In December, 2015, LP and Darren Criss met in Los Angeles to shoot a video for the series “Act Like a Musician,” which we have for you today. Darren Criss is an actor and a songwriter, and he plays the uke as well. He is most famous from his role in the Glee TV series, which was very popular in the USA between the years 2009-2015.
Still frame from ALAM video
Their conversation is casual and not really in-depth, but there are some things about it that make it probably one of the most beloved interviews with LP, ever. Firstly, the video features one precious rarity: at the end of it they play ukuleles and LP sings “Cheers,” which she wrote for Rihanna. It’s been on repeat on our computers since the first day we saw this video. Secondly, she is relaxed, she jokes around and looks absolutely stunning, you simply can’t take your eyes off her. They talk about their careers a bit and the satisfaction they find in songwriting. They also mention Hollywood’s heritage and the spiritual side of LA from their perspective as songwriters.
We prepared the full transcript of this interview for you to find below. Have a pleasant read, although… once you’re done, go ahead and play yourself the video too. For your viewing pleasure.
P.S. This is exactly how LP looked when we ran at her, or better said – she ran at as, in Berlin in front of the Lido club in November, 2016. We forgot how to communicate in English.
LP: Hey, what’s up! How you’re doin’?
Darren Criss: You look so cool!
LP: I’m so happy to see you.
LP: You look good.
DC: Oh, thank you, I dressed for the occasion.
LP: Yeah, I see, I see.
DC: God, you look cool! I feel like you just should dress like that all the time.
DC: All right.
LP: Yeah. Well, look at that.
DC: Look at this.
DC: We’ve got tea, ukuleles.
LP: Ah, yes.
DC: I see you’re wearing your Darren Criss wig.
LP: I do!
DC: I brought my LP wig.
LP: The extra version. The pre-abridged.
DC: Yeah, me too. I wanted to dress for a day. It’s good I didn’t wear my black jacket…
LP: That’d be weird.
DC: ‘Cause that would have been too much, they wouldn’t know who is who.
LP: We don’t know each other well yet. We’re just…
DC: Yeah. We’ve been…
LP: We’re like new friends. We’re like acquaintances for a while.
DC: We’ve been on the periphery of each other’s lives for a while.
DC: I think that people who watch don’t really… they take it for granted, being in music industry. I don’t think that writing music for other people is a part of that journey.
DC: Like: “Oh, I guess I could do that.” So, I’m with you, that was me sort of…
LP: Yeah, that’s weird, right? That came when I thought… I thought my career, like, I’d had two major label deals that didn’t yield a record, but I wrote a shit-tone of songs, crazy number of songs. So songs kept getting pulled from my catalogue to go to other people and then… Actually it’s really cool being a songwriter.
DC: Yeah. Do you get great, like… I do… I get a lot of satisfaction when I hear other people sing songs I’ve written.
LP: Oh my God, yeah.
DC: More than I would have if I did it.
DC: I don’t know if it’s the same for everybody or are they, some sort, like: “Oh, I really should have cut that…”
LP: Yeah. No, I actually never go like: “Ah, I should have…”
DC: Good, I hope not.
LP: You now, maybe I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had that song yet.
DC: Well, I feel like, if you do, just cut it, you don’t play it for everybody, this is mine, I’m sorry, no, I’m not for sale.
LP: Yeah, maybe, yeah, yeah, yeah.
LP: So now, when you got Glee, like, how did, how did it exactly happen, like, where did it come out of?
DC: I mean, it was sort of string of events and a show was already a hit, I was senior at college when it was a hit.
LP: Oh, ok.
DC: I remember going: “Jesus, this is, like, a huge deal.” And… it wasn’t till the second season that I got on the show. And it was like, wow, I get to join, like, you know, like One Direction or something. But by the time I got to the final season, this would’ve been last year around this time, I finally said: “You know what, I, I’ve got nothing to lose.” I went [?] to a big boss and I was like: “What do you think of the idea of writing a song for this, I might write it for Lea and we’ll just see how it goes, if you don’t like it, my feelings won’t be hurt.” So, I end up writing what’d be Lea Michel’s last song on the show.
LP: And it had a lot of depth to it.
DC: That was so funny…
DC: …’cause I was writing specifically for her, so I kind of had a lot of the ground work done…
DC: …and after, like, looking to my soul, it’s like writing for her…
DC: …and to get to that level was extremely gratifying and made me really, it was really encouraging, as a songwriter…
DC: …like, I guess this is something that I might wanna do… do more and more.
LP: I have a new record, I just started releasing a couple of songs this year and gonna be releasing more next year.
DC: It’s on Vagrant, right?
LP: Yes, on Vagrant Records.
DC: That’s cool company, man.
LP: Yeah, I really dig them, I’m an indie person at heart, always been.
DC: I’m excited.
LP: Yeah, me too.
DC: As an LP fan, I’m really excited.
LP: Thanks, man. As a Darren fan I’m excited for your new record too.
DC: Yeah, one of these days I’m getting around to that, but I’m not…
LP: It’s coming.
DC: It’s coming. When I’m not [?] around as an actor somewhere in the world.
LP: But it’s nice, you get every… you get to do it all.
DC: Yeah, it is nice!
LP: Let’s talk about LA for a second. I feel like, you know, I’m a New Yorker, but I feel like, LA, the music muse is so deep for me.
LP: I can feel it more, it’s more palpable here.
DC: Well, I think there is the thing here and this is from music, there is the history and obviously as an actor, so there’s all other side of this conversation…
LP: Yeah, I mean Hollywood. Like, for an actor, I trip out on the Hollywood actor, like a heritage of this. I live in a silent movie film star’s house.
LP: Yeah, it’s like this woman, Pola Negri…
DC: Is that star still alive?
LP: No, she died… Yeah…
DC: I’m living with silent movie film star, she’s 113, she doesn’t say much, but that’s always worked for her.
LP: She’s in the basement. Yeah…
DC: Should we… should we play the uke, so we can use them?
LP: Let’s play the uke men, let’s do it, let’s rock it.
DC: I think we should probably [?] like actors in the past, like wanna learn the song before making ass of themselves.
DC: I like making an ass of myself, I do it for a living, so it was very important to me, as I look down the mirror, it was important to me not to learn the song, I don’t know what the song is and I don’t really know how to play chords in ukulele.
LP: It’s a Rihanna song, it was on her album Loud.
DC: I guess I missed the uke album. I missed that cut.
LP: I’m just seeing that right now. It’s all kinds of wrong.
DC: Like a super sexy outfit and just a little uke. That sounds like a joke, but could be also a goldmine.
LP: Yes, I was like…
DC: So, you… it was a track… so you, you were supposed like, write…
LP: With these guys, yes, we did it with these guys The Runners, it was me and my friend Stacey Barthe.
DC: Yeah, if I hear it, I’m feeling I might recognize it.
LP: Yeah. It was a single, a last single on that record. And there is one little part that has, a chorus of friends, kind of going (“yeeee.”)
DC: That was, like, the music came in…?
LP: Yeah. That was all of us. That was my friends, their friends.
DC: Oh, cool!
LP: Everybody came in. So, it’s a memorable, fun session.
DC: Let’s… let’s just play the song.
LP: Let’s play the song!
DC: ‘Cause we could be talking for hours and hours.
LP: Yes, I know, keep going forever.
DC: Let’s give them what they want.
LP: Let’s get the damned song…
[LP sings a snippet of “Lost on You”]
LP: What’s up men?
DC: What’s up dude?
LP: How you’re doing?
DC: I was enjoying that.
LP: Yeah. But this song is fun to play on ukulele, yeah. I was just gonna teach you to it now.
DC: Let’s do it.
LP: You will probably wanna accustom these.
DC: Great, thank you. Look at these. For Harry Potter fans.
LP: That was dropped on his head, though. It’s basically just E, D, A and we can start it, like (singing).
DC: You’re gonna to give me the…
LP: Yeah. (singing) And on this part, for the whole beginning of the verse it stays on the E for two bars and the chorus is same.
DC: That wasn’t the chorus?
LP: I mean that the verse is the same of course. Jesus!
DC: But it’s in the fuller form.
DC: One, two, three, four. Yeah! Ish! I’m coming in.
DC: Nice. Sweet. I’ll drink to that! But where the drinks are, for real?