INTERVIEW: Why songwriter LP almost quit her solo career
SheKnows chats with singer/songwriter LP about writing for hit makers like Rihanna and Christina Aguilera and why she almost quit her solo career aspirations.
Summer 2013 was a hot one as I sat in New York's Central Park watching a performer by the name of LP return to her hometown with a ukulele in tow. Smack in between the soothing R&B sets of Quandron and Lianne La Havas were the eclectic tunes of an artist I had never heard of before.
Fast-forward almost a year later and the singer/songwriter is set to release her brand-new album Forever for Now, her first full-length release in a decade. During the past few years spent out of the solo artist limelight, LP stayed resilient with her craft by logging some major songwriting credits for artists like Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, but tells SheKnows why she almost quit her dreams of solo superstardom.
"I have a little more leeway in terms of what I'll talk about with other people," LP says of writing for others. "It's like acting. I'll get into what I think is that person's character even though I'm sure I'm far from it... Whenever I write for someone else, I have to hope it rings or [resonates] with them and a lot of times it doesn't."
It's the perspective of someone who sounds innocently gracious to even have someone tackle her lyrics, but LP is far from an industry newbie, especially when you take a look at her résumé, which includes Rihanna's party anthem "Cheers (Drink to That)" off 2010's Loud. The song, which features a sample of Avril Lavigne's angsty pop ballad "I'm With You," was born in the midst of an unexpected party.
LP tells SheKnows that she wrote the song with her friend Stacy Barthe, who started inviting people to their creative powwows. "She doesn't always do that," LP insisted, before revealing that the group of friends ended up recording vocals for the song that were actually left on Rihanna's studio version.
So how does one make her way from woman behind the pen to woman in front of the mic? LP cites her patience. After releasing her second album in 2004 and scoring a major label record deal in 2006 with Island Def Jam Music Group, LP found herself on a creative threshold.
She was satisfying her wallet and muse by writing songs for a publishing deal with Island Def Jam, but experiencing creative differences with the label. In the end, it was a predicament that ultimately led to her split with the label and another major label departure from 2101 Records a few years later.
After three years of nabbing writing credits for acts like the Backstreet Boys and Heidi Montag, LP reveals that she didn't think her solo artist aspirations would pick up again. "I didn't think I was going to go for the artist thing again," she admits. "I just had this songwriter thing happening and I was really liking it."
While LP says that she was out "doing a song here and there," the singer says that she was so busy with things that the period is much like a blur. "I don't think I noticed that time because I was so busy," she added.
And that hectic routine doesn't look to let up anytime soon as her 12-track album Forever for Now hits stores in just a few weeks. LP says that she's still busy as ever writing for other people and prepping for a promotional circuit to promote the project. "I'm really happy to have this record coming out," she says of the project, which matches high-energy beats with her dynamic lyrics. So are we, LP, so are we.
LP's Forever for Now hits stores on June 3, 2014.