Three parts songwriter. Two parts ukulele-strummer. Two parts performer. One part super-cool hipster. Mix all that together and you have LP. Laura Pergolizzi, best known as LP, is a rising star in the alternative rock/pop scene and rightfully so. But don’t get it twisted, LP is no pop princess. Her music is honest and authentic while her energy is infectious. Recently, LP gave us some insight into her world when she sat down for a chat with AMG. We discussed her music, her songwriting techniques and her upcoming performance at PARKLIFE on Sunday, September 7th at Atlantic Station’s Central Park. There are a limited amount of tickets remaining, so get your ticket to this inaugural music festival now.
AMG: Tell us a little bit about when you first realized that you had something special to offer musically.
LP: I’m kind of still not sure I have anything special to give musically to be honest. I just knew it was it was something that I had to do. I don’t think early, early on, like as I became a teenager I knew music mattered to me but I didn’t think I was going to do it for a living. I think I was pretty insecure about it for a long time, even through being signed to labels. My first major label deal made me feel a little like maybe it is something. And it shouldn’t. A major label shouldn’t make you feel like you have something but I think sometimes you think ‘okay maybe I’m not insane’ (chuckles). But I think that when other people started cutting my songs was when I felt like I had something. I think that kind of validated it a little bit. If someone else cuts one of your songs, you feel like you’re not alone in a way.
AMG: You’ve been compared to folks like Janis Joplin, Joan Jett and Gwen Stefani. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. Do you ever get intimidated when you’re being compared to such industry-changing women?
LP: You know, no, I’m honored. I don’t take any of that too seriously. It’s really cool as something to say. But I think it’s pretty tough to fill any of their shoes. The women that you can name, a lot of them have their own thing, that’s what makes them. I ain’t scared of it, but I’m not saying anything else. That’s kind of a tough question.
AMG: You’ve done quite a bit of songwriter for some really notable artists. Which do you prefer, being behind the pen and the pad or being behind the mic?
LP: I like both to be honest. I’m behind the pen and the pad like whether it’s for me or somebody else. I like both, I mean, I find performing a helluva lot easier than writing to be honest. Because performing it just like doing the task and it’s fun. And writing can be a real grind sometimes. And it’s scary and you love it but it sucks. I read something recently that make made me feel better that said John Lennon hated writing. He hated writing. Every time he was writing a song he was fantasizing about being a fisherman. So much easier. And that really hit home for me, thinking about that. John Lennon hated writing because it’s difficult to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so to speak.
AMG: Going off what you said about performing, do you think people are born as performers or do you think that ability to perform has to be practiced?
LP: I think there’s both type of cases. I’ve seen people that were quite shy and not very good at performing and become amazing. Or people that you never ever think, like a really a quiet, shy person and they go up on stage and you’re like ‘what the hell just happened?’ I think there’s different kinds. There’s some people who are all done up and they look like they’d be the greatest performer and they get up on stage and nothing- you don’t want to watch them. It’s weird, it’s like intangible.
AMG: Which do you think you are?
LP: I think it just happened through doing it. One of the things that I learned somehow was to lock it down right away. I can probably grab the room better than I could when I first started, it’s a kind of thing that you can’t really explain. Yeah, I mean I think I evolved for sure, but I think I have some natural abilities and I use them.
AMG: How do you decide which song you will keep for your own albums and what you’ll give away? Do you write certain songs with the intention of them being for someone else?
LP: I do both to be honest. I know that’s kind of a boring answer but I’m often asked to write something for someone and in a session that’s practically for that kind of person. Or I’m with the person sometimes. Now because I’m full on doing my artist thing as well, I write a lot with people just to write for me. So that’s kind of fun that like there’s other people that want to write for me as well so it’s kind of like doing it all.
AMG: So it’s kind of come full circle- writing for people and now having people write for you?
LP: Yeah, yeah, it’s interesting to be on both sides of that because sometimes it’s a relief when I’m not the artist so I can just kind of be like saying different things and steering them through their thoughts.
AMG: I read on one of your biographies that you got hooked on being on the road because touring makes you feel like you have a purpose- what it is that you love about touring?
LP: Just that there’s like a structure to it, as a musician I think a lot of musicians can relate that sometimes there’s not a lot of structure in the business when you’re trying to make it. Or even after, there’s not like stuff you can hold onto. That’s why I like sessions, I like to have something to do that day and I like to get something out of it. And when you’re on tour, the whole day is about the show, and then you do the show and go to sleep and do it all over again. And it can be really fun, it can be really hard but it’s also a good sense of purpose.
AMG: Do you have any strange of funny stories from the road?
LP: We were in the backwoods in this random, random Starbucks and then Montel Jordan said ‘hi’ to me. The girl he was with said she liked my shoes. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. I don’t know, there’s a lot of things that happen on the road that can’t be spoken of. The road is like Vegas. Things happen. I have to tell you most of the time it’s, I don’t want to say boring because that would bum people out, but a lot of times it’s not as wild as you’d think. The thing is what’s funny that the actual wild times are so wild that you can’t explain them and then 90% of it is just getting through it.
AMG: Outside of music, do you have any passion?
LP: I do a lot of yoga, but nothing crazy. And I like to hang out in nature, just kind of decompress, I like to hike. I don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of other stuff. I like to collect musical instruments as well, I like to collect ukuleles.
AMG: Any shout outs or anything you’d like to add?
LP: Just shout out to Atlanta
AMG: Well we can’t wait to have you here in Atlanta, we’ll see you on Sunday at PARKLIFE.
For more information on LP, check out her website. But before you do, check out her awesome single, “Into The Wild.”