Lolo’s New Mini-Doc Shows Us The Realness of Depression
You probably have heard Lolo’s voice featured on Fall Out Boy’s gigantic hit “Centuries,” or Panic! At The Disco’s “Miss Jackson,” and not even have known her name.
You probably also didn’t know that she lived with Lisa Marie Presley as a 16-year-old songwriter, originated a role in the original Broadway cast of “Spring Awakening” alongside Lea Michele, wrote an off-Broadway musical of her own, and wrote several songs which are now nominated for a Grammy in 2017.
You’d probably also think that someone with such killer vocals, songwriting abilities, and an impeccable music resume would have it super easy and be living the high life… but that isn’t the case with Lolo. For what people would think is often an easy profession, Lolo is getting honest with us in her new mini documentary, showing us that the path to following your heart isn’t always an easy one.
Though she’s had multiple high points, including an appearance on this season’s The Bachelor a few weeks ago, LOLO has had — well, her low points too. She says, [it] “felt important to be able to talk about the hard side of this industry” and that “I’ve always had a deep desire to create, and that’s helped me keep my head focused through all kinds of challenges. I find relief in writing and music so being able to have it to carry me is really helpful.”
READ ALSO: “Panic! At The Disco’s Lyrical Guide To Getting Lit
With vulnerability and honesty in her musical arsenal, Lolo has worked her ass off to get to this point and simply get her voice heard… her full length album, “In Memory of When I Gave a Shit,” shows off her ridiculous vocal range giving us vibes reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and Adele with a dose of heartfelt southern soul.
Watch her mini documentary here, take a peek at some advice that she has for us, and then download the album below — you won’t be sorry.
What songs off of “In Loving Memory…” would you say you used some of this pain/loss etc. to write?
I used the pain and loss to make the whole album. I wanted to be able to talk about the many stages of grief and depression. Not every day is a bad day, some days are good days but the hard days are really hard. I wanted to talk about the realness of depression and how it can control your life.
You have written some of the songs on Panic! At the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor” album, which is currently nominated for a Grammy – how will you feel if it wins? And what has it been like collaborating with Brendon Urie?
I feel a lot of feelings about it honestly — [laughs] — it’s unbelievable and awesome. Brendon is one of the very best out there, as a person and as an entertainer, working with him is a total dream. Being able to see them have such epic success has been the best fucking thing to watch go down. It’s weird with awards, they can’t be the driving force behind what you do but if it does happen to you it’s a very validating thing. Ultimately, I’m grateful to have been able to work on such a beautiful and powerful album with some of my best friends so anything else that happens after that is just icing on the cake.
You’ve also worked with Fall Out Boy. Since their music is entirely different sounding from yours, how does it feel to go back and forth between working on rock songs (made for dudes to sing) and working on your own stuff which seems to come from a more soulful/vulnerable place?
It’s been a fucking blast. Living out different rock and roll dreams is cool and bizarre, most surreal moment yet is watching Fall Out Boy play Madison Square Garden and hearing my voice in the “Centuries” track and hearing people in the crowd scream and sing along. Be still my heart.
Do you have any favorite songs that you’ve written for other people that you wish were your own?
I don’t wish it was mine because I wrote it for Brendon (of Panic! At the Disco) and it will forever be his, but I really wanna do a cover of “Death Of A Bachelor.” It’s such a fun song to sing.
Who would be your absolute dream artist to do a writing session with?
Billy Joel & Eminem are my two favorite lyricists so any time with either of them would be incredible. I’d also really love to work with Future.
What other female artists do you look up to?
Sheryl Crow is my hero. Sia is a goddess. Hayley Williams is a sugar bear, I had a blast touring with her a few years ago. Laura Jane Grace is a total badass. Britney Spears has always been my favorite pop star and still is. I wish Amy Winehouse could come back from the dead somehow, I miss her. My old school female heroes are Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell & Carole King.
You’ve written the music for The Off-Broadway musical, “Songbird” — what was the inspiration behind that? How has it felt being involved in writing the music for a show, rather than being on stage? Is there any part of you that wants to write the music for a show and perform in it?
I think in order to do what someone like Lin Manuel Miranda did with “Hamilton” you have to have the absolute desire to want to be on the stage. The story of “Songbird” is loosely based off the themes of the old, famous Chekov play “The Seagull” — we set it in modern-day, singer/songwriter Nashville, TN. Writing the music for it was very cathartic. I grew up in Tennessee around country music, writing music in that style and writing songs about life in Tennessee helped me do a little time traveling and find a new love in my home state. It’s been wonderful being on the other side of the creative table. Watching the incredible actors in our cast take on my songs and make them their own brings me so much joy.
What is the significance of going home and finding your “voice,” and how has it allowed you to move forward with music?
I spend too much time in my own head. And with a lot of my life being very non-stop between touring and recording, it was really important to get back to a place where I could find some peace and quiet. Jackson, TN, has always been that place for me. I could focus my thoughts and then put them onto paper and turn them into music.
You performed on ABC’s “The Bachelor” recently — Why did you choose “Shine” to perform?
“Shine” felt like an obvious choice to perform on the show because I wanted to be able to remind Nick and the girls who are vying for his heart to shine and be their best selves. I can only imagine that it’s really fucking hard to leave your jobs, family etc and put yourself out there for the whole world to see. I hope I gave them a little boost.
What do you hope others will take away from seeing this vulnerable side of you in this documentary?
It feels really important to talk about both sides of being a creative person. With all the ups there are just as many, if not more, downs. It’s really hard to have to act like you’re always great or doing great or feeling great when you really aren’t. And it felt important to tell people around me that I wasn’t okay and that I was gonna have to put the pieces back together. I hope people can watch this doc and if they’re struggling, I hope they know they aren’t alone in their feelings.
You also mention some things that helped you get through that depression – Would you say that art in general is a “healing tool”?
Music is my best friend. It’s been with me through everything, good and bad. Being able to listen to music, write my feelings down and sing about them. It’s been a life changing thing.
What advice would you give to others that are going through the same thing you went through in terms of depression? What would you say to others who are seeking to become songwriters/performers and finding that the path isn’t an easy one to take?
The creative life is always hard, even when it’s going well. I think if you choose the creative life you have to reconcile with yourself pretty early on that it’s not going to be what you expect and let go of some of the pressures. Cause it’s very easy to let them take over your mind in a way that’s unhealthy. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who aren’t going to bullshit you. Yes people in your life aren’t really helpful. Having realness around you, those people in your life who will help keep you in check and your feet on the ground are important for survival. As far as depression goes, my number one piece of advice would be TALK ABOUT IT. If you’re not okay, don’t act like it. It’s doesn’t matter if you’re having a shit time, everybody is struggling all the time ‘cause life is so much harder than anyone can ever prepare for. Talk about it, tell your friends, tell your family. Do what you need to let those around you know that you’re fragile and need assistance putting the pieces back together. It may not be easy to do but it will help you in the long run.
What are your plans for 2017?
More of the same, we’re going to be on the road all of this year playing “In Loving Memory Of When I Gave A Shit,” which I’m so happy about. I’m also writing a new musical called “Pink Boxes” with an amazing woman, Megan Dobkin. It’s about nine women in a pole dancing exercise class and how their lives intertwine. I’m so excited for when we can start sharing that with the world.
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Photos By Asher Moss