By Kristen Hawley | 17 November, 2022
No label, no manager, no team - but LO LA isn’t letting her music take the backseat. Los Angeles independent artist, LO LA, just released her new single “backseat” which is the beginning of her dark, Reputation Era.
LO LA started as a theater kid before joining a house band when she was fifteen. In her junior year of high school, she met some peer songwriters and was inspired to begin writing. Her experience with the band made her more comfortable performing and being in front of crowds. When college applications came around, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Going on a high school retreat, she had the creative freedom to choose the song to perform without a teacher's input. She chose to sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” with her friends and had an out of body experience on stage. Towards the build of the song, everything slowed down and this five second moment during the song felt like years to LO LA. After that performance, she confidently knew performing was her intended path. She asked friends how to create and distribute music, beginning to build a network and fanbase.
The Beatles, Queen, Arctic Monkeys, Clairo, and other indie artists were major musical inspirations for her and shaped her songwriting growing up. Now her main source of inspiration stems from Lana Del Ray, Tyler the Creator, and Harry Styles.
Being an independent artist is an all-encompassing position. You are more than just the artist and songwriter - you must also be your own PR, social media manager, manager, etc.LO LA is truly an independent artist with no backing or label – she does take on all the roles to promote her music and gain traction. In the peak of TikTok artists taking off, LO LA uses TikTok and social media to connect with fans and promote her music because understanding and cracking the algorithm to stand out from other independent artists is a challenging task. She posts frequently and goes live on TikTok four times a week so her music reaches a larger audience.
Her songwriting process constantly shifts from playing chords and improving lyrics on her piano and mic setup or having producers send her beats to write over or collaborating with fellow songwriters and producers. Even with working different collaborators, LO LA keeps the true meaning and story of her songs close to her chest. To shield her as she’s getting comfortable with being vulnerable in songwriting and also not to influence the listeners, LO LA keeps the true inspiration of a song private and doesn’t share specific details. She rather have it be up for interpretation and have fans relate to it without her story clouding listeners seeing themselves in the lyrics.
Her latest single, “backseat”, is a haunting reflection on losing yourself in the moment and going back to a toxic person even though the voice in your head is constantly telling you no.. In other words, LO LA depicts falling in love with the idea of someone and what they could be rather than seeing the person in front of you for truly who they are. The beat is slower and darker pop with reminiscents of Tate McRae with inspiration pulled from Lana Del Ray. “backseat” is perfect for a late-night drive home to recall a past relationship and identify that person’s true faults versus what perfect version of them you fabricated.
The two lyrics that are stamped into the listeners’ head are “I’m so lonely” and “you’re not for me,” realizing how overpowering being lonely usually causes someone who isn’t secure with being alone to stay with someone toxic. “backseat” stems from LO LA never putting up walls when it comes to what kind of songwriting she is exploring. And currently, she is gravitating towards darker tones and the dreamy, Lana like lyrics. Her next batch of music and the overall aesthetic of “backseat” is a shift to dark pop which is a stark contrast to her previous single, “PCH.”
What do LO LA fans have to get excited for? Well, 2022 was the year of experimenting and building so that in 2023 she can do more shows, work on new music (maybe a new project), release a song each month, and hopefully perform at South by Southwest. LO LA is pressing the gas pedal to the floor to go full speed into 2023 with nothing slowing her goals or music down.
Stream “backseat” here!