Lola Young

“Lola Young has the most powerful and affecting voice we’ve heard in some time…the young singer is gaining ground fast.” - Dummy


22-year-old Lola Young has one of those voices. You know, the ones that are impossible to ignore: made for smoky dark clubs as much as hushed arenas, it’s got a depth, rawness and huskiness that reduces crowds to pin-drop silence. Where previous releases have seen Lola interrogating her life with honesty, My Mind Wanders And Sometimes Leaves Completely (out May 26th) is a new era for the young singer-songwriter. Love is a theme she’ll always tackle in her music, she says – “it’s the most relatable topic, isn't it?” – but on this project she’s fully stepped out of her comfort zone, testing her writing ability to confront new topics, while mining new depths of her creativity. On My Mind Wanders And Sometimes Leaves Completely, Lola set out with the idea that no one is two-dimensional, or perfect. Armed with that vocal that switches between soft and strong at a moment’s notice, Lola uses a folk storytelling and diaristic style to offer the listener a front seat to immersive snapshots of her life. “It’s my journey towards being a woman and figuring out who I am,” she says. “There’s a lot of references to people telling me I won’t make it [in the music industry]. It’s almost me talking to myself, addressing the difficulties you go through growing up, your insecurities.” While ballads are undoubtedly her thing, there’s a distinctly London edge to Lola’s music, bolstered by her love of old hip hop and UK rap. She’s not averse to a crossover, too: she collaborated with Arrdee on his “Who Woulda Thought” track, and has brought that inner-city edge to the new project which has “a house party feel,” she says. “Money Won’t Wake”, a track written about a “super rich kid” who spends their money in the wrong way, “crushing pills on leather seats” has a broken, head-nodding hip hop beat. With its hazy, stumbling feel and Mike Skinner-style syntax, “Stream of Consciousness” does exactly what the title suggests: it’s a direct look into Lola’s headspace. At one point, she argues with herself in her head: “This isn’t a stream of consciousness, this is more like a big fat fucking no-one asked!” To put the record together, she flew to LA, meeting producers and songwriters like Frank Ocean favourite Malay, Cass Lowe (Tinashe, Ray BLK) and Jim-E Stack (Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek). “There's videos of me being like, ‘No, do the drums like this’,” she laughs, of her hands-on approach to music-making. There was never really any question about whether Lola would become a singer. She started writing poetry and songs aged 11, before doing her first pub gig at 13. She enrolled into the prestigious Brit school and released her debut full-length, Intro, aged just 19. She comes from a musical and creative family; born in Croydon to a Jamaican-Chinese father and English mother, and raised in Beckenham, South East London, she grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and Eminem, later finding herself drawn to the likes of D’Angelo, Prince and Joni Mitchell.