The Wonderful World of LULALONG Band

Interview with upcoming artist Lula of the unsigned band Lulalong gives an enticing insight into her music, her background and her values.

Lulalong is a London based artist, originally from Barcelona, Catalonia. Known for her signature pink hair and catchy melodies. She has her favourite song of all time ‘How soon is now’ by the Smith’s tattooed on her arm.When she was 18 she bought a one way ticket to London and never looked back. Her music career began from a very young age. She started by playing piano at 4 years old which intrigued her to study classical music until the age of 15. Her teenage years introduced her to music that steered her away from the classical composition that she was used to. Like many of us 90’s babies with an inner rebel ready to come out, she spent her days listening to strong female artists like Avril Lavigne and Blondie. She says “I decided Classical music wasn’t for me, I didn’t want to sit down peacefully, I wanted to play rock and jump around a stage like there was no tomorrow”. This led her to start performing live gigs in the bustling city of Barcelona by the time she was 16.

Lulalong is an active member of the LGBT community identifying herself as queer. A lot of her music is written about women “I want my listeners to be comfortable with who they are and their sexuality”. According the Human Dignity Trust there are still many countries across the world that criminalise same sex couples. The map shows that there are 72 jurisdictions that criminalise male same sex couples, 44 jurisdictions of female same sex couples and 11 jurisdictions that have the death penalty. I think by having bands like Lulalong, who aren’t afraid to release songs on being LGBT, is admirable. It works towards building a world without hate and normalising love for all. Being a part of LGBT community myself I have seen first hand what inbuilt homophobia can do to a person. Quite frankly, life is too short to not embrace who you are. The more love we spread, the better the world will be.

I feel that in this day and age, portraying strong female musicians is vital. The music industry lacks female representation still. Especially the type that go against the norms of society. So many female mainstream artists are confined to a box. Having to dress a certain way, sing a certain way and go against their own values and beliefs in order to achieve success. Therefore, we need to take it upon ourselves to widen this box and give credit to artists that excel at rebelling against the tide of normality.

Lula gives an in-depth answer to her worries and challenges in the music industry as a woman. “I hate how women are seen as too old from a very very young age in the music world. The biggest female pop stars all started from an insanely young age. Only a few start a career when they’re older because the music industry doesn’t see it as commercially viable, whereas when it comes to men, age doesn’t matter that much. I’m only twenty-two years old and already feel like I’m getting too old to be an upcoming musician, which is heartbreaking because it shouldn’t be like that. The only way to overcome this is saying ‘F#!k it!’ and go for it anyway, not caring about the music industry standards. Although it is getting better, women are still seen as a pretty face who don’t know about the music business including behind-the-scenes (producing