Any fans of LP’s performances at the Hollywood clubs here? We have for you today some background stories of her shows at Sayers. So, what is The Sayers Club?
Still frame from the “Night at The Sayers Club” documentary
You probably need to live in LA or somewhere else in California, or at least in the freaking US, to fully grasp the phenomenon of Hollywood music clubs. So this will probably be kind of, well, interesting (at best) to tell the story of LP & The Sayers Club from the European perspective, having no actual American experience except for intensely vivid American dreams and millions of subject-related books and movies absorbed over the years. And since her American tour is in full bloom, we are all invited to follow her through it, and to google all those clubs she rocks. The Star Theater in Portland, the Bluebird Theater in Denver, One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans… Real places, but they look as though someone cruel created them to put her on their stages, just to laugh at all those losers who can’t be there. (Oh, and remember when we were wondering if her NY album release party earlier this month was a preview to what this tour would be? Well, a preview it was. Some really… interesting… stuff is going on there.) But still, even those amazing places don’t give us the proper sense of what has been created by Jason Scoppa in Hollywood, first in the club called Bardot, then in The Sayers Club. And so, we are taking you to Sayers this time, a very special club in Hollywood & Las Vegas, a place that contributed to bringing LP back to the stage.
First, a little bit of a background. It all started in the Bardot club around 2010. A fancy, prestigious place in Hollywood where not only performers, but also sometimes the crowds were hand-picked and glamorous. On certain nights, emerging talents hit the stage to sing covers. LP was one of the club’s favorites and soon the Bardot stage brought all the fun that performing live could be back to her. Aside from her regular, weekly appearances there, she was also a part of the ultra-exclusive music event called the Bardot Sessions, designed also by Jason. He picked songs for artists to cover and his choices were usually unexpected, as he aimed at bringing original and new vibes to the interpretation. The audience and stage were crowded with stars and new talents, but according to the people who witnessed it, there was only one person who had a bad habit of stealing the show 🙂 But some other time on the Bardot in detail.
After a while, in 2011, a new place in Hollywood came to life, created by the very same Jason Scoppa. It was the place where he could fully unfold his vision. He moved his Sessions there, now called Sayers Sessions, and so LP moved there too. And, of course, she swiftly became the brightest star of the club. “Into The Wild”’s video director, Shane Drake, was there to witness it: “LP soon became the main attraction at this venue as word spread about her talent.” Also, the LA press got truly hooked on her performances. LA Times:
LP, a tiny reed of a woman with a curly mop of dark hair and a tough demeanor, is a particular favorite. When she belts out a song like >Babe I’m Gonna Leave You< by Led Zeppelin, it’s as if her voice was conjured from another dimension. The ease of her delivery and the sheer emotional breadth of her best performances can coax an audience into a trance.
Alongside her Bardot times, which initially triggered the idea of coming back to the stage, LP’s residencies at Sayers also mark a transition moment in her career: from accomplished songwriter back to performing artist. Over the period of 2011-2014 she was one of the club’s regulars. She would usually sing her versions of rock standards and what she did made the crowd go crazy. Like, really. And those Sayers crowds were not random. The club always made sure that only the right people were let in and if you were not on the list, you could forget about it. LP herself said back then that the club cares about inviting only the people “who love music.” Just in case someone like, say, Prince wanted to come by and enjoy some good music undisturbed. And so, this is the kind of audience that got seduced by her, each night of her shows.
So, in this special and exclusive venue, where “refined, yet raw” sound was being promoted, she sang “Creep,” she sang “Dream On,” “Oh! Darling,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Little Lion Man,” and many more, making you forget about the original song in the middle of the first verse. Listening to recordings from Sayers, we can only imagine what was really happening there in respect to vocals. But those videos are not only about the sound, they are also about the vision. Blurry most of the time, probably furtively recorded (thank you to all those brave people who broke the club’s strict no photos policy!), but still letting us see her… She puts two extremes into her Sayers shows that make her style irresistible – she is totally wild and out of control and, at the same time, she is in strong command of everything and everyone around her. Raw and refined. Untamed and still directing her show in detail. Being reckless when she wanted and stopping any instrument with her raised hand whenever she felt it was right. Merging control with chaos. On fire.
To bring to you at least some of those Sayers vibes, we did two things. First, we assembled the Sayers playlist for you on YouTube. Most of the videos are covers sung by her, dated 2011-2014. But there are also some videos of her singing her original songs from the Forever For Now album. And also one really interesting vid with a very early “Muddy Waters” version from October, 2015. The playlist starts with covers though. It’s a real treat, watch closely. Second thing: we transcribed and translated a short documentary about LP in Sayers, which covers the evening of her Forever For Now release party on June 3rd, 2014. It consists of an interview with Jason Scoppa and with LP and also some footage of her performance. And it’s fun to compare her release party performance with performances from her YT playlist. Just by watching her sing during this album release party, you can sense that it’s not just any Sayers music session, and that there is something in the air, like, say, a lot of industry people present in the crowd. She’s cool, thrilling, but restrained. Which is kind of beautiful too 🙂
Ok, here is your Sayers set:
Tonight is no ordinary night in LA. You’re on the guest list to a private show. All access to one of Hollywood’s best live music venues. It’s refined. It’s raw. An experience of sound and discovery. Tonight is your night at The Sayers Club.
