LOLO has a certain way about her when she performs. Not only is she a powerhouse vocalist who has a range without a single quiver, but she's also an impactful performer who acts out, or feels, every single word that pours out of her soul. When she stopped by Baeble HQ to perform her song, "Not Gonna Let You Walk Away," there's no doubt that she had already sung that song a million times before, yet it felt like she had just written and lived out the story right before arriving. Throughout all three songs (the other two being "The Courtyard" and "I Don't Wanna Have To Lie"), she cried tears of sadness and also laughed so hard, we may have caught a couple of snorts as well. You'd think someone with a voice like that would be a guarded, natural-born diva, but she was real and passionate and slightly crazy and loud and soft and...Well, she was a natural-born artist.
Maybe she's got the performance aspect of it down because the first gig she ever landed was the role of Ilse on the hit broadway show Spring Awakening. No big deal, right? In addition to that, she also composed her very own musical, Songbird, penned hits for Panic! At The Disco's album Death of a Bachelor, and collaborated with other artists like Matt Nathanson. When asked what the difference between writing show tunes and pop music is, LOLO felt strongly, "Obviously [Stephen] Sondheim and Britney Spears are not the same thing but I do think the theory applies there, that you're trying to tell a story. Except Sondheim told a three hour story and Britney Spears told a three and a half minute story. I think maybe that's the biggest difference."
There was a very emotional moment when LOLO introduced "The Courtyard," "I feel like I want to sing this song today particularly because of our mothers: one who is still with us and one who is no longer with us, which is Josh's mom. But he had a really great dream about her and whenever he does that he feels awesome...I might cry. Oh God." And she actually almost did cry, pointing her head up towards the ceiling to hold back tears. As her and her guitarist Josh dove into the song, they delivered a performance chock full of authenticity and harmony. At the end, LOLO had to run out of frame because her tears seemed to be unstoppable.
"I grew up in a small town, in Jackson, TN...I was always trying to be some version of what I thought people wanted me to be, and In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit is sort of where I'm at now in my life and the realization that I just can't be anyone but myself now...Get on board or move along," said LOLO on the meaning behind the title of her debut LP. And with songs like "Not Gonna Let You Walk Away" and "Heard It From A Friend," that message certainly shines through. LOLO is fully in touch with herself not only as an artist, but as a genuine human being. What she sings is real, and everyone can see it when they watch her perform.
because I'm meeting up with singer-songwriter, Panic! At the Disco collaborator, and musical theater powerhouse Lolo. After watching her give an amazing performance in the Babel studio, we went out for some conversation and coffee. I just had to find out how she put so much raw emotion into her show. So I saw you at your release show a few weeks ago, and you mentioned in between songs that creating and releasing this album has been a real challenge for you. And I really, like at that moment, really wanted to know why. So can you talk about what the process was like? choice to make something extremely vulnerable for me, be very honest with what I was writing, and saying, and doing. And putting yourself out there is hard. And I think ultimately all we all each want is just to be heard and understood. And one thing that's been really encouraging is I will have people very kindly say, "I don't know what you were particularly going through when you wrote this, but I went through something awful, too, and I feel you," and I appreciate knowing that, hearing it. - Yeah, just connecting with your fans and hearing that it's actually real, what you're doing is being heard. - Yeah, because it's very real for me, you know? - Oh, yeah. - Like, it's super real for me. This is a song called Not Gonna Let You Walk Away. And I wrote this song because there's a specific man in the world that owes me an apology, and I still haven't gotten the apology, and he does know this song exists and we've spoken about it. So I sing about it, because it makes me feel better. Ooh... Ooh, mm... Ooh... Ooh, mm... I've been waiting on the phone to ring, I ain't so good about answering. Why am I always high when you show up? Sometimes your lover can be your friend, sometimes lovers need to start again. Maybe I need to start giving up. If you wanna keep the diamonds that you bought me, you can have them, it'll give your mom a reason to smile. And