We love coming back to mid-2016, to those first delights when Europe was enraptured with LP’s music. It was kind of like a time of transition, for her, for us, for many – and some beautiful, small and big, things happened around that time. And one of them, a small one but how wonderful it was, we would like to share with you today. It’s a short and really beautiful performance from LP’s European radio promo, which she was doing in the Summer of 2016. While visiting Italy, she performed for the Social Club program, a Rai Radio2 show very much loved by the Italian public.
Still frame from the video of LP performing at Rai Radio2 Social Club
The program was recorded on June 16th of 2016, exactly one day before the release of LP’s stark and brilliant EP, Death Valley. It was the very beginning of her spectacular success in Europe (well, okay, in Greece “Lost On You” had been already #1 for weeks – since March to be precise – but the song would be awarded a platinum there three months later, on September 22nd). Soon, LP’s calendar would be fully booked, and her extensive touring through Europe and the US would continue almost incessantly for another year, until August of 2017.
The song she performed for the Social Club, “Strange,” was written by LP, Mike Del Rio and Nate Campany. The three of them are quite a team when it comes to songwriting – it’s them who, in 2014, wrote The Song, “Lost On You,” and also later the amazing “When We’re High.” And as word has it, recently LP, Mike and Nate have teamed up again to write songs for LP’s upcoming album… We are counting the days until its release!
LP sang “Strange” in the Rai Radio2 studio with an unusual set-up, which makes this performance a sparkler! She played with Trevor Menear, her then-guitarist, but a treat here is that they were accompanied by three other musicians: Stefano Cenci (keys), Meki Marturano (drums) and Emanuele Ciampichetti (bass). They are members of the Radio’s Social Band and join invited artists during the show to play with them. As risky as it sounds, especially when it comes to an artist who takes great care of the song’s live arrangement, we were really surprised with how well it turned out! They did great, and we really mean it. But in fact, the video is a rarity for a couple of other reasons too, and so we feel it’s truly precious and just couldn’t resist giving it a closer look.
What catches the attention right away is that LP played the guitar, which has happened only a few times for “Strange,” and only in 2016. Thanks to this, the arrangement became more spacious and intense and you can hear it right away, in the very first seconds. Back then, she used to play her small Martin, whose sound was a bit sharper compared to her newer guitar. So when the song begins, she just plays the guitar, focused and attentive. In these big headphones she appears even tinier than usual and, looking at her, you wouldn’t really expect from this girl who is just casually playing the guitar in her black t-shirt the thing which happens next – she starts singing in her high operatic voice so flawlessly that the host literally gasps (just look at him at 0:30!). At the same moment she’s joined by the keys and drums, but LP’s vocals outshine the whole arrangement and you notice the instruments no earlier than during the first verse. And so she takes you through it, singing that everything’s going to be just fine, until she arrives at the pre-chorus in which her voice flies high again, lifting you up even more. This is the moment when the audience can’t resist any longer and gives her their first (and long) ovation during the performance itself, which she takes with surprise and a grin. And then there’s the second verse, in which Trevor’s melodic guitar becomes very clearly audible, the keys are much more pronounced, and in general the song swings you just unbelievably. Throughout her performance, LP precisely measures off the distance between herself and the mic, and it’s different for every part of the song, in order to achieve the best sound for this kind of studio. You can’t really decide whether to close your eyes and just surrender to the music (oh, she does sing heavenly), or maybe not to, so as not to lose any element of this beautiful performance. Then LP takes her harmonica for the song’s finale and here’s when she gets her second applause from the audience… Before yet another one, when the song finally comes to its end. (Italy, we love you.)
Is there any other recommendation needed?