Singer-songwriter LP is one of the most compelling, musically dexterous artists out there. On Friday, December 3, their highly-anticipated sixth album Churches dropped via SOTA Records! The LGBTQ+ icon’s career has spanned six albums, three EPs, and many songs written for artists like Cher, Rihanna, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, and more.
Churches is a sonically diverse dive into exploration of self, spirituality, and perseverance. As they glide through tracks that dip into everything from country vibes to rock influence, expert lyricism and vocal agility shine through.
Luckily, we were able to catch up with LP about the release of Churches and the inspiration behind it! Check out our conversation below.
First of all, for our readers, could you introduce yourself and your music in whatever way you’d like?
Hi, I’m LP and I’m a musician. I just put out my 6th album and I’m excited.
What has the pandemic been like for you as an artist?
It’s been an exercise in both adaptability and in maintenance of optimism, and faith that things will get better. I think everybody went through that. I think several times I was kind of shaking my head going “is this really happening?” I think a lot of people must’ve been like that. It was kind of like the unthinkable happened and we got through it. Not unscarred, but we got through it and it’s just a testament to how we get through things. We got to deal. I think that for me, I felt the strain of things sort of spinning out of control—traveling the world playing music and I could almost hear the wheels starting to f*cking spin off the vehicle. So, I’m not surprised but I’m lucky and happy that I was able to get through it.
We know you’ve written songs for and with a lot of really cool artists. What is it like sharing your creativity and craft with other artists? Is there a certain collab that stands out to you?
I love it because it’s kind of like being on a different planet for the day. You’re in somebody else’s way they do it and how they like to do it and it’s always fascinating to me. In fact, when I’ve worked alone with just a producer at times, I’m always thinking to myself “Oh God, I wonder how so-and-so does it,” like, I’ll know the people who have worked with them and I’ll be like, “Oh man, I wonder what they do with Adele or what they do with Florence.” I get so freaked out. I think it’s good to keep your chops up as far as collabing with different people to see what it’s like and that there indeed are very different ways to write a song.
What is your favorite part of your songwriting process?
I think probably when I have a concept that I’m really stoked to talk about, or really when we get the music shaped up and I can go in the vocal booth and just wail out melodically. I feel like that’s kind of a strength for me and I’m always kind of amazed—I usually get it within the first two or so takes of melody. I feel like that’s exciting for me. Sometimes it takes longer, I’m not saying I get off on only making it happen in two takes, but I feel like the biggest joy sometimes is to connect the inside of myself with the outside melodically and just experience what the hell comes out of my soul when a piece of music hits me. So that’s always a thrill.
What was the first song you wrote for the Churches album, and did it strongly influence the rest of the album’s sound?
‘Churches’ was actually the first record. Well, here’s the thing—’Churches’ was the first record I wrote where I felt like “oh, you know, this is going to be on my next record, no question,” but ‘Can’t Let You Leave’ was a song that I had since around ‘Lost on You,’ actually, that was about the same person, and so I had been wanting to put that on an album for a while. I often have one late bloomer that happens like that, like some song that’s been in and around for a while and I’m like “that’s going on a record sooner or later” and I like to make that happen. It’s fun. ‘Recovery’ was a song just like that, or even weirder, because it was a song that I had written for somebody else, but it still rang true. It especially rang true to me because speaking of ‘Recovery,’ I was going through that process when I put that on the record. It’s always fun where songs come from so, I would say ‘Churches’ is really the first one that started that process. It did set a tone, I guess—it didn’t really change anything, but it definitely started me, in my brain, on wanting to talk about some spirituality on the record.
And what was the last song? Did you notice anything in particular from the first to the last when it came to crafting them? What was the journey of this album like?
That’s a very good question because the last song was ‘When We Touch,’ and although that song is not necessarily spiritual—well, I mean, it’s spiritual I guess, but it has an element of a ceremony of sorts. It’s like the opening ceremony of the record. I could picture myself singing that in a cathedral, in a church, and it has a spiritual air to it. It was cool to finish the record on a song that felt like it had some kind of holiness to it.
Sonically, what were your inspirations for Churches?
Mike and I spoke a lot about this. This is a big part of Mike Del Rio and his production, and his also being a huge part of my career and my records. I believe that we are in a band and this is our 3rd record—4th record he’s been on, but really the 3rd record of him producing. I often feel almost like the skull is soft, then hardened like a baby—it goes softer to harder on the 3rd record, and things just kind of congeal and become more spearheaded. I think the sonic palette for this was kind of loose, but we tried to keep it real and acoustic, and not over-produced, but still produced. There’s a lot of songs that have more rhythm and dance vibes like ‘Everybody’s Falling in Love’ and ‘How Low Can You Go’ but realness with acoustic guitars and ukuleles and I think that Mike really outdid himself by making it feel like one whole piece together, but then each song having an identity of its own.
What does the title Churches mean to you? What inspired it?
The song in itself was about an experience I had where I felt like when I would go to these churches and feel the weight of them from the outside, you know, churches that have been around for hundreds of years, I felt like I could feel the weight of someone like me and other people having so much difficulty in times past in these places. Obviously, the song itself talks about not being able to go into a bunch of these churches without covering my head because I’m female and how I really couldn’t hang with that. No judgment on the scenario as far as it being bad for other people but it’s not for me. For me, I think that we all carry a church inside of us, that’s how I see it. I feel like your church is what you hold sacred, what you hold dear, who you hold dear, how you conduct your life and I think it’s very individual and I love that, and I respect the different ways, and I want my own respect too. I don’t need anyone’s permission as far as how I worship or believe in God, and I don’t really want any input and I don’t want to give anybody input, but I will say that universally, everybody’s church, in some way, must be driven by love. If not, I’m not sure what that is. That’s a whole other realm I’m not willing to go into.
What do you hope listeners take away from this album or feel when finishing it?
I hope they found something to relate to. I hope some comfort, or seen or heard. I hope they had some kind of connection to me, or maybe to themselves through it—some kind of solace, some kind of comfort, that’s all I ever want. Or just enjoyment, just pure f*cking entertainment, not to avoid being too lofty. I just hope they enjoy it. What else can you do? It’s music. It’s art. Just listen to it, look at it, and enjoy it.
What concepts, songs, artists, or any types of media would you consider a part of your personal music mosaic? As in, the things that have shaped you into the artist you are today.
My journey, profoundly, I’m sure. Where I’ve had to go [through] in my life. Definitely, my journey as an individual, like my sexuality and who I am, how I cut through the world, is everything. How my family kind of blew apart and where I was after that. The women I’ve been with for the most part and what that has shown me about myself and just why I want to do music at all. Even when I think back to it, it just seems so long ago, as far as embarking on this career, that was not a thing I ever, in this really young part of my life, thought I could or would do. It was just so out of the realm of possibility, and the fact that I actually did it blows my fucking mind again and again, and I think that was the biggest revelation of my life—discovering who I am and who I became through wanting to do music and what that entails. It’s so weird. There [are] so many other parts of it, not the latest of which has been social media, like how the hell did we get to that part of it? That’s a whole other mind-blowing part of this business and what it’s brought. Not to get to the super trivial or super insipid sh*t at the end but going from a little kid being like “I like to sing” to people liking a post on Instagram, or somebody trolling on Instagram, you’re like “Wow, what a f*cking trip.”
What song from LP’s new album speaks to you the most? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @TheHoneyPop!
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Featured Image Source: Shervin Lainez / Edited by Afnan Acharki for THP