LP Digs Deep on Heart to Mouth

LP Digs Deep on Heart to Mouth

The singing and songwriting sensation releases her much-anticipated "Lost on You" follow-up.

The singing and songwriting sensation releases her much-anticipated "Lost on You" follow-up.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

For music buffs of a certain generation, the stage name of New York-born singer-songwriter Laura Pergolizzi, a.k.a. LP, may conjure the black lacquer vinyls of yesteryear—a fitting association given LP’s raw, full-throated sound and 70s-inflected style that, in today’s synth-heavy, streaming-dominated landscape, allow LP to hover somewhere between nostalgia and novelty, black-and-white and 4D.

It’s that combination that propelled the breakout success of LP’s 2016 album Lost on You, which took Pergolizzi from prestige songwriting gigs for the likes of Rihanna and Cher to front-and-center stardom. Since then she’s also achieved personal milestones, becoming engaged to her longtime girlfriend last year. But with personal and professional success, LP hasn’t lost her noir-pop perspective. “I think I am always trying to get to the root of my emotion, and the pendulum swing of my emotions,” she tells us. “It takes me from happy to fucking catastrophically sad and back.”

LP (courtesy of BB Gun Press)

Her fifth album, Heart to Mouth, released on Friday, encompasses this emotional spectrum. Despite its bright orange cover art (breaking from her black-and-white leitmotif) the album tackles heavy topics from relationship issues to anxiety dreams—proving that LP’s higher profile hasn’t eroded her substantive sound. Here LP talks the costs of hard-won success, her upcoming wedding, and more.

You are 5 albums deep now. How was the lead-up this time around different from previous albums?

It’s different this time just because this is the most people have ever been anticipating an album from me. And obviously we’ve been in the social media land for a while, but I feel like things have turned up even more, between Spotify and Instagram. You are almost experiencing it in real time, whether or not people like something. It’s a little more nerve-wracking but also more satisfying because people get back to you immediately about it.   

Did this added attention come as a surprise? Would you have been content without having the breakout moment you did?

No probably not. But I couldn’t wrap my head around what it would [be like]. When I was songwriting for other people, I definitely didn’t see this kind of success coming. It’s really cool to experience it. I get to write songs primarily for myself now, which is enjoyable. But I love when people go back to old songs [from before] “Lost on You.”

After having that introduction to a wider audience with “Lost on You,” did you feel you had to dig deeper with this album? What aspects of yourself did you want to come to the fore?

I think I am always trying to get to the root of my emotion, and the pendulum swing of my emotions. It takes me from happy to fucking catastrophically sad and back. You know? [Laughs.] Experiences don’t go away. I think they stay with me and inform my writing, always. I had a lot of time with this record; when you’re touring, you have a lot of alone time, a lot of time to reflect. I think you can hear that in these songs. A lot of [them] have an element of, when you awake from a dream and you can’t really remember all the details, but you know that something was gnawing at you. It’s an anxiety dream of sorts, you know. I had a lot of that running through my head.

What kinds of things would put you in that “catastrophically sad” place? Do you feel like you absorb the general climate that is right now?

Totally. You can just turn on the news and you get sad in an instant. You can go from being happy that things are working out for you, to being sad because so many people are experiencing horrible [things] right now. If I get on the wrong side of a mood, it just sparks [something in me] and it comes out through the pen.

Conversely, it seems like you’re experimenting visually, like with the orange motif, which feels happy! Did you see it as a counterweight to the sadness?

I think I have definitely done the black and white thing, for sure. And orange is so ridiculous; it’s such an explosion of color. I didn’t think of it as happy, necessarily. I thought of it as just a change of direction. I don’t know, it just felt good.

What are some songs that you think came from the “anxiety dream” idea?

I think that kind of thing comes through on “Dreamcatcher,” or “One Night in the Sun.” A lot of them do. [Laughs]. “Dreamer. ” “House on Fire,” for sure. That’s [about] the domestic trouble of always waiting for that fight. There’s a lot of angst. I am processing all kinds of things from the past, and also it’s not the easiest to be in a long-distance relationship. Like, I’ve literally been on the road fairly non-stop for the last 3 years.

Are you in a long-distance relationship just by nature of you being on tour?

Yeah. I mean, 2 or 3 months away from someone—that’s a long-distance relationship. It’s just hard to maintain the intimacy. Even though we are arguably going through the most happy and abundant of times, your mind starts to wander as far as... just the anxiety and uneasiness. You can feel some measure of uneasiness on the record.

You’re going on tour next year. Do you have a plan in place to avoid the isolation of being away from your relationship?

Ultimately as exciting and wonderful as all of it is, it’s a job. You have to maintain your health, your well-being. All those hours in the day geared towards that hour or two of music—it’s a lot. It’s a wild place to keep your head at. But I know I love it, ultimately.

Are you rehearsing already? Do you know the setlist?

I don’t know the setlist. We are getting the production down, and the creative part down. Which is really fun. We start rehearsals right after the holidays.

Where are you going for the holidays?

I am going to the east coast to see family, my fiancés family and my family.

So, both sides of the family are coming together?

Well no, not yet. We haven’t really done that yet. We are going to see separate family with our dog. [Laughs.] He’s the glue. That’s our nuclear family.

Do you have a wedding date? You don’t have to answer that.

[Laughs.] No, she’s a really busy musician as well. So our engagement has basically been a statement of commitment in a really beautiful way. And we haven’t really had time. We just went to our second wedding together this weekend, in Tulum. We are wrapping our heads around [a plan] because neither of us are very geared towards planning [something like this]. I’ve just been like going 100 miles an hour, all around the world, so it’s probably my fault. [Laughs.]

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