Standard Sounds

Annie O Presents: Soul Siren Lolo

We have a secret weapon at The Standard in the form of a French-Moroccan music maven named Annie O. After years in the music industry representing greats like Lou Reed, Pearl Jam, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and Peter Gabriel, we nabbed her to curate The Annie O Music Series, a regular concert series in the airy Penthouse of The Standard, East Village. This month though, Annie is headed across town to bring her magic to The Top of The Standard for a series of intimate performances with rising stars in that most glittering room. First up is a siren of soul, Lolo, on Wednesday, July 20th. Annie caught up with her to hear about her musical inspirations, bad breakups, and bunking with the Presleys. 

ANNIE O: You recently moved back to your home state of Tennessee. Did you feel like you needed to go back to your roots to write this album? How do you think growing up as a Southern girl has shaped your sound?
LOLO: I started writing when I was a young girl and after many years away from my original creative place I felt like I needed to go back to it and rediscover it. I grew up smack in between Memphis and Nashville. There's blues music, country music, folk music playing all the time, everywhere around you. It influences your ears from a very young age. I've been listening to soul music long before I could ever understand why it was so compelling. And then when I began to write, it just started pouring out of me. Osmosis is my favorite word to describe it. 

We read that you lived with the Presley family for a while when you first moved to LA? That sounds like a rock n' roll dream. What was that experience like for you and was it a formative period in your development as an artist? 
I did, they're beautiful people. It was formative because it was early on in my life, when I was still trying to figure out who I was as a writer. They really helped encourage me, believed in what I was doing, even back then. It was very validating. 
Not only have you written songs for top selling artists like Panic! At the Disco, but you've also written a raved about off-Broadway musical called "Songbird." Tell us a little bit about the personal nature of your new album "In Loving Memory of When I Gave A Shit," and what you're really excited about with this project in particular. 
Ahhhh I just love writing so much and every day feels like a fucking dream. "In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit" is exactly that - no longer trying to be what you think you should be, not giving a shit about opinions, honoring who you are, your feelings, your mind. Don't be shitty to people, but don't take shit from people either. I’m a firm believer in accountability. This album is about that, being accountable to who you are and what you stand for and not letting other things get in the way. 

Many people would say that Broadway and rock are very different. Many have tried before to do both, but can't make it work. You do it seamlessly. Why do you think that is? 
To be honest, I don't completely know. I think if I had to try and put my finger on it, I would say it’s because I’ve been able to put 100% of myself and my personality into what I’m doing. I’ve been able to creatively collaborate in all of the things I’ve done and stay true to myself in the process. I’m a wild child. People let me bring that to the table. I’m very thankful for that. 

Who would you say is your biggest vocal influence? 
Aretha Franklin. 

Can you explain the writing and recording process behind "Not Gonna Let You Walk Away." Why did you decide to make that the single? 
The writing process for that song was very stream of consciousness. I was in the middle of a hideous break up. The words were not hard to find and very honest. As far as making it the single, the song sort of bossed us around. We put it out and it took on a life of its own, so I decided to put my full weight behind it. It’s been a lot of fun to connect with people through that song. I’m not the only person who’s been through a hideous break up and I won’t be the last.

Are there any specific tracks you're currently listening to on repeat? 
Anything by the band Violet Soho, they’re my fave. Also, “Never Be Like You” by Flume featuring Kai and Anderson Paak’s incredible album Malibu is on constant repeat. 

What can audiences expect from your show at The Top Of The Standard? 
Emotion, realness. Lots of screaming (the good kind). I like to connect with my audiences. It means the world to me that people listen. I like to feel close to everyone in the room.

If Lolo had a super power what would it be? 
The power to read minds. 

What's next for you? 
Always writing, always creating. Working on two new musical theater projects, more music, more collaborations. Touring. Ya know, no rest for the wicked...

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