Even if the pandemic is still a reality for millions of people all over the world, and the whole globe is suffering its aftermath, the last two years have been so heavy, those first announcements, the lockdowns, and all the COVID-19 drama feels like it happened eons ago.
When The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the pandemic on the 11th of March 2020, Liverpool was sitting at the top of the Premier League table with 82 points, the standard Netflix subscription in Australia was $13.99, and Disney’s Onward was ruling the American box office.
Also back then, you couldn’t find a club, restaurant, or bar that didn’t play LP’s ‘Lost on You’. After more than a decade of being stuck in the gears of the ruthless label system, the Long Island-born musician was at last on the top of the world.
But up to that point, her solo career had been lackluster. LP’s albums never managed to take off the ground, and she spent the entirety of the aughts jumping from label to label.
“[Those were] years where I was basically banging around in the major label system and I wrote like in the area of 130-140 songs,” LP said in a 2019 interview with Tom Power. “They were pushing me in all different directions, I didn’t have a strong management at the time and I was a bit rudderless. “They were like, ‘oh let’s go in this rock direction, let’s go in this pop direction, let’s go in this folk direction’. It was frustrating at the time but also, you know, convoluted. I didn’t know where I was going, I was just following what they said because I didn’t know any better. So after three years, it bore no fruit, there was no actual record.”
While her career as a performer seemed stuck, she flourished as a songwriter for other artists. In 2007, The Backstreet Boys recorded her composition ‘Love Will Keep You Up All Night’ for their album Unbreakable, leading to collaborations with other performers like Heidi Montag and Erik Hassle. For Rihanna she wrote ‘Cheers (Drink To That)’, and in 2010 she co-wrote the song ‘Beautiful People’ for Christina Aguilera. LP also worked for other artists including Cher, Leona Lewis, and Céline Dion.
LP’s 2014 album Forever for Now managed to hit the Billboard 200 chart at 132, but that didn’t seem enough for the corporate heads at Warner, who aseptically decided to drop her. “I literally could tell the second they looked at me; they just didn’t get it. I could just see the vacancy in their eyes. They were like, ‘Yeah… um, that’s great. But we’re going to move on.’” She recalled the experience that almost ended her career to Forbes. “It was really at that moment I said to myself. ‘All right. Well, it might be time to hang it up.’”
Ironically, that was the inflection point where her career finally got traction. Now signed by boutique label Vagrant, —home of acts like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and PJ Harvey— she launched in 2016 Lost on You, an album that included critical hits like ‘Muddy Waters’ and ‘Other People’.
“Physically a cross between John Cooper Clarke and Patti Smith, vocally a blend of Gwen Stefani and Cyndi Lauper, Laura “LP” Pergolizzi alchemizes that patchwork into something not currently available elsewhere.” The Guardian wrote about her at the time.
But for Laura Pergolizzi, the best was yet to come. After a slow release, her second album with Vagrant/BMG titled Heart to Mouth —launched in December 2018— managed throughout 2019 to sneak into industry charts landing the number 2 position in Billboard’s US Heatseekers Albums, hitting a spot in the top 100 in ten countries and earning a Gold certification in Poland. That success sparked an interest in her back catalogue, prompting a handful of her previous songs to pop up on lists all over the world.
Today LP is recognized as one of the most unique performers in the universe of pop. She uses her distinctive high-pitched vibrato, capable of almost operatic explosions, to paint soundscapes that traverse from blues to sparkling foot-tapping club bangers. At times you can find in her music hints of The Rolling Stones, Jeff Buckley, or Roy Orbison, laying under a clean, luscious production that curiously enough, never feels cynical or manipulative. Even if some of her songs sound like expertly crafted hits, her music is always organic and personal. LP’s stylized vocal breaks and her thoughtful, intimate songwriting places her closer to an auteur like Carol King than a pop monster like Dua Lipa.
The multi-platinum artist now has more than 2 billion streams to her name, receiving on her YouTube channel upwards 2.4 million views per day. Her ubiquitous anthem, ‘Lost On You’ has been streamed over a billion times and has reached number one in 17 countries. Not too shabby for a musician that considered retiring just a few years ago.
“It’s a very difficult business, so you just gotta keep going. There’s no use in holding to regret and bitterness and all that stuff because it really just fucks you up in the end,” she told the Youtube channel FaceCulture in 2016.
Back in 2020, she was scheduled for a short Australian tour as part of her participation in the Byron Bay Bluesfest, but those plans were scrapped because of the pandemic. Fans will have their sweet revenge in 2023, as Bluesfest Touring has announced that LP will not only take part in the official Byron Bay Bluesfest but will have two extra shows in the country.
Music lovers will get to experience one of the dark horses of the industry on Saturday 1st of April at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, and on Sunday 2nd of April at Northcote Theatre in Melbourne. Tickets are available now.
LP 2023 Australian Tour Dates
Also appearing at Bluesfest