Q&A: LP talks about new album Churches

Laura (LP) Pergolizzi is back with another collection of her distinctly styled confessional songs.

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LP Churches Tour

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When: April 15, 8 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver

Ticket/info: From $49 at Ticketmaster.ca

American singer/songwriter LP — born Laura Pergolizzi in Long Island, NY — is one of those artists whose music is far better known than they are.

Since the early 2000s, LP has penned tunes for artists as varied as Rihanna and Joe Walsh to The Veronicas and Celine Dion. Many of these appeared on massive hit albums.

Like many others who write the songs that make the whole world sing, LP’s contributions often went unrecognized. The solo career that developed alongside dates to 2001’s breakout debut Heart-Shaped Scar. Released to universal critical acclaim, Heart-Shaped Scar established the lesbian musician as both a rising star and someone that wasn’t going to be easy to pigeonhole into a particular genre.

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With a style that mixed Johnny Thunders’ wasted chic with top-tier Los Angeles design and a voice that could soar, growl or seduce, each subsequent release arrived on a different label with the same sort of minimal market recognition.

None of which stopped fans from rallying behind the quality music being made. Across Europe, LP was often charting top 10. With more than two billion streams globally, the appetite for songs such as those found on the excellent new album Churches is undeniable. Canada is one of the top markets with 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners, 40,000 YouTube subscribers, 150,000 Apple Music monthly plays and equally high engagement on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. This is why LP sold out the Orpheum on the last go-round and is likely to do the same performing songs such as the groovy Conversation.

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Radio play is almost exclusively limited to specialty shows on college and community stations.

LP chatted with Postmedia News before the Canadian dates on her upcoming tour:

Q: Churches went through many postponements before landing in December 2021. Did those breaks change the final shape of the record?

A: It was supposed to be out in October of 2020, and I might have even held off longer to be close to the tour. But it meant that I could add more songs, such as When We Touch, which was written entirely in anticipation of getting back onstage. There were a lot of additional bits and concepts I was able to dive into with the extra time, such as bookending the album with When We Touch opening and Poem closing it out. It’s pretty cool.

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Q: Churches is a title that conjures up a lot of things in people’s minds. Are you aiming for something specific with the title?

A: I feel like a church is not just a place, but is also an idea, which conjures up different ideologies for different people. It’s a point of entry into that where you can agree or disagree on everything from reincarnation to marriage, and it can be kind of hard to believe sometimes how differing those beliefs are. Who’s really wrong? The word has a lot of depth to it.

Q: You aren’t setting out to preach to anyone on the album though, are you?

A: I’d rather die than push my bs on someone else, but I won’t stop standing for who I am and pushing back against anyone who gets on my lawn and starts telling me how to live. I enjoy a fair amount of freedom because of where I live, but I see that being curtailed and attacked all over as well.

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Q: Clearly, you opted for a far more glossy and electronic sound on this album than previous ones. What led to you heading that way?

A: It’s just fun. I don’t subscribe to any particular genre and can’t really answer when someone asks me, “What kind of music do you play?” Not because I’m coming from some lofty, “I’m beyond classification” pretentiousness, but because I go wherever I want. It’s one of the reasons that it took me so long to get here, because people get confused when it’s not easy. I also messed around with my voice a bunch and tried out a lot of new things, such as the vibrato on One Last Time, etc.

Q: How is the new material going over live?

A: Because of COVID, I’ve never been in a situation where I had seven singles with videos out before actually playing the album live. Now I’ve done all the singles live and there is definitely a palpable new energy to them live. That’s good, because it won’t really sink in that these are my new tunes until I feel myself performing them in concert with fans singing along just like they do to favorites like Lost On You. Everyone better be ready, because we are really burning to be back onstage again and cut loose.

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