So while waiting for LP to get all those GRAMMY awards, which are surely coming soon, let’s go back to one of those times she was invited to perform at the GRAMMY Museum. Around 2012, LP was involved in many different promo events for her EP, Into The Wild – Live at EastWest Studios, which she had only just released. One of those occasions, she was performing for the GRAMMY Museum’s Spotlight series, which is one of the Museum’s programs to promote new artists.
Photo courtesy of The Grammy Museum
The event took place on May 14th, 2012, at the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater. It was ticketed, so if you had $15, you could be there. Being the GRAMMY’s event, the occasion was quite classy and so was the musical set up. And it’s another chance to see and hear LP perform live, with Joey Dosik accompanying her on the piano and Nick Rosen playing the string bass. That’s not all, there’s also violin, so let us just put a full stop here, you know.
LP sang three songs there, and additionally to the performance, she talked a bit on stage with Scott Goldman, a Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation at the time. They discussed her musical influences and the songwriting process. Although the interview is only several minutes long, it is a must see, because her answers are surprising at times. Knowing how she talks about those things at this time, it’s a treat to witness how they evolved for her along her journey.
Apart from the serious, serious interview with Scott Goldman, just before the soundcheck, LP was also interviewed by Erin Lucas. They chatted casually about LP’s career and songwriting. Erin is one of a kind and it’s always fun to watch one of her conversations with LP.
Both videos are fun to watch and let’s, in the meantime, keep our fingers crossed for the GRAMMY committee to follow the GRAMMY Museum’s example and take a closer look at one insanely talented artist located nearby. LP wrote, a couple of years back, on her IG, under some pic of the GRAMMY awards: “I wanna have 5 Grammys some day!!” They are coming.
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INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT GOLDMAN
Part 1: The Songwriting Process
LP: Almost every single song… I’m looking at this list of songs even right now, every single song is either the first or second vocal take or melody take that I do. So I feel like it’s just in the room – whether it’s in the room that day or not. I will labor over the melodies, but I think the first or the second thing that comes out is usually the thing. I will write the music and then when I go on the mic to try some melodies, usually I feel like the first or second take, either I melt them two or it’s one of those. I keep almost all of it. I’ll mess with it a little when I add the lyric, but I feel like that’s the biggest thing – what writing so many songs gave me is that I just follow my heart when I’m listening to the… I’ll just go whenever it wanna go. Having spent a lot of time training my voice I feel like it has helped me a great deal in that regard in the end, because I can sing whatever I hear. So I do. And that’s helped me a lot.
Scott Goldman: There’s a great quote of Neil Young talking about working in the studio that if you’re thinkin’ you’re stinkin’.
LP: Right. Yeah, and I think getting better at your instrument allows you not to think, and that’s the key.
SG: For you, which comes first, words or music?
LP: I think the concept comes first. I like the concept, the title or a concept, to come first. I mean it doesn’t always, there’s been plenty of times when I’ve just done melody… I have a couple of songs that I’m working on right now that the initial title didn’t come when I first sang the melody idea. So I… You know, it takes a while sometimes. I’ve had one rolling around for a couple of months now and every time I get them: “oh…” It’s like a schoolwork. But I know that the melody’s crazy strong, I know it’s got something, but I just… And I have things I’m just like: “Is that good enough?” For months. I don’t know.
SG: Are you a disciplined songwriter?
LP: I’m not disciplined to anything really… I’m really not. I guess I work a lot, but I think… I’m there a lot. I show up a lot. But sometimes I’m just doing, like… nothing the whole time of the session. I think I’m pretty annoying sometimes. I just sit there with the producer and would be doing all kinds of shit. You know, nothing to write home about. I’d be just hanging out, talking my face off for a while, whatever. I don’t know. And then it just comes. Sometimes I’ve written a song in a last hour or two. As far as the discipline, I try to get in the room. That’s the discipline. But you can’t, for me, I can’t force it. It has to come naturally. If I happen to be in the room and it’s not coming I just don’t worry about it.
Part 2: Musical Influences
LP: Well, there’s no radio going on really… I mean, the radio my dad used to listen to, those oldies stations, like 50s music stations, which is actually really cool, I love that stuff. My mom was always playing opera and show tunes and stuff. I thought that was all the music there was, and then you go to the elementary school humming opera tunes and other kids are like: “what is that?!”
Scott Goldman: Was there a rock artist or pop artist that you remember hearing…
LP: I remember hearing Janis Joplin for the first time and my mom being like: “Ugh, she’s screaming! It’s terrible!” I was like: “Yeah. It’s terrible…[smirks]” And then sneaking off to listen to it.
