The LA singer-songwriter responsible for hits from Cher, RiRi and The Backstreet Boys.
Even if you don’t think you’ve heard of LP (Laura Pergolizzi), there’s every chance her music has already unwittingly permeated your ears. Cher. The Backstreet Boys. Christina Aguilera. The LA songwriter has been responsible for penning some of the biggest pop bops in history – even strumming together Rihanna monster track “Cheers (Drink To That)” on a ukulele. Casual.
But over the years, the songstress has made a name for herself with her own brand of rock ’n’ roll-tinged pop, flooded with her signature husky tones and deeply moving lyrics. From relatable emotive tracks inspired by previous break-ups, to music videos that show the grim reality for gay parents in today’s society – LP’s fearless intent to impact is clear.
We caught up with the singer-songwriter below…
How did you first get involved in music?
I think it was in response to my childhood being a bit controlled as far as what you were going to do with your life, like get an education, be a doctor. I think I felt like music seemed like a cool, absolute 180 from what I was brought up to accept was possible. I just felt like it was a very risky, but very seductive thing.
Yeah, rewarding in the immediate. But not in the long term for a long time. It was very difficult. When you’re trying to get there, you do a million things to keep yourself afloat. As you get older people start wanting to see signs that you’re succeeding. You see people that crack under that pressure and give up, but to what end? Even with music, it’s a straight up job like any other job.
And you were talking about how it’s completely different from your childhood or how you were brought up – do you find an emotional outlet in it?
Absolutely, yeah. I have that emotional outlet and I have that way to connect with people that a lot of people don’t. I can see so much beauty in that connection with people. I feel like it’s a responsibility as well. I definitely have been on stage before thinking to myself ‘well I can’t let these people down with my next record, I need to at least have some stuff to keep them happy, I hope I can do it.’
So what inspired your new album Heart To Mouth?
A lot of people say it’s a lot darker than my last record. I think it is, but I think that there’s a lot of dark things rolling around my head, even though I was living the dream for sure, I felt like there was a lot of distance in my personal relationships. I felt a bit isolated on tour, even though I was having the time of my life and it was a beautiful thing and I love it and wouldn’t give it up or trade it, it’s just one of those things where you have to stay well and healthy to do it.
And do you have a favourite song on it or a favourite lyric?
I think “Dreamer” is one of my favourites. I love “One Night in the Sun.” I love “The Power”, “Shaken” is really fun, different, special. There’s some upbeat rock ‘n’ roll shit. Also, one of my very close friends was murdered, it was pretty brutal.
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Did you channel a lot of that energy into it?
Yeah, “Special” is about him. My fiancé was on tour with me in Milan, right about this time in 2016, things were just really starting to take off with the last record. She went home early and I saw these messages on my phone and I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was drugs at first and then I was like ‘oh my god’. So the impermanence of life was really striking me a lot in this record. And I had a really hard breakup before. I think sometimes hard breakups get you more reluctant to think things are going to work out later on. They scar you a bit. I think I had a lot of that rattling around my head in this record.
You don’t shy away from tough subjects. “Lost on You” is about a breakup with an ex-girlfriend and your video for “No Witness” shows gay fathers who have been brutally beaten up. Do you find an outlet in your music?
Yeah, I do. The song “The Power” is kind of like me imagining what could be, in a bad way. And thinking of all the things I had to do to get where I am, as far as relationships that didn’t work out where I fucked up things. It’s this endless cycle of just getting to where you’re going.
What do you want listeners to take away from your music?
I just want them to feel thoughtful and kind of moody. There’s a bit of a journey happening: in all my records I try to make a bit of a landscape of ups and downs.
So I’ve read previously that you’ve contributed to songs for Cher, Christina Aguilera, The Backstreet Boys and Rihanna, which is absolutely amazing. Is songwriting still your first love?
Yeah. I just think that there is no one without the other. One, people get to sing, but not everybody gets to sings their original thoughts.
It’s poetry in a sense?
I needed to be known as a writer, not just as a singer. So I felt like I had to catch my writing up in some ways. I also like the idea of a body of work. I’m always trying to not necessarily outdo myself, but just to continue working and writing. I think the writing is everything.
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So you’ve written for other people and you’ve written for yourself. What about collaborations?
I did a special with cool American indie act, Mondo Cozmo. He plays with a full band, but he’s just a down-to-earth, rock ‘n’ roll guy. We had a cool connection and just like wrote a song in pretty much an hour then went out and drank beers for 5 hours and talked. I did a lot of stuff with Mike Del Rio and Nate Campany, who I wrote “Lost On You” with and I love them. They’re like my at home band, you know. It’s nice to grow with them, I enjoy that we can keep evolving as like a team, it’s cool.
What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve had about your music?
They think it’s an evolution, like a step up. And it’s definitely darker, as we said. When I get fan mail and stuff, like I had a woman write to me, she didn’t say what exactly happened but she lost her baby to a monster she said, like a year ago. And she couldn’t cry, she couldn’t emote about it. And she listened to my music and just started crying and feeling all of this stuff. And she just thanked me.
What was your response?
just wrote her a nice letter back. I mean you hope people are benefitting from your music but when someone writes you something like, it’s like, wow. It makes you want to keep doing it.
Is that your main motivation?
I mean it is, but I would feel very pompous if I was like, ‘my main goal is to heal people through music.’ But I feel like I heal myself, so I’d like to share it.
So you’ve got the new album coming out. What else are you excited about?
Just to tour, and connect to people again. And really experience how this body of work affects them, if it affects them. We’ll see. I put a lot of emotion into it, as I did the last one. So I think it’ll come across. I’m excited to sing this stuff live and put the set together.