Interview: LOLO chats songwriting, new album and musical past!
I’ve been lucky enough in the past few years to chat with some incredible lady role models before they blew up including Hayley Kiyoko and Melanie Martinez. Next up on the docket was LOLO aka Lauren Pritchard, who currently is on her first headlining run of the US. With a new record under her belt, LOLO is poised to break out.
An incredibly talented song writer, writing for herself as well as others and even writing musical theatre, she is a non stop threat. Her experience on the stage creates electric performances live and is a must see for any music lover. In a music industry so dominated by men, it is a breathe of fresh air to see a lady performer singing about something besides sex and men. Catch this talented lady before she blows up and read our new interview below!
You’ve obviously done US tours before but this is your first headlining run, starting this run last night. How was last night’s show and what are some goals for this headlining run?
Last night was wonderful. I think Philly is kind of a funny one for us because we haven’t spent a ton of time here. Not really for any other reason other than touring. It’s kind of funny the way it works with different routing. We’ve been on the road since like October 2015 off and on, mostly on then off, but the larger majority of the touring we’ve done is support for other headlining acts. So when it’s that case, you’re on their schedule. So you go to their markets wherever they are. So we’ve definitely toured through that area but not as much as we have some other places. Kind of based on that fact. Philly was a really great show and there were bodies in the room which is really exciting. I’m always surprised to see people. I don’t know why. It’s like “oh look people came!” It’s because I’m mostly just happy to see people but yeah, I think for this headline run it’s a really special thing for me.
I’m a bit like a cat, I’ve had a bunch of different lives in the industry already. I put a record out for Island Records in 2010 and I did a lot of touring in Europe. Mainland and also in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. And I did headline stuff over there but I’ve never done a headline run of any form in my own country. So this is a really big deal and it’s also just really encouraging more than anything to come out on the road and have a show like last night happen where there are bodies in the room and people are singing every single word of the songs along with me which is really crazy. It’s extremely humbling and very flattering and really special.
So yeah I think my expectations would overall be to just have a good time and be able to just continue to connect with people on a real basis which is what I enjoy the most about performing.
And like you said, this is your first headlining run. You have been the support slot but now you have that full headlining time. How did you go into preparing these sets? Is it a large focus on the record, due to it coming out so recently? Are you doing some new material?
It’s pretty much playing the record. Even though the record came out in September, so it’s a minute or two since it came out, we are trying to still really put it out there. Releasing the record in September was really the jump off point. The record is 37 minutes long so we have that to play live and then there’s a couple of tracks that didn’t make it on the record. I was really particular about how many songs I wanted the album to be and those kinds of things. So when it came down to making those decisions about what was going to go where, I was kind of strict with myself about that. So we’re playing a couple of songs that aren’t actually on the record that I wrote all sort of during the same chunk of time and that’s really fun too. For them to exist outside of my own mind, it’s good.
And you talked about how you had previously released a record and you’ve done Broadway? Was this something where you completely started fresh for this set project or were some songs from your past? How did you approach doing this new project, being LOLO?
For the most part, it was new stuff. The interesting thing about the sort of LOLO thing is when I put my first record out, I wanted to put it out as LOLO and it was a fight that I lost with the record company. It was really annoying. Basically the record that I put out back then was a record that I put out closer to the time that I left Spring Awakening and the record label had this really particular stance on it. That they wanted to capitalize on that and for me, I felt very strongly against it. For a number of reasons, the largest reason being the only thing that the record I made and Spring Awakening have in common is that I did them. I don’t do musical theatre type music. There’s nothing wrong with it either but I’m not a person like Kristen Chenoweth or Idina Menzel, Kelli O’Hara, Audra McDonald. First of all, those women are like the sweetest humans on the planet. People that I know and love and genuinely admire but we don’t make the same kind of records. So to put a record out under my name and sort of have it be advertised based on this theatre thing, for me felt extremely wrong and absolutely not what I wanted. I didn’t have any reinforcement and it was a fight I lost. And at that point in this sort of album making process and everything, I was sort of between a rock and a hard place. Contractually obligated in certain ways and it was really frustrating.
So going into this LOLO project, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted. I think that this record, and that record that I made in 2010, are not different in the tone of the honesty and vulnerability of writing. I think that with time, it just becomes clearer how I want to communicate that message for me. I took a reverse production approach and so we didn’t put a lot of bells and whistles on it production wise. I really wanted it to be about the words and stories I was trying to tell. So we gave that a lot of space.
The LOLO journey has been really fun. My guitarist describes it as my ultra-ego which I think is probably a good way to describe it. It’s not really my alter-ego because I’m sort of always all LoLo, all the time. It’s a longtime nick name. And honestly for me, I think I’ve probably identified as LoLo more than I have as Lauren. I was named after Lauren Bacall and she was this beautiful, glamorous movie star and I just have never felt that way. But I love my name, it’s not like I have anything against it. It’s just, people started calling me LoLo when I was young and I was this little scrappy little fucker.
So it’s kind of what you always wanted to be presented as?
It’s definitely what I’ve always been for sure.
And even though the record has only been out for a few months, you’ve been doing music for so long. Is it something where you are like already working on new material? Or do you think it’s still a while away?
I haven’t gotten that far. I mean I do a lot of different writing for different people. So at that moment, I would probably say I’m writing for other people. I mean I’m writing for other projects, not really writing for myself at all. Because I’m not in that head space. I think if something happens or comes up, that’s an accident. I also do the other side of things like I do composing, I do musical theatre writing as well and I’m writing for a couple of those projects at the moment too. So my head is kind of not in the writing space for literally myself but sometimes accidents happen. Like “Dandelion”, one of the songs on the record, was one of those songs. It was one of those songs where I was just kind of writing to write, in theory writing for something else, then that song appeared. It was like oh, okay I think this actually goes here. It’s all kind of a big puzzle of songs and I’m constantly creating things, working on things. All kinds of different things And sometimes I will write stuff that feels a little like I don’t know where this belongs yet and it will take awhile for it to find a home. It’s a bit of a journey.