Erica Olsen: All right guys, we are back again with Jason Scoppa, the creator and curator here, of The Sayers Club. Jason, tell us who’s performing tonight and why you picked them, to perform here, at The Sayers Club.
Jason Scoppa: Tonight we have LP.
JS: LP is a staple here at The Sayers Club. When we opened up, LP was playing a lot. She developed a lot of her fanbase here with us to cover night that we were doing.
[LP: You guys are beautiful! Look at you. Thank you so much for coming, I’m so excited to play some songs for you and it really means a lot to me that you’re here. Thank you.]
[Into the Wild]
JS: I met LP five or six years ago at my previous venue. My friend said: “You need to listen to this… this girl LP.” And I said: “Well, bring her by soundcheck.” She walked in, she kind of had this like “Dylan” vibe and I was like: “That is one interesting chick, man!” She gets on stage and she belts out those fierce lyrics. I was like: WOW. Like: this girl is something special.
I like to see how the people in the audience react to an artist. And watching people smile, watching people say: “wow, I can’t believe that’s just happened in this little room”, is really what I live for. I try to look for artists that are gonna do that for somebody. I think that’s what she does very well. She pulls people in. LP actually has a real connection with a fanbase. Feel, like, there’s a pulse in the city every time LP’s gonna play one of her shows.
EO: Fans are already going wild for this singer-songwriter who’s, some say, is a rockstar in the purest form. Up next we’ll meet the artist who simply goes by: LP.
LP: Thank you.
[One Last Mistake]
LP: People come here… They really wanna hear music, they really wanna hear a new artist and they’re excited about it.
EO: We’re back at the Sayers club. A fixture in the heart in Hollywood, where music has taken a center stage. For die-heart fans and rising stars like music artist LP.
LP: The listening experience is amazing and artist experience is amazing. I got into music ‘cause I thought it’d be a great way to spend your life and, like, to do something you loved. And, you know, when you go through the rigors like trying to make it your career, a lot of it can be soul-crushing and difficult. So, this one has been really soul-lifting and nourishing and amazing, so, and Sayers has been a big part of that because it’s been, like, a crowd has just allowed me to be myself.
EO: You’ve such an unique vibe, sound, ukulele riffs, whistling, I mean: small frame, huge voice. What were your influences?
LP: Like, people that are more “style” kind of singers, you know: Led Zeppelin and you know, Aretha Franklin, and then Chaka Khan and stuff like that. Jeff Buckley then, you know, like that kind of voice set me… Joni Mitchell… set me going on the vocal tip. I’m just, you know, excited to bring it to the world.
LP: (sings “Levitator”) Thank you so much, thank you Warner Brothers, you’re amazing, thank you for putting this record out, thank you Sayers, thank you [?], thank you all of you guys, my friends and everybody, I really, I really appreciate it.
//EO: Up next: LP’s musical journey that taught her to let go.
//LP: I dealt with death of several close people in my life and this was the first time I dealt with one that was when the person was still walking the earth. And it was not easy.
//EO: And how the girl with the big voice discovered solace in a tiny instrument: the ukulele.
EO: LP started her music career writing for artist like Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and even Cher. But while writing music for others, she discovered her own unique sound and style. And found an unforgettable trademark along the way.
LP: The ukulele was really just a product of my songwriting, really. I just… It was something quiet, like, chill, that I could bring to sessions without making a big deal out of bringing an organic instrument like a guitar. And I just felt… I just felt in love with it. And just, I thought it had a really interesting sound, because my voice was kind of big and ukulele was kind of small, and I thought it was just a little, kind of cool, like, juxtaposition. I started whistling because that was also my off-the-cuff way of making up melodies when I write. And they just went together.
LP: This next song… I mean, I love the live version as well and I love singing it live, but I feel there’s a lot of love woven into this song. It’s called “Tokyo Sunrise”. And…
EO: “Tokyo Sunrise” I know it was a big moment on your album for you, so what’s behind it, the meaning, and what you want people to take away from it.
LP: It’s about… It’s about a past relationship and my last girlfriend. It was just like a very deep special relationship for me and one that… I dealt with death of several close people in my life and this was the first time I dealt with one that was when the person was still walking the earth. And it was not easy. And I just felt like… it was just about the permanence of love vow, it doesn’t go away, it’s still in there (sings “Tokyo Sunrise”).
EO: Tonight we saw the evolution of an artist LP. [briefing the next episode] And there is no better to close out the night than with LP’s latest release fresh from her new album Forever For Now – here’s “Night Like This”.
[Night Like This]