At the end of the day, it’s all about being honest, taking no B.S., and getting right back up after every fall. New York-born singer, songwriter, and all-around rock rebel LP puts it even more succinctly, “I go Johnny Cash on that shit and just get through it.”
Like the Man in Black, she pens and performs timeless tunes with attitude—albeit minus the country twang and cowboy hats. Ukulele in hand, voice booming with soul and spirit, and pulling no punches, LP’s palatability belies an underground unrestraint sharpened by several years in the industry. By 2014, she had not only written hits for Rihanna, Cher, Backstreet Boys, Cher Lloyd, and more, but also released her major label debut, Forever For Now. The latter’s “Into The Wild” fueled a Citibank ad campaign as everyone from The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today to Vogue and BuzzFeed extolled the artist. She performed on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! and ignited audiences at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and more. However, as her six-year romantic relationship failed and she split from her label, LP put her head down and wrote what would become 2016’s Death Valley EP [Vagrant Records].
“My goal was just to create my best music,” she says. “I stopped overthinking things. I didn’t know how it was going to come out or if anyone would ever hear it, but I just wanted to write. No one told me what to do. I wasn’t trying to fit into some fucking label’s ideal of who I should be. I had complete artistic freedom.”
Death Valley became a watershed moment for the songstress and modern rock at large. Driven by her signature ukulele, raspy acoustic guitars, and the unshakable refrain, “Baby is that lost on you?,” its lead single “Lost On You” amassed over 91 million YouTube views as well as 44 million Spotify streams and went triple-platinum in Italy, platinum in France, Poland, and Germany, and gold in Switzerland. Meanwhile, the title track, “Muddy Waters,” soundtracked the Season 4 climax of NETFLIX’s Orange Is The New Black.
“I love a record that has an eclectic bunch of songs,” she goes on. “I want it to be an interesting landscape, and I like to use my voice in different ways. That was my goal with Death Valley.”
It also extends to her 2017 full-length album. Once again, LP re-unites with the team behind Death Valley—producer POWERS’ Mike Del Rio [Christina Aguilera, X Ambassadors] and writer Nate Campany [Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Martin Garrix].
“It’s a weird thing,” she says. “I feel more confident than ever before. I don’t have to police myself anymore. For this record, I decided to unapologetically tress on, keep going, and run with my emotion.”
Ultimately, as LP writes more, she continues to connect with audiences everywhere. “There’s a survivor mentality that comes through naturally,” she leaves off. “That strikes a chord. I want to show people it’s possible to do whatever they want on their own terms.”