we can keep on talking 'bout how all we need is magic, but the misdirection follows the miles. Ooh... I'm not gonna let you walk away without saying you're sorry, without saying you're sorry, but I'm not. Well, you win one, and then you lose him, and you can tiptoe around every problem. We gave hospitality to the pain. But just be man enough to say you're wrong, oh, because I don't expect you to change, no. Ooh... I'm not gonna let you walk away without saying you're sorry, without saying you're sorry, oh, but I'm not gonna let you walk away, no. Oh, without saying you're sorry, no. Ooh... Ooh... No, no, no, no... I'm not gonna let you walk away. - Not only is Lolo, born Lauren Pritchard, a powerhouse vocalist, but she's also an experienced songwriter. She's penned hits for Panic! At the Disco's Death of a Bachelor, and has also collaborated with artists like Matt Nathanson and Lemaitre. In addition to those impressive feats, she orignated the role of Ilse in the critically-acclaimed musical SpringAwakening as one of her very first gigs. No big deal, right? Well, actually, it is a pretty big deal. She has since then gone on to write her very own musical, Songbird. What's the difference between writing show tunes and pop music? - You know, I have a really strong stance on this. A, because I'm big a theater nerd, and B, because show tunes were the original pop music, just saying. And songs like You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel were literally on the radio at one point in time, when it was like a Victrola, fucking wind-up deal. I don't think there's any difference. I think that what the difference winds up being is pop music will sometimes have a simpler lyrical approach, because sometimes you have to write show tunes that are literally descriptive, like, "I'm walking with an umbrella in the rain," like, whatever. Obviously, like, fucking Sondheim and Britney Spears are not the same thing, but I do think that the theory applies there, that you're trying to tell a story. Except Sondheim told like a three-hour story, and Britney Spears told like a three-and-a-half-minute story. And I think that's maybe the biggest difference. - You've written for other people, too, so how does that differentiate from writing for yourself? Do you think it's easier to write more honest vocals for someone else because you don't have to sing it yourself? - Oh, no. I don't know. I mean, it's interesting. Like, I did a bunch of writing for the new Panic! At the Disco record. It was a fun thing to work on, knowing Brendan as well as I do, being able to just kind of write through his eyes, you know? I wrote a musical and it ran off-Broadway in the city last year. And writing for some of those characters is different. There's, like, moms with children, and I've never been a mom. I don't have any children, so trying to write for those kinds of characters, I try as best as I can to put myself in the headspace, and try and relate that as much as I can. We're going to sing a song called The Courtyard, and I think I feel like I want to sing this song today particularly because of our mothers, one who is still with us, and one who is no longer with us, which is Josh's mom. But he had a really great dream about her, and whenever he does that, he feels awesome. I might cry. Oh, God. Why did I do that? I literally can't talk about it. Anyway, so this is a song called The Courtyard, and I wrote this song about my mother, who is still with us, who is an Olympic worrier, and she...I've been away from home for a long time, since I was in high school, and so this is sort of my song that I wrote to her, to let her know that I'm trying to adult the best that I can. I wish the apartment faced the courtyard, but a garbage truck is better than an alarm. My Hello Kitty heart can't believe the year is over. I didn't call my mother and say goodnight, and I had a dream that she was yelling at me. "Can't you drink less and find your soulmate?" Like it's so easy. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Mama, I'm trying to figure it out. Oh, when I go, I don't want no tears at all. Every song we sing is gonna last forever. I've committed myself to so many and their special desires, while having mine ignored. And they ask me when I'm gonna stop all this traveling. We lived like we would live forever, raise a glass up to each other. But the music came before you so don't make me choose, 'cause I won't choose you. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Mama, I'm trying to figure it out. Oh, when I go, I don't want no tears at all. Every song we sing is gonna last forever. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Mama, I'm trying to figure it out. Oh, when I go, I don't want no tears at all. Every song we sing is gonna last forever. Every song we sing is gonna last forever... Ooh, ooh, oh. I'm sorry. I'm going to cry. - When Lolo first walked into our studio, we immediately noticed her fun sense of style. Sporting a plain red tee, white suspenders, and a furry kids' backpack on her shoulder, it was pretty easy to tell that this woman was truly confident. One particular detail that caught our eye was her rings. Each of her rings held the story that linked to her inspiration and her creative process. - There's a bunch of stories behind these rings. So these two rings were given to me by my very best friend Christy as my opening night present, actually. This I bought on the road in Arizona. - I have a ring that looks just like that from Arizona. Not the same, but anyway. - Yeah, I mean, it's the place to find it. This is my grandfather's, who's no longer alive, my Grandpa Lenny. These rings are all from Catbird, except for this one, which is kind of... it was a ring that was given to me on my eighth birthday from my parents... - Aww, it still fits. - ...and it still fits, and I've worn it every single day of my life, actually, since I was eight. And the stones have fallen out, because I didn't take care of it because I was eight. - Oh, I had one more question. Can you just briefly explain the meaning behind your album title? - Sure. It can be a little misleading, because the truth is, I still give a lot of shits about a lot of things. But the truth of the album title is...I grew up in a small town in Jackson, Tennessee. I always tried to be a good little Southern girl and grew up going to church. Still go to church, quite honestly. I was always trying to kind of be, I don't know, some version of what I thought people wanted me to be. And "In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit" is sort of where I'm at now in my life, and the realization that I just can't be anyone but myself now, and if I try to be anyone but myself, it's just not going to work, and I just don't give a shit anymore. Like, get on board or move along. That's where I am. And because I tried really hard to kind of be all different kinds of things, and all that wound up doing in the end was hurting me. The song we're going to do now is called I Don't Wanna Have to Lie and it's a little self-explanatory, but it is the song that was written that kind of started the whole journey of the album. I was in the thick of some personal B. S. , and I just sort of had to cave to it and tell the truth. I don't wanna have to lie to everybody about how I feel. I can't eat, can't sleep, I'm on my knees praying for a miracle. It's all right, what you say, like a knife, I know you like the taste of blood. I love you, I hate you, I have you, I lose you, I just want someone to love. I don't wanna have to lie to everybody, I just want a light. I wanna smoke more cigarettes. And you'd think that I like getting hurt, but I do, and I can't seem to help myself. I'm a big girl, and big girls get hurt, too, and they cry. And you think that I'm tough enough, but I know when you look at me right now that all you can see is blood. And I don't wanna have to lie to everybody about how I feel. Waves of sadness, waves of grief, a river that feels like it'll never stop running, and all you can see is the loss. I know it's all over, it's all over my face, but I can't change, no, I can't, I... 'Cause I don't wanna have to lie to everybody about how I feel. Oh... Oh, I don't wanna have to lie to everybody about how I feel. Ooh... Ooh... Oh, don't love me no more. Oh...
Born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee, Pritchard began writing songs when she was 14 years old. She then moved to Los Angeles at 16, where she lived with Lisa Marie Presley and tried to make it as a singer in a reggae band. She eventually succeeded as a musical actress, by originating and playing the role of the 15-year-old runaway "Ilse" in the hit Broadway show Spring Awakening for two years.
Pritchard later settled in the United Kingdom, and signed with Universal/Island Records. In August 2010 she released the single "Painkillers", and the song was also released in a remix with rapper Talib Kweli. Her debut album, Wasted in Jackson, written and produced with Eg White, was digitally released on October 25, 2010 and debuted at No. 84 in the UK. It was also scheduled for physical release in the US on February 22, 2011. Pritchard mentions Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Al Green and Candi Staton as some of the influences behind her music.
In 2013, Pritchard adopted the stage name Lolo and has since signed with DCD2 Records. "Under her given name, Pritchard is also the composer-lyricist of the new musical Songbird..."
In 2013 she began opening for the alternative band Panic! at the Disco. She still opens for live concerts and tours with the band. She was also featured on the Panic! at the Disco song, "Miss Jackson".