New York native, LP, may have only migrated to LA a few years ago, but the singer-songwriter is everything this city adores. She stands out from the crowd with her menswear attire and black, Bob Dylan-esque curls. She’s creative and insanely talented. She has epic whistling skills. She drives a black Prius. With a unique voice that is both delicate and strong at once, she captures crowds and coverts them into instant fans. Already known for her bit in the rock climbing Citibank commercial and work as a songwriter on Rihanna’s Cheers (Drink To That), LP is now recording her Warner Bros. debut album, following this year’s release of her Live At EastWest Studios EP.
LP recently sat down with Via Los Angeles to talk about how becoming an Angeleno got her back on stage as a performer.
When LP first came to LA she had put singing on hold and spent all of her time songwriting. While the initial plan was to keep a small Beachwood area sublet for short but frequent visits from NYC, LA’s charm crept up on her. She was unexpectedly hooked and found herself thinking, “Ahh, I love it here.” With that, LA became home.
Originally, LP was content with her full time gig as a songwriter, admitting, “I liked the anonymity.” When Island Def Jam signedher, the label didn’t nurture her as a live performance artist. Ironically, she gets the most praise for her live performances, nowadays. “From 2006 to the end of 2009 I hadn’t done any shows,” LP explained. It was when she settled in LA that the planets aligned in her favor.
LP gives heavy credit to Sayer’s Club as “the whole way I came back into being an artist.” She started doing a few covers at music industry hangouts like Bardot and Soho House. “My friend asked me to sing at Bardot,” a club that had live sessions on Thursday nights. “A lot of famous people would jump up and do a song. Somebody got sick and they asked me to do one or two. So, I did, and everybody freaked out.” While she was hiding a ton of original songs in her pocket, LP sang the covers just for fun, with no real expectations.
Coincidentally, a couple of months before she started messing around with a microphone again, LP had toyed with the idea of putting her own group together, maybe “just a little three piece band.” She even learned to play the ukulele. The problem was that she couldn’t find any musicians to bring her idea to life and didn’t really have the time to try with such an intense writing schedule. LP thought, “If it’s natural, then cool, it will happen.”
And it did. “When I played at Bardot, all of the sudden, every musician in the house was giving me their card and their number,” she says. “I started having guys to play with.” LP got her three piece band and she did two shows.
Now, if you haven’t heard LP singing a cover, this is the time where you will want to check out her performances of Halo, Somebody That I Used To Know, or Dream On. While the charm of a cover is familiarity, LP sings these songs with such spirit that they seem to be her own.
Every time I sing live people come up to me and it’s very nice and I am very honored,” she explains. Despite her acclaim with Bardot-goers, LP didn’t imagine she would ever become a huge artist. Still her voice could not be left out of the spotlight much longer. “I was in so many people’s ear. It was really funny,” says LP. “Things just started bubbling and it all happened in LA. It was as if LA just claimed me and was like, ‘What about this fuckin’ chick?’”
When Jason Scoppa, the nightlife director at Bardot, moved his live music sessions to Sayer’s Club, LP followed, and had her biggest night yet. In true Hollywood fashion, everything played out like a scene from a film. ”People were coming to see me on Thursday nights…It was building and building and I don’t think I was signed yet, but the buzz was really happening.” LP vividly remembers the evening that took her career to the next level. Since the audience was loving her covers already, the singer/songwriter decided to take a chance on herself and perform one of her own creations, Into the Wild. “I sang two songs that night,” she recalls. “It was Michael Jackson I Want You Back and Led Zeppelin Ramble On, and I decided, ‘I am going to sing Into the Wild after this.”
“I felt like it was the exact right moment,” says LP. “People were like ‘What’s her stuff like? I heard she does her own stuff. I wonder what that’s like.’ I could sing those other two songs really well and people were going nuts.”
Even though everything felt right and she had a lot of support, there was still tension behind-the-scenes. “I think my new manager was really nervous because it was like, ‘After those two fucking huge songs, we’re whipping out Into the Wild?’ she laughs. “For some reason, I did Into the Wild and the room broke loose. It was really the most amazing moment, ever. I did it at just the right moment and and people were like, “I can’t believe — that’s your song?!” and I was like “Yeah!” Everyone went nuts. It was a massive moment for me.”
On the heels of LP’s successful rise back to the stage in LA, our first It Girl of 2013 shares her favorite spots in the city…
Check out LP’s EP “Live At EastWest Studios” available on iTunes and stay tuned for her debut album.
Edited by: Gena Oppenheim