LP: From DIY Musician to Major Label Artist

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From indie artist to writing songs for the Backstreet Boys, Rihanna and Cher, singer/songwriter LP steps back into the spotlight with her new Warner Bros. Records release Forever, For Now. It is truly a testament to her hard work, talent and integrity. On the day following her recent performance at New York’s Rockwood Music Hall, LP sat down with Music Connection to talk about her journey from DIY musician to major label artist.

Music Connection: Great show last night. How was it for you?

Thank you. It was great. It was a bit loud. I use an ear monitor and regardless of the best sound people, you never know what you’re going to get. For whatever reason the drums were going through my mind. But the audience was really cool and really receptive.

I don’t think anyone noticed a problem.

Live music is one of those things you gotta take it for what it is you know what I mean. I’ve even learned that recently doing television. You want it to be so perfect and you’re so scared and then you’re like if I flub up even a little- even if millions of people see it, so what-they’re going to go on with their day.

I think you did the right amount of talking and I would imagine it was fun to reveal a bit of your humorous side?

I’m in that stage we’re I’m opening up for a lot of people so it’s like 30 minutes your on, your off so I don’t get to open up and show who I am but when it’s my own show and people are open to hearing it, it’s fun to give people a little more of a window into what I’m like. My songs are very emotional and serious a lot of times so it’s good to show that I’m a sort of a goofball in my normal life.

A singer friend of yours described your new album as triumphant? It’s always a moment of triumph to complete something of that magnitude and feel good about it but this must be a milestone in another sense as well?

Yes. To finally have it out.  (My friend) helped me because my perspective was so off on the record and like I said last night when you listen to something so much it’s hard to enjoy it again through your own eyes. It takes other people and your fans to show you the worth of it again because you’re already over it a little bit and kind of thinking about the next thing.

In terms of fans, I know at first you had to build them on your own. You had a couple of albums early on and you toured with a band which has its pluses and minuses. Is that how you really built your fan base?

Well, yes and no. I was a DIY thing and I was touring for three and a half years hardcore before I got my first major label deal and literally I never toured again. And I didn’t actually miss it. But I think having the (Citibank) commercial helped get another shot at a fan base.

Along those lines––there is often more than one career defining moment but what break do you think created a sort of “sea change” for you?

Probably the biggest was the writing and the subsequent (Citibank) commercial of “Into the Wild.” It so resonated with who I was in every way and people could feel it and the exposure-I was kind of amazed. I really saw the power of television.

How did your first cut with a major artist alter the course of your career?

The first one I ever got was a Backstreet Boys cut and that got people’s attention as far as another bump up and it got my attention because it was a song that I had written for myself in my first label deal and I thought “ah I can write songs and maybe they can be picked up.”

Do you feel that the opportunities are there for pop/rock songwriters since so many artists write their own songs?

Well that’s why I think I started writing urban. I honestly didn’t think I was going to be an artist again so I thought I’ve gotta write all kinds of different stuff. I gotta write with urban people, I gotta write country, pop.

Is it hard to find people to collaborate with?

It’s hard to find better and better people. When I signed my first publishing deal I worked with everyone. Sometimes you never know. You can have a new person that’s great-I was a new person. Everybody needs a chance. Having said that, you don’t have to be the person that works with every new person.

What was it like to go back to being an artist especially on a different level?

It’s not that I didn’t have any fight left in me but there are only so many times you can say “this is who I am and you need to listen up.” Honestly my dignity wouldn’t allow it. But the way that this (organically) came about my dignity has been allowed to stay intact. There was a respect level from Warner Brothers, my producer and my management that opened the world up a little bit and allowed me to be myself and I’m very grateful for that.

The song inspired by your mother (actually the title cut)-very beautiful. It reminded me of the score from a 70’s movie. And the whistling? Where did you learn to do that so well?

I’ve always whistled and I think in the last couple of years because I’ve been putting it on record I’ve honed it even more.

And the ukulele?

It opened a door in my heart and made me enjoy music again on a visceral level on my own, not for other people-just for me 

What was the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

One of the best things, I think, the advice I gave myself was not to force things. To be prepared and to work hard because I think when you force things like in those movies that are about time travel if you go back in time like in “Back To The Future” where he alters one thing and his sister starts disappearing in the picture I think forcing things is the way that we alter how the universe is opening up for us.

Contact Rick.Gershon@wbr.com