LP, The Music Industry’s Underdog, Is Taking Flight

Brother of our Galore Kitten Sophie Simmons, Nick Simmons interviewed the awesome musician LP for our latest issue.


To start, tell us the story. Why do you do what you do, and where did you begin?

LP: I make music for the ladies. (laughs) Well, I started putting bands together in New York city and got my first indie deal in the early 2000s. I started touring, and then I got signed to Island Def Jam, and then Universal for three years, 2006 to 2009. But a record never came out… I wrote maybe 135 songs. The Backstreet boys picked up one of those songs I had written for myself. I had that kind of moment when I realized, “oh you can write songs for other people.” I hadn’t given up on the artist thing, but I wasn’t going to force it. I didn’t see myself becoming my own artist again.

What made you try again?
I think the turning point was, when I switched managers, I started getting crowds of people coming to Bardot specifically to hear me. I wrote in a writing camp for Rihanna, and my song got picked. There’s thousands of songs written in those writing camps.

I don’t think a lot of people who aren’t in the business are even aware that writing camps exist. Lots of young people think pop stars write their own stuff.
[laughs] Yeah, I don’t mean to blow the roof off that, but yeah. Rihanna’s a different kind of artist—there’s some people who know just which songs to pick, and how to perform.

The famous example is Elvis, of course.
Exactly. But that was just one of many things I was doing at the time. Everything started to add up when I started enjoying writing stuff for myself again. I wrote a song called “Someday” with Isa Machine [of Florence and the Machine], which was in February or March of 2011. In the summer or fall a song called “Into The Wild” got picked for a Citibank commercial. There were comments all over Youtube wondering who that was, what song that was.

A lot has happened since then, while I’ve known you.
Yeah. I recorded a live EP, and then I toured for all of 2012 and 2013. Then I recorded a studio record. After that, I opened up for Aerosmith, and I did ACL, I did Lollapalooza, I did Bonaroo, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel. Even before the commercial, the tipping point was it just became enjoyable again. Sometimes, in the music business today, you can be signed a couple times, and a lot of people lose the novelty of being signed. I was thinking, I don’t really want to put myself on the line again. But it became fun again—just like a painter is always painting, I’m always writing.

Any thoughts on the state of the music industry today? There have been so many revolutionary changes during our lifetime. How is that shaping your journey?
I think everyone is fighting for their lives right now. It’s kind of really sad how little people can make from songs. I hope that it changes, because I think that because of all the piracy, it’s a lot harder for someone to make money writing songs. And it’s really, really scary to know that intellectual property is undervalued. Somebody writes a song that everybody loves and you can’t make much from that. That I find really sad. I hope that changes—I think people should pay for songs they love. Simple as that.

Any last thoughts?
Just tell ‘em the record is out.

LP’s album, Forever For Now, is in stores and on iTunes from Warner Bros. Records.

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