The LP singer navigates today in a rare universe for artists: with a growing and passionate audience, she is not exactly totally mainstream, even if she has more than 3 billion streams of her music. Her position has the advantage of the comfort of international recognition, but she still has the space to do what she wants and challenge herself without greater pressure.
After many years of achieving this recognition, LP, which is Laura Pergolizzi‘s nickname and stage name, is a unique artist. Androgynous, her music blends pop, rock, and folk, with a powerful range paraded in a series of strong and striking songs.
The trajectory of many musicians encounters obstacles to success, but the LP had an extra element. The androgyny – of name and sexuality – that today makes her an LGBTQIA+ icon at the time made it difficult for record labels to “classify” her. Today it is exactly one of the most positive elements of the fluidity she represents. LP was one of the highlights of Lolapalooza in 2022 and is back in Brazil on a tour of Latin America. By the way, one detail, it’s no use calling her “Laura” because even she doesn’t recognize herself anymore with her given name. “Laura left the building. There is no Laura here anymore”, she joked in the exclusive interview she gave to CLAUDIA.
LP emerged in the early 2000s with music that translates strength and vulnerability, but before being able to record her own material, she wrote for others, such as Christina Aguilera, Cher, Rihanna, and the Backstreet Boys. Her recordings appeared on series soundtracks (such as South of Nowhere and Orange is The New Black), but it was only in 2011 that the scenario began to change, with a Citibank commercial that used excerpts from the album Into the Wild. In 2016, with her biggest hit to date, the ballad Lost on You, she gained the international recognition she had dreamed of. By this time, she had already gone through several record labels, without ever allowing herself to fit in with what would be expected of her.
Churches is the sixth LP album and the source material for the current tour. Brings yet another series of melodic songs and heartfelt lyrics. For the singer, it’s a good opportunity to extend herself more because her show at Lolapalooza was shorter. The performance in São Paulo is the only one in the country and the first in South America (the show in Rio was canceled due to scheduling issues). After a quick rest at the hotel, LP spoke with CLAUDIA over the phone, excited about the chance to sing for Brazilian audiences again.
CLAUDIA: Did you have time to rest? Arrived today and already have the schedule pulled!
LP: I’m getting there (lol). I got a bit of cold before leaving the States, so I was just taking care of myself.
CLAUDIA: Last year I was at your performance at Lolapalooza and it was incredible, the audience was excited for you. What’s it like to go back a year later, no longer a pandemic?
LP: It was really great [Lolla’s show], I was trying to keep my expectations for the best. You know, I’ve done so many kinds of shows: big, and small, and I just know that I try to deal with what’s in front of me, do the best I can for the people but I’m excited to do my own show. I like festivals and everything, but it ends up being smaller, right? It’s like you have a specific time, but at least now people are allowed to like it even more.
CLAUDIA: A basic question, how did your nickname come about? Doesn’t anyone call you “Laura” anymore?
LP: No. Laura left the building. (laughs) There’s no Laura here anymore. But yes, I can tell you the story. I used to work in a restaurant and there was another Laura. Then they apologized and asked me if I could be “LP” (the initials of her first and last name) or “Laura 2” and I thought that “Laura 2″ was kind of boring and I don’t do twos (laughing ), so I came across “LP”. A friend of mine had called me that when I was a kid. I liked it so much that I adopted it. It was like any nickname that defines you and it kind of took off. And I think it’s too early for that, but it kind of became a UN stage name in itself [a name without defining genders]. I just remember that it felt right. Which is interesting because it was like my identity was coming online as well, you know? My sexuality and everything. And so I feel like the name kind of stuck out with that and it just felt like a new beginning. And I felt like I was finding myself, in a way.
CLAUDIA: And the initials make a neutral name…
LP: True, true. And I also think a lot of people like to call them by their initials. The name issue is curious and I always say that your parents didn’t really know you before you were born, and yet they give you a name. It can be hit or miss. Maybe it’s right, and maybe not. (laughter)
CLAUDIA: And the initials, for a song, are an indirect pun (LP was how they referred to the Long Plays)…
LP: (laughing) But I come from the time when there was the association.
CLAUDIA: You grew up listening to a lot of classical music and classic rock, right?
LP: Yes, yes, exactly.
CLAUDIA: Which classic rock, which classic rock bands influence you the most?
LP: Led Zeppelin was my first. Then Queen, Beatles… so many! I just had a lot of classic stuff and then, you know? Then I started to like more current stuff for me, like Nirvana and Jeff Buckley. Among the women, are Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, and Chaka Khan. Kind of a little bit of everything? There’s a small part of me that loves current pop music, but it’s mostly the 90s stuff that was impacting me when I was really growing musically, after the classics.
CLAUDIA: If you had to do a new cover, would there be any in particular that you would consider?
LP: Yeah like I did with Halo (a Beyoncé cover that LP blew up online)? At the moment I don’t think about it too much because I’m focusing on my material, I’m kind of in my own space, and writing songs is the most important thing for me.
CLAUDIA: What was it like writing for other artists?
LP: It was difficult. I had just gone through two cycles of writing for myself as an artist, and then I started writing for others. Uh-huh. [thoughtfully]
CLAUDIA: Is there a story behind Lost on you?
LP: I wrote it in 2014 and had no idea it would be such a hit. I was at Warner Brothers, my record company, and my career was at standstill, a lot of people were being laid off and I really didn’t know what to do, you know? My relationship was crashing and burning, I could feel it, but it wasn’t like everything was on the surface. So I played it for the people at the record company, a new group, who were going to judge whether they would keep me or not. I played Lost on You and Muddy Waters, but after almost a year and a half, they fired me.
CLAUDIA: And then?
LP: Some other labels in Europe, smaller ones licensed the song and it exploded. It was very unexpected. From there, it got picked up around the world and other singles were doing well too and so it all worked out.
CLAUDIA: Are the love songs still more personal or has it become more technical?
LP: Still very personal. I just wrote a new album [Churches] which is very, very personal because it’s about all my love affairs. [Pause] Or one in particular [Laughs] Yeah! And some of the old, some new stuff. So yes, no, I mean it’s always very deep. As public as my relationships can be, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Just, I just write about what’s going on in my life.
CLAUDIA: And after South America, what’s the destination?
LP: There’s the Australian leg of the tour, some festivals, and then new records. It’s going to be a lot of bigger things in 2023.
CLAUDIA: Based on the experience you had last year in Brazil, what are your expectations for the audience this year?
LP: I’m really, really excited and feel good about the new material. I think they’ll love it. I will always do my best. We always have a show with something spontaneous. It’s always the best!