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LP interview: ‘There’s nothing like the big f*** you of staying yourself and still getting it’

Exclusive: "These terrible stories could have defined my whole f***ing life, but we move past it," reflects LP of their dramatic experience of the music industry, ahead of release of their new album Love Lines

By Tom Stitchbury

Two shots from LP's new album artwork set, including the album cover
"I am gay, queer - all the things" says LP (Images: Ryan Jay)

Hanging out with Laura Pergolizzi, aka LP, is a hoot. A natural storyteller armed with anecdotes, the singer-songwriter has a mischievous glint in their eye as they spill the beans about an absolute corker of an awkward showbiz encounter, the time they risked getting on the wrong side of rock royalty after accidentally pinching a bottle of pricey plonk belonging to Pink Floyd.

“I was sitting with Bill Monahan, who wrote [the film] The Departed… he takes this bottle of wine, pours us off, and we’re drinking it, continuing our conversation,” LP recalls, with a shake of their messy mop of curls. “Bill’s like, ‘Yo, can we get another bottle of this?’ And the waiter just blanched. The manager came over and said we were drinking Floyd’s wine… a f***ing probably $3k to $5k bottle of wine, and we’re like ‘Sorry…’ It was very good!” – Cheers (Drinks to That), to quote the smash song LP co-wrote for Rihanna way back when in 2010.

The scene of the crime was A-list hotspot Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, where LP had been staying for a bit. It beats a Travelodge, that’s for sure. “I was living there before and after I moved into my new house for a month and a half, and then [another] month because I had a little stalker problem, a little scary neighbour stuff,” they explain, rather nonchalantly, before adding: “It is resolved [now].” Phew.

LP: “There’s nothing like the big f*** you of staying yourself and still getting it” (Images: Ryan Jay)

There is never a dull moment when chatting to the 42-year-old American-Italian, who uses gender-neutral they/them pronouns. We first meet for dinner at a trendy Thai restaurant in central London, before reuniting over Zoom a few weeks later, minus, sadly, the good grub. They’re currently in Mykonos, Greece, preparing for the release of their sixth album Love Lines in September, another impressive marker in a music career that wasn’t always guaranteed to, well, cross the line.

LP – whose also penned tunes for Cher, Celine Dion, and Christina Aguilera – has experienced their fair share of turbulence in the industry and been “smacked down mid-flight” on multiple occasions. Memorably, they were dumped by former label Warner Brothers Records after playing them their howling heartbreak hit ‘Lost on You’, which went on to garner over one billion streams and top the charts in 18 countries. That sound you hear is the last laugh.

“One of the great accomplishments for myself that I’m more proud of, or as proud of as the music, is that I got through intact,” they say. “I owed Warner Brothers $1.6million, I played them my biggest song that’s made me – it’s done well for me – and they dropped me, and I didn’t owe that money. I was like, ‘Thank you for buying me my French house.’”

“These terrible stories could have defined my whole f***ing life, but we move past it” (Images: Ryan Jay)

LP continued: “I tell the story because I want people to not get down. It’s not as much to blow myself up, it’s to go, ‘Hey, hi, I’ve been there.’ These terrible stories could have defined my whole f***ing life, but we move past it. I kept doing the thing, because these people will try – you know, some f***ing straight guy behind a desk goes, ‘Yeah, I don’t get it.’ It’s like… ‘You’re telling me that you don’t get my appeal, oh, that’s rich, I’m really shocked at you, go f*** yourself.’ A million people make you feel bad about yourself, but it’s doable – there’s nothing like the big f*** you of staying yourself and still getting it.”

Their latest record, the follow-up to 2021’s Churches, was made as LP explored unfamiliar territory: singledom. “I was just about to embark on the first time I’d been pretty much single in my adult life, just not committed to anybody. I was coming out of a relationship, I was still in love with her… [and] I was falling in love with this other woman,” they share. “It’s called Love Lines [because] I think I’m capable of several different storylines going on at the same time if you catch my drift. Some call it polyamory, I don’t f***ing know!”

Do LP’s exes feel it is a badge of honour to have had ditties written about them? “I’m like, ‘Nobody writes songs about me, motherf***er, who’s writing songs about me? Also, how about a f***ing hit song?!’” they exclaim. “It’s some f***ing muse s***. I don’t know, man, it’s a thankless job being obsessed with a woman… I hope they see it as, it f***ing meant something to me.”

Given we’re in the thick of crop top season – sorry – Pride season, I wonder what Pride means to LP, who seems so utterly at ease in their tattoo-sprinkled skin. “People who say, ‘How do you celebrate gay Pride?’ I usually wake up, look to my left or my right, there’s some beautiful woman there, and I go, ‘Yay, I’m proud to be f***ing gay,’” they reply, with a grin.

“This might seem like a copout to some people – and maybe it is – but I just feel so entrenched in the fact that, you know, I am gay, queer, all the things, that I don’t even need to talk about it. Like, I’m on to the next s***, you know what I mean? I believe in Pride and people need to celebrate it. It’s a holiday people need to celebrate. But I don’t really need to celebrate Christmas, every day is Christmas. I don’t need one day. One day isn’t enough. My way of celebrating is just consistency. This is my life always.”

Life is certainly looking good for LP. When I ask them how they like to unwind, LP swings their laptop around to settle on a possible significant other, sat smiling on a couch. “This,” they exclaim, laughing. Perhaps they’re not so single anymore…   

LP’s album Love Lines is out September 29