobie, which is what she calls her childhood security blanket. “Woobie” also happens to be the name of a song she wrote after waking up one night post-diagnosis to find her husband, Brad, crying in his sleep. She says, “My husband is my ultimate Woobie.”