Gettin’ Magical with Lola Blanc
She’s anything but an illusion.
Let’s be honest, making it in any industry is no easy feat–but it helps to have the magic touch. Enter Lola Blanc, one of the most veteran new artists that Los Angeles has to offer. Though the release of her debut EP, The Magic, is still a month away, the singer-songwriter-actress-writer has penned a Top 40 song for Britney Spears, guest starred on American Horror Story: Hotel, and been declared a “rising star” and “one badass chick” by Playboy and Refinery29, respectively. To celebrate her upcoming debut, we assembled her and her crew for a Polaroid-punctuated trip to the epicenter of enchantment: Disneyland. After the jump, check out our photos and interview with Lola where we talked spooky musicals, maintaining a firm grip on your creative control, and making music as meaningful as it is magical.
Let’s start with the basics—where are you from?
I’m from everywhere! I was born in Germany and raised on a farm in Michigan, and then Utah, and random little desert towns in California.
Did you always have dreams of pop stardom?
I wanted to be a princess, but when I started writing songs at age 9 I realized being a princess was a highly unrealistic career path and instead opted for the super practical goal of pop stardom.
You’ve talked about how your new music is much truer to who you are as an artist. How do you gut-check that sort of thing?
Honestly I’d wanted to make weird, theatrical, jazzy pop for years and years. I couldn’t find producers who understood that vision when I was younger, so I got into dancier pop as a sort of fuck-it-why-not move. And don’t get me wrong, I love pop music, and I love all my old songs, but eventually it began to feel like something was just… not working. Like I’d been chasing something instead of making music that was authentically me. Which is a hard thing to face. But I had to be like, “Okay, what have you secretly always wanted but were afraid to do?” And I knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer. The right producers just kind of came into my life when I made that decision. Almost like… ahem… magic.
Do you feel like your work on “trendy” music helped your process while you were recording The Magic?
I think all that time writing, for myself and other artists, has made me a much stronger songwriter in general. It’s taught me how to navigate genre and learn about myself and what I love–and what I hate! I was able to develop and understand my own process on a far deeper level than I would if I hadn’t had that time to marinate and grow. I’ll probably always experiment with different styles and write for other people, and hopefully it will just make me better and better.
Britney Spears recorded Ooh La La for The Smurfs 2, a song that you wrote. Was that originally intended to be your song? What was the process of working with her like?
I wrote that song for my own artist project–which was obviously very different then–with Ammo and another writer. Ammo played it for Dr. Luke, who wanted Britney to sing it for the movie, and I certainly wasn’t going to say no to Britney Spears. I was very removed from the process after that, a lot more people got involved, and I didn’t even know what they’d changed until I heard it on the radio. But I was happy to hear it on the radio!
What’s your favorite part of the song creation process?
Writing something that means something to me. Here’s the best analogy I can think of right now: when I feel an emotion or idea that I need to express, it’s like a giant balloon blowing up inside of my body, and until I get that idea out with the right lyric and melody and instrumentation, it just keeps growing and creating more and more pressure and discomfort. But when that magic happens and you express exactly what you were feeling exactly the way you wanted to, that balloon finally pops and creates this intense feeling of release and elation. Until the next emotional crisis, of course. I also feel this way with music videos and basically everything else I do. It’s just knowing that you’re making the thing you needed to make.
Who’s your dream collab?
Danny Elfman. Please God let someone who knows Danny Elfman read this and decide he simply must write a spooky musical with me because that’s basically everything I’ve ever wanted. I would settle for him executive producing my album!
Finally, what advice do you have for girls in the industry to help them maintain as much creative control as you do?
Don’t wait. Never wait. Take the time to get your art or work to a place where you really, really love it, and then put it out into the world. Don’t wait for someone to come along and work a miracle for you. Do it yourself, and then keep on doing it. If you can get to a certain level on your own, nobody can fuck with your vision. Just keep swimming!
Lola Blanc’s EP, The Magic, drops next month. In the meantime, check out the release’s title track on Soundcloud below.