Pursuing the Impossible: Laura Pergolizzi (LP) Talks Music, Whistling and Hardship

Pursuing the Impossible: Laura Pergolizzi (LP) Talks Music, Whistling and Hardship

In 2006, Laura Pergolizzi, the singer/songwriter known by her stage name LP, sparked a bidding war between major record labels following a performance at South by Southwest. The singer already had two albums out, “Heart-Shaped Scar” and “Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol,” but the period that followed marked a pivotal shift in her career toward the mainstream — both in terms of her own work (which has been featured on major television shows like “The Orange Is the New Black”) and her songwriting for others, with writing credits for such performers as Rihanna, Cher, Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys. Today, LP is on a world tour for her most recent release, “Heart to Mouth.”

This Sunday, ALL ARTS will air the singer’s 2016 concert at the SchwulenZentrum (SchwuZ) club in Berlin as part of the performance series “Berlin Live.” In advance of the episode’s debut on broadcast and the ALL ARTS streaming app, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sound bites from the episode.

On pursuing music as a career:

I was from more of an academic kind of background — like family, everybody’s lawyers and doctors. So I didn’t think about really doing music, and then my mom passed away when I was a teenager, and I just suddenly became aware that I wanted to do something that I enjoyed. And it wasn’t like something where I was brought up with that concept. So that was a new frontier for me to just pursue something that seemed impossible.

On appreciating the hard times:

I’ve been dropped from major labels a couple times. Actually, I played the “Lost on You” song, that’s doing so well, and two other songs on the EP, and then I got dropped, like about a month later. As a result, I’ve gotten kind of thick skin about things. And I think that I now can truly appreciate everything that’s going on. I mean, if you were just like pissing rainbows all the time, it would be boring.

On whistling in songs:

I think whistling is also another legit sound or instrument of sorts. And the way I use it, I feel, definitely compliments my sound. I think it’s something that I do all day in lieu of singing. I don’t really sing out loud in, like, the stores — I’ll just whistle.

It also has something to do with my subconscious when I’m writing sometimes. When I’m just not paying attention, I’ll start whistling something that’s just coming out from the back of my brain somehow. And a lot of times it’s an interesting melody that I would not have thought of normally. So I use it like that. And then I just leave it in songs because I think it sounds great.

On the song “Lost on You”:

“Lost on You” is a breakup song in the sense that you haven’t already broken up. It’s more of like you’re in it and you’re having these feelings like: “Is this happening because I don’t want it to happen.” And I felt like I was truly heartbroken about that I knew it was going to go down.

I remember I wrote the chords and the title in the back of the van on tour and I then just put it away for a minute. And then when I took it out in front of my writer, producer team, they loved it, and we just, you know, kept going with it, and it felt really good.

Who knows — maybe that was the best song I ever wrote. I don’t know, I think it just connected with people at the right time, you know. The universe opened its legs to me and whatever happened, I don’t know [laughs].

Top Image: LP at Edmonton Folk Fest 2016. Photo: Levi Manchak.