‘Wherever You Go’, the latest release from British singer/songwriter Lola Lennox, is the perfect euphoric track for everyone missing their loved ones.
During a time where the entire world was on edge & full of anxiety and longing for loved ones, Lola Lennox used music to bridge her inner world with the outside. 2020 was the year Lola Lennox began leaning into her craft after using her adolescence honing and perfecting her music and navigating who she wanted to be as an artist. Despite all of the darkness and confusion that last year brought, Lola Lennox released several tracks as both a way to introduce her artistry to the world and as a way to be a glimmer of light for fans new & old.
Her latest track — the euphoric and freeing ‘Wherever You Go’ — is the first release of 2021 for Lennox. Co-produced with Lennox’s boyfriend Braeden Wright and Lola’s mum Annie Lennox, the song was written during the pandemic as an ode to her loved ones and how, despite the oceans that separate them, she still takes them wherever she goes.
1883 had a chat with Lola Lennox about working with her mum, why she’s a perfectionist when it comes to making music, and what she’s hoping to manifest this year.
2020 marked your first slew of releases — from ‘In The Wild’ to ‘La La Love Me’. Although the year was difficult, what was it like to finally put your artistry out there for the first time?
I planned to have a bunch of songs released throughout 2020 and then… COVID hit. I just decided to keep going with it because no one knew how long it was going to be until the world got back to normal and I was so ready to release my music. I released ‘In The Wild’ in February right before the pandemic started and then I released ‘Pale’ in April and I realized the power of music during those releases. Everyone around the world is struggling and feeling lonely, and music has been this amazing, healing, cathartic outlet for people. It’s been a way to connect. It was beautiful to have people around the world reaching out to let me know my music was helping them get through a difficult time. I’m excited to play live for them when the world resumes back to normal.
Yeah, I bet it’s been amazing to connect with fans, new and old, and trying to make that experience as formative and tangible as possible. When you aren’t touring, it’s hard to gauge how people are feeling so I’m sure it’s been nice reading messages like that.
Totally. We’re all craving human connection so much that every little aspect of it becomes meaningful and means something more to you — maybe even more than it would’ve before the pandemic. Before we were all distracted and living life without thinking, but last year gave me a new appreciation and awareness of everyone because we’re all going through this united, together.
You must feel like it’s helping you, too. I feel like having something to look forward to, whether it’s making music or releasing it, must feel like a bright spot in a dark time.
Both the releasing and the making of it is something I’ve been grateful for. I have a home studio set up in my living room and my boyfriend is one of the producers, so we’ve been able to make music during this time. It’s given me purpose and something to do during the day. We’re all still processing a lot of what’s happened, so being able to write throughout this time has been therapeutic. Putting feelings to music has always been really helpful but even now more than ever.
I love asking songwriters about whether they consider songwriting as a form of therapy — is that something you subscribe to?
Absolutely. Not only does it allow you to examine yourself and look deep within, but there’s this really special alchemy where you’re taking the darkness and turning it into gold. It turns into this treasure of a song. It gives you this feeling of wholeness… like it becomes a part of your identity. I think it’s the same for all artists, whether you’re a songwriter or a painter. Creating anything gives you an outlet to make hard things into something meaningful.
I read that you are very much a perfectionist and songwriting was hard at first because you wanted to be great right away. What was it like working through that and battling your insecurities?
It’s a balance between intuition and being a perfectionist; you want music to come from a very free place without sounding boiled down. You want it to sound natural and free. When you’re learning your craft as a songwriter, it’s easy to write songs that are mediocre but I always wanted the music to sound and feel special. I wanted it to feel unique and feel like it’s a part of who I am while encompassing everything I’m trying to say and also being catchy at the same time. I went through a long process of learning and writing a lot of bad songs to get to a point where the songs were strong enough. I’m glad I went through all of that because although it was a longer road than most, this music feels authentically me.
I feel like when you’re in your late 20s early 30s, you’re in this place where you’re leaning into who you are so it’s fitting that you feel like you’re in a place where you’re ready to pursue music.
Definitely. You take everything from your 20s and learn from it. Now, I feel like I know myself more than ever and I feel comfortable in my skin which helps me feel comfortable in music.
‘Wherever You Go’ is a really beautiful song — can you tell me a bit about it and the inspiration behind it?
It’s about missing people. I’m from London and I moved to LA, leaving an entire life behind. I left my family and friends and when you have such deep ties to people, I feel like you carry them wherever you go; they are always around you. When I moved to LA I met my current boyfriend and he was about to move back to Canada. We did long distance for a bit and it’s hard; you’re always on the phone or always thinking about them and missing them. I wanted ‘Wherever You Go’ to feel very free and open because there’s an element of letting go, trusting, and anticipating what’s going to happen in life. That’s an exciting, thrilling feeling. I wanted the music to encompass that.
You have worked closely with your mum [Annie], who has co-produced a number of your tracks. Was there ever a time growing up when you felt like you needed to somewhat distance yourself from your mum because you want to be your own artist or is it something that you always warmed to?
Initially, at the beginning of my career when I was working with different people, I wanted to do it independently to find myself and my identity within that environment. I needed to build my confidence. I started to feel passionate about what I was doing, but there was a level of insecurity where you know you have to prove that you are a good singer and songwriter. I moved to LA and I started to get a lot of experience with writing, gigging, and leaning into who I am as an artist. The confidence came that way. I got to a place where I didn’t feel like I needed to prove myself and I knew that if we worked together, I could bring something unique to the table. Us working together was natural; we just worked in my living room in LA and then during the pandemic, we would do FaceTime sessions.
I feel like you have this really beautiful insight into the background of the industry because you’ve been around it your whole life. Has it been interesting to see both sides — seeing how your mum navigated the industry and now doing it yourself?
I got to watch her perform, go on tour, watch entire albums and music videos come to life. Seeing that combination of passion and love, with a sheer commitment to making something really special and beautiful, is something I’ll never take for granted. Seeing someone I love make something that is a really honest expression of who she is, combined with her hard work and dedication, and watching her take it to another level is inspiring. As a child, I’d say that was the most exciting and inspiring thing to watch and learn. It is a different industry now and I’m navigating it as I grow and make music, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to about it. We talk a lot about what it is to be an artist.
You’ve been self-releasing music via your own label — why did you make that decision?
It just made a lot of sense for me. I’m still building and growing and figuring out who I want to be. Eventually, it will be nice where I’m maybe with a bigger label, but I have a lot of autonomy over the work I get to create. It’s a close-knit team here in LA and London and everyone works so hard and does amazing work. I’m really happy to be working like this.
Lastly, what else is coming up for you this year and if you could manifest anything this year, what would it be?
After ‘Wherever You Go’ I have another song coming out soon. I’m working on an EP with a collection of songs, new and old, and I’m excited to have a body of work. Manifesting… that’s a big question! The first three that come to mind: for the world to take climate change seriously and we start to make changes, for covid to end and for the world to find peace and healing, and for racial equality. That’s what I want to see in the world.
Listen to ‘Wherever You Go’ by Lola Lennox now! Follow Lola via @lolalennox
Interview by Kelsey Barnes
Photography (1 & 2) Kristin Gallegos (3) Alondra Bucio