LP at EastWest Studios
May 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Bud Scoppa
A NEW MODEL ROCK STAR
Standing on a stage surrounded by her band in the packed tracking room of Hollywood’s EastWest Studios, LP looks like she’s just stepped out of a scene in Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan fantasia, I’m Not There, as one of the film’s multiple Dylans. A mop of Dionysian curls, a la the inscrutable figure on the cover of Blonde on Blonde, nearly hides her face, and her slender frame is encased in a snug black jacket and pants. She strums a riff on a ukulele, of all things, and launches into the opening number of her mini-set, which, like the four songs that will follow, erupts into a monumental chorus that recalls Bruce Springsteen in his mid-’70s glory days, her voice rising to hit impossibly high notes with jaw-dropping power. Even her moniker (it’s short for Laura Pergolizzi) connotes a bygone era. But if LP’s signifiers vividly evoke the past, her creative process does not.
That remarkable voice is already familiar from Citibank’s use of the “Somebody left the gate open” line from her song “Into the Wild” in a ubiquitous TV spot. But LP gets her first widespread exposure under her own moniker on April 25, when Warner Bros. Records releases the performance as the CD+DVD Into the Wild: Live From EastWest Studios. The idea for the EP came from label chairman and house producer Rob Cavallo, hoping to capture lightning in a bottle before turning his attention to the recording of her full-length album.
Cavallo and Doug McKean, the producer’s regular engineer for the past 10 years, considered several studios before choosing EastWest Studio A for its combination of roominess, excellent lighting and top-end gear. McKean recorded the performance from the other side of the glass using the control room’s 80-channel Neve 8078 running Pro Tools 10. Afterward, he prepared a Pro Tools session for the Warner Bros. in-house video crew, and staff engineer Adam Hawkins later mixed the five tracks to picture. LP, who favors Neumann and Blue Kiwi mics for studio recording, decided to go with a Shure PGX2/PG58 wireless because it allowed her to move freely around the stage. “It was a pretty flat microphone and she’s a powerhouse singer, so it sounded pretty good,” says McKean.
Like other so-called overnight sensations, LP put in years of hard work before being hailed by many as one of 2012’s most intriguing new artists. “My perspective is somewhat unique because of what I’ve gone through,” she says. The New York native was fronting an indie-rock band and playing 200 shows a year when her breakout performance at South by Southwest in 2006 led to a deal with Island Def Jam, whose then-head L.A. Reid proceeded to put the youngster through songwriting boot camp. During the next year, LP focused solely and intensively on collaborating—or “bulk writing,” as she puts it—with an assortment of pros before IDJ dropped her. She spent the next year on indie label, SoBe.
“Everything leads to something,” she explains. “Through these label deals I met a lot of writers, and I kept writing with them. Then I got a publishing deal with Primary Wave, and they were hooking me up, and so was my manager at the time. I really hustled. I wanted to make a living as a songwriter; I loved the anonymity of it.”
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