LP: I really like to… I was really digging Jeff Buckley and just loving how… I always loved off the beaten path kind of records that were left off the center a little bit, but that you just want to listen to it over and over again. They didn’t have to be Top 40. I’ve recently gotten into records and I’m astounded by how much I love them. ‘Cause we’ve gone through this period of all these “greatest hits” things and I really love… I’m hearing songs that I’ve never heard by artists that I love. Like I listen to The Doors record, The Soft Parade, and I hear these songs and I’m like: “I didn’t know this song!” ‘Cause I think I know all The Doors’ records and I don’t.
SG: So listening to the records as the full bodies of work.
LP: Yeah, and I think that’s really important, they’re expressions of art. I think it’s great, pop music is great and I love writing pop music and I love listening to it, but I think I don’t want to [?] side of that an album is an artistic presentation, an artistic statement. And I think it’s really important. As fast as everything is moving now, I think we need to take the time and listen to records and not always be just like: “Ummm, not this song, not this song, not this song.” You know, you can fast forward once you listen to it, but listen to it, ‘cause you might miss something.
INTERVIEW WITH ERIN LUCAS
Erin Lucas: Hi guys, Erin Lucas here, guess where I am! At the Grammy Museum! I’m gonna hang out with LP in a minute. She’s performing live here tonight at Clive Davis Theater, so we’re gonna catch up with her really quick before a soundcheck and ask her some questions.
EL: What’s up?
EL: We’re at the Grammy Museum, you’re doing your soundcheck in a minute.
LP: I am. Very exciting.
EL: Gonna get loud in here in a minute.
LP: Yeah! I tear it down in a second.
EL: So tell me a little bit about what’s going on with you. You are playing around a lot.
LP: I just released a five song EP. And we’ve been just promoting that right now. It’s a DVD and an EP and we’ve just been playing a bunch of shows. We did a show in Seattle couple of days ago. We were in West Palm Beach, we were in Baltimore. We’re just doing a lot of festivals.
EL: You used to write songs before, which is a little fun fact I just learned, and you started recording your stuff recently. What was it like, writing songs… I mean you’ve written for a lot of different people.
LP: Frankly, it was a nice break from myself for a while, ‘cause I’ve gone through this time when I was writing concentrating on the songs for myself. And then when I started writing for other people I felt like it opened things up a bit and I was able to free my mind of my own emotional agenda, it’s nice.
EL: How do you know, when you write something, like: okay, this is for me, or, say, if you have to write something for like, I don’t know, “I have to make it sound like sparkly pants”? How do you tailor songs to a certain personality?
LP: I just try to get into their character or I talk myself into their story. I read a bunch of stuff about them or whatever and try to figure out. Or I listen to their other music and see what they haven’t done yet… if they are always upbeat, maybe I’ll go more emotional, like slower song or something, it depends.
EL: So tell me about your music, how is your writing process?
LP: My writing process is… A lot of times I cumulate ideas and stuff lyrically over the course of the day and the days before I’m going to the session. And I just think about stuff and try to put together some different ideas that I have as far as the concept of some things I’d like to talk about. And then I just mess around with melodies. My thing is to get the melody first, that’s most important.
EL: Before the guitar?
LP: Well, no, no, with that, usually the chords. And then get the vocal melody. I get about three or four that I love to combine into one song. Sometimes the concept just comes out with… I’ll sing the words like in the song I have, “Into The Wild”.
LP: I just said “into the wild” when I was writing it and I was like, oh, that’s awesome. And I’d explained this concept that I was thinking about a day before, oddly. It seems weird, sometimes I think that songs are meant to be, because it seems like you get ideas and then you immediately stick them into the song somehow. I don’t know, it happens to me all the time.
EL: What’s next on your plate? What’s something that you wanna conquer? To do list.
LP: Well, I’d like to keep reaching as many people as possible. I’d like to keep playing to bigger and bigger crowds. I think that’s something… that’s my favorite thing to do as far as my own music. And then I wanna keep writing for other people too. I just wanna write, write, write, write. That’s my goal. I wanna write some big songs and just keep going.
EL: Oh, awesome, it was such a pleasure hanging out, I really enjoyed this, thank you.
LP: Thank you, thank you very much.
EL: I enjoyed that very much. I hope you guys liked it too. Be sure to check her out if she was coming to a town near you, go say hi, tell her I said hello. Leave your comments below. Did you like it? Yeah? Cool. Okay. I’ll see you guys next time.