LP is fun to talk to.
Before hopping on our call, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what to expect from the androgynous-dressing, soulful-singing pop diva, besides my desire to touch on her unisex fashion sense.
LP – don’t call her Laura Pergolizzi – is a fixture in the pop genre, as her music largely consists of heartfelt personal tales packaged with easily digestible sounds. She’s known to play a ukulele on stage, and has remained a notable songwriter over the last two decades, penning songs for Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, to name a few.
Now the 38-year-old is touring the country, on the back of her latest EP, Death Valley. On Tap caught up with the singer-songwriter just in time for her three upcoming shows in the District, opening for Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry at Lincoln Theatre tonight and Monday, July 25, and headlining U Street Music Hall on Tuesday, July 26.
On Tap: Laura Pergolizzi is a cool name. Why go by LP?
LP: You know, I just resonate with LP. I don’t mind my last name, but my name isn’t Laura to me. It’s just one of those things. When everybody started calling me LP, it just felt right. I might actually get my name changed with the government at some point.
OT: You definitely carved a niche for yourself as a songwriter. Is it hard to pen stuff for someone else? Do you ever think, “Damn, I should be singing this?”
LP: I have a publisher. Getting songs places is a lot more difficult than people would think. They go through a lot of channels people don’t realize. There are publishers, managers and luck involved. I’ve never been upset that I gave a song. There’s one song I wish I gave out, but didn’t, called “Night Like This.” I should have given it to Shakira.
OT: How come?
LP: There’s an inherent girliness to the song. I heard a woman do it once, as a fan, and it was sexier. I can’t really describe it. There was more depth to the song when she sang it. When another person sings a song, it can sound different.
OT: Is Death Valley part of a bigger release?
LP: It’s part of a bigger release. I just wanted to get something out there.
OT: Will it carry the same theme?
LP: Yeah, always. It’s definitely more of the same regarding difficult shit that I went through in 2014 and 2015, in both my personal and professional life. I love when records take you on a journey. I definitely feel like the EP does. The last song was one of those where I was already out of those bad times. The timing was perfect for that song. It was that place, where you’re still kind of hurt, but you go ahead and do what you need to do. Songwriting is the conveying of emotional depth, and you don’t want to go in there with a sledgehammer. You go in there with a scalpel.
OT: I feel like it can be monotonous to ask every musician about their influences regarding music, so I want to know your style influences.
LP: The guy I’m opening up for right now is one of my fashion icons – Bryan Ferry. David Bowie was for sure, especially [in] a lot of his slim suits. Bob Dylan was as well. Back in the day, 60s Bob Dylan was my jam. I love the old-style Beatles suit days – that kind of shit. I try to carve out my own path. I would say the main inspiration for me, for style, is a brand of androgyny. It’s really interesting with all the people that have died recently, like David Bowie and Prince, who had amazing brands of androgyny. I feel like we, as a race of people, are hopefully getting more tolerant and more understanding of gender neutrality and things like that. I’m not interested in genders disappearing, but I’m interested in reversals and exaggerations, and combinations coming out in any way they want. That’s what drives me fashion-wise. I want to look on the outside how I feel on the inside.
Don’t miss LP’s performance tonight at Lincoln Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $55. She’ll also perform on Monday, July 25 at Lincoln and Tuesday, July 26 at U Street Music Hall. Learn more about her here: http://iamlp.com/.
Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St NW, DC; 202-888-0050; www.thelincolndc.com
U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; 202-588-1889; www.ustreetmusichall.com
Photo: Michael Comte