Meet Lola Kirke, a multi-talented singer-songwriter and actress, hailing from New York but currently residing in Los Angeles.
Starting as an actress initially, Lola Kirke has starred in several high-profile films, including Gone Girl and Mistress America, until she decided to give music a go on top of her acting career – with success.
By having a passion for playing the guitar and growing up to different musical influences from an early age, she then formed a band with some of her college mates and started touring. Only last year, Lola released her successful debut album Heart Head West which shows her vulnerable side through honest and well-penned lyrics, alongside a Country-infused sound.
Only recently, she dropped a brand new EP titled Friends and Foes and Friends Again, which consists of five Country music duets featuring the likes of Austin Jenkins, Kelly Zutrau, and more.
Lola Kirke chats to 1883 Magazine about her thoughts on music, social media, and her wish of being a cop.
Let’s first talk about your acting, because you’ve starred in quite a few films, like Gone Girl…
I wouldn’t say I starred in Gone Girl!
But you were part of it!
[Laughs] Thank you!
So how and when did you get started in acting?
I started acting, well, it was the first thing I wanted to do ever when I was like 10. I mean, I think there was also a long time when I wanted to be a cop.
When I was like a little kid. I liked the show Cops, but now I think it’s like totally evil. I don’t know, I think I was like interested in power really because I think being an actor there’s a similar thing.
Yeah, you can be a cop in a film right?
Exactly, which would be way better. And I would be like a crooked cop in a film, not a good one. So anyway, I won’t say anything more about police.
But yeah, I really wanted to be an actor when I was young, and I’ve been thinking a lot about acting recently because I think a lot of actors don’t practice acting, and any other artist practices all the time. Maybe not writers, but I do think writers have a practice. But like, if you’re a musician, you would go home and you would play for 5 hours or whatever. If you were a painter, you would always be practicing. And I think what appealed to me about acting largely was this notion that it was abstract, it was a technique I had to learn, and as I’ve gotten older and spent more time studying acting I realised none of those things are true. But I think, erm, I was pretty lazy.
Do acting and singing go hand in hand with you?
I do think yes and no. A lot of people do it both. I think especially in the Country music scene, the genre I’m really interested in, a lot of them sing songs that they did not write but they embody themselves so much so people had no idea. A lot of these songs are melodramas! For me, as somebody who does write their own songs, it’s different. For a long time, songwriting and singing meant taking back my own power. I spend more time doing music and doing it more in a legitimate way. The more I do it, the more I see how hard it is to actually control it. And that’s the same in the acting industry.
Fair enough. So you only got started in the music industry in 2016, though, right?
Yeah, I mean I started playing the guitar when I was 18 years old. It’s a great instrument, too. It’s simple and sounds pretty. So I got the confidence to pick up a guitar and started singing with my friends in college, we had a country band. It was really cute. I kept on playing, and found myself to write lots of music after long shooting days; it was kind of a way to return to myself. My boyfriend who produced my first projects gave me a lot of confidence. And he wanted to move into somewhere with a recording studio in the area we wanted when we moved to Los Angeles. He gives me lots of advice, even though he sometimes doesn’t like my songs [laughs].
I can’t believe you found a house with a studio. So cool.
Yeah, we even became friends with the owners!
What did you find the most difficult thing when you first decided to put yourself out there as a recording artist?
A lot of things are difficult in the music industry, I find. Personally, I feel a lot of anxiety about playing alone. Which is weird because when I first started, I felt great playing by myself. But now, I get nervous and scared if I’m boring and so on. Also, when I write music now, I play it with arrangements. It’s really expensive, it’s insane. As a musician, you have to have a shit ton of money.
So what keeps you going?
I love it, you know. And it’s great that with acting I have another career as well. Both work, which is great. Sometimes I get depressed with both industries and how far they are from the art itself. I don’t understand a lot of the things most people understand, and that makes me feel lonely.
Well, I can’t really say right now…Some things are just so general, like superheroes. Films especially, even mainstream films with specific characters are just really general. Some people can connect but sometimes for me, it’s…nothing. I think ultimately, we have made this amazing transition that makes it impossible for people to take risks in the creative industries. It’s ruining a few things. As with social media, there are great aspects to it but also makes people not feel individual and depressed and so on, you know?
I fully understand you. So, what’s the Country music scene like in Los Angeles?
Hmm, I wouldn’t really say I’m part of any scene really, but there is a big scene. Of course, a bigger scene in Nashville, but the Country scene that I like is more like vintage – not contemporary. I have been blessed to be surrounded by a team who work in different genres. That is very inspiring.
Yeah, I bet. Who did you grow up listening to?
A lot of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and I started listening to Country as a teenager. And also to Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, a lot of Rock.
interview by Antonia Künzel
Check out Lola Kirke’s latest video for ‘Mama’ below!