Born in Germany, raven black-haired singer Lola Blanc will soon be releasing her debut EP - which she says will be filled with "quirky urban pop" songs.
The writer of Britney Spears' "Ooh La La" smash it has quite a story. She was born in the south German city of Augsburg to a CIA worker father and a puppeteer mother. After moving to the U.S at age "four months", she grew up between Virginia and Michigan. In her teen days, she earned money from being a ventriloquist and an auctioneer until she found the "music" calling. She realized she had the innate talent of writing songs - good songs actually!. At one point in her life, she make the scary decision to move to L.A to pursue her dreams. There, she scored roles in a few music videos, and got the attention of a pair of top producers; Ammo and Dr. Luke. They heard her demo of a song called "Ooh La La" which they thought was perfect for Britney. Although it was originally intended for her, Lola Blanc made the intelligent decision to give Britney the song. Smurf 2's "Ooh La La" was a pop hit and that success opened Lola a few doors. She was almost signed by a major label, but she prefers to stay unsigned until she perfects her sound and style. Last year, she dropped her debut single "Bad Tattoo".
Directlyrics.com recently caught up with Ms. Lola Blanc. We discussed about her origins, her move to L.A, appearing in a LMFAO music video, writing "Ooh La La", and her upcoming debut EP. Lola's a very interesting and talented lady! Get to know her!
1. Hi Ms. Lola Blanc! Thanks for giving us some of your time for this interview. Tell us, where are you answering this Q&A from and what's your day been like?
Hi! I’m on my couch! I’ve spent my day finishing lyrics on a song I’m excited about, emailing a whole bunch and setting up new writing sessions. Lots of new music in the works.
2. How exactly did you come up with your stage name of Lola Blanc?
Lola first came from the book Lolita, which I loved as a teenager. I was always attracted to older men, and there was something about the inappropriateness of that association that felt appropriate. And the song Whatever Lola Wants, too - it embodied this spirit of sexuality and confidence that I loved. Blanc was just me way of pretending to be French, though. I have French-Canadian ancestors, does that count?
3. You were born in Germany, your mother was a beauty queen/puppeteer and your father worked at the CIA. You sure had an unconventional childhood, huh? How long did you live in Germany? And where exactly?
I was only there until I was like four months old, and then my family moved to Virginia, and then Michigan, and on from there! I was born in Augsburg, in Bavaria.
4. Do you have any cool German souvenir at your home, and do you remember/or have your parents told you any memorable anecdotes from your time there?
My dad actually traveled so much when I was growing up that he made a tradition of buying me a new doll from every country he went to, including Germany. I was still a baby when we left, but we lived in a little village and my parents would take casual drives through the countryside to look at abandoned castles. Pretty sad I missed that.
5. With your father working at the CIA, did you ever ask him about his job? We’re very interested, ha.
It’s still sort of vague in my mind. I think it had something to do with the Soviet Union. He was only there for a few years after his time in the army though!
6. After Europe, you and your family moved back to the U.S to Michigan. Was it in Michigan where you discovered you had the talent of singing?
It was! I don’t know how talented of a singer I was at that age, but that’s where I realized I loved it and wanted to do it forever.
7. While you worked as both a ventriloquist and an auctioneer, you pursued your passion for music by writing songs. What inspired you at that time? And, what kind of music did you listen to then?
I was super young at the time, like 9, so I listened to whatever was on the radio. We were very much a top 40 and new country household, so the music that got me excited was pop - Hanson, the Spice Girls, Shania Twain. And Robyn, I loved Robyn! It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I discovered rock, and punk, and then indie, and then jazz, and the things that would come to influence me later.
8. You then moved to Los Angeles to make that dream of yours of being a recording artist come true. How were the first days away from home like? And, was it easy making industry connections in the City of Angels?
I had friends in LA already, since I’d spent some time here, so that made the transition easy socially. But I know there are people who move here and make connections right away - I was not one of those people. I’d meet someone here and there, but it took me six years or so to get into the inner circles of the music business. To start working with legitimate producers. It was not a piece of cake for me. But I learned a lot!
9. One of the first things you managed to do in L.A was to land roles in a few high-profile music videos. For instance, in Interpol's "Lights" or LMFAO’s “Sexy and You Know It”. How did you do it? Did you chat with them at all? And do you recall any fun anecdotes from the shoots?
I just submitted myself to castings and auditioned for the videos! I got to meet the LMFAO guys. On the music video for Lights, my hair and makeup took so long and was so meticulous, especially after my arms were painted black, that I was not allowed to touch anything. So when I got an itch in my nose someone from the styling team q-tipped my nose for me. It was very sweet.
10. Then you began working as a songwriter, writing with whoever you could. Your hard work paid off last summer when Britney Spears released a song – which you wrote - called "Ooh La La" for the soundtrack of "The Smurfs 2". Tell us, how did Britney get your song?
The song was originally for me! It was very different in the beginning - I think you can hear my demo online somewhere now. It’s definitely more risqué. But Ammo, the original producer, played it for Dr. Luke, who was working with Britney at the time, and he thought it’d be perfect for her to sing as the theme song, if it was just tweaked to be more family-appropriate. So she recorded it!
11. When it was fully decided that Britney would record and release your song as an official single for the movie soundtrack, what went through your head? How did it feel to suddenly see your name in the writer credits of a Britney Spears song?
I was mainly excited because it meant people had to take me seriously now! I was no longer just another artist - I was a real songwriter with a real Britney cut. That was the best part.
12. A few months after "Ooh La La", you properly launched your music career. You released your debut single “Bad Tattoo” in November alongside the music video. What’s the story behind “Bad Tattoo”? (from the time you recorded it to what inspired the lyrics).
Bad Tattoo is basically about dating someone who’s a little nerdy and a little embarrassing. At first we were going to write the lyrics along the lines of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” about a guy who’s very narcissistic, but it didn’t ring true for me, so we switched it up. And at the time everyone on the radio was still doing dance music that all sounded the same, so I was excited to write something that felt more like me.
13. How would you describe Lola Blanc’s sound?
Well it’s evolving a lot with this EP, but it’s shaping up to be quirky urban pop. (With a cherry on top.) It’s going to reflect my unusual upbringing and my love for early 2000s hip hop a lot more than my previous releases.
14. How many songs do you think you’ve written to date?
Oh, I don’t even know! Hundreds.
15. You will be releasing your debut EP very soon. What can music fans expected from that EP? (from # of songs, producers to the music) and, when is it out?
It’s probably going to be 5 songs. I’m working on tracks with PJ Bianco, Owwwls, 10,000 Islands, Jon Levine, and a couple other awesome guys, and trying to pick the best of the best. Right now it’s looking like a release in the beginning of 2015!
17. I believe you’re currently unsigned. Has any major label approached you yet? I’m sure that after the Britney song a few doors must’ve opened for you!
I am unsigned! I’ve previously had a deal on the table with Epic, and at some point I’m going to get back on the major label train, but for the moment I’m happy to release music myself without needing to convince my label to make me a priority. I’ll do it when it’s right.
18. What are Lola Blanc’s Top 5 songs of the moment?
I’m loving Weekend by Priory, Funknroll by Prince, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz… and I’ve rediscovered my love for Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.
19. Who would be your dream collaboration? And how do you imagine your first original duet to sound like?
My dream collaboration at the moment is Childish Gambino. I’m so into him. It’s going to happen.
20. You currently sport a very black hair (‘raven black’ says your biography). Is that your natural hair? And, do you imagine yourself having another hair colour in your career?
My natural hair color is a poopy brown, but I’ve been dyeing my hair black for years. I could see myself trying red out again someday. Or maybe one day I’ll go to the dark side and go platinum blonde, but it won’t be any time soon!
21. Thank you for your time Lola! Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@directlyrics). Is there any last thing you’d like to share with our readers?
Hold on to your butts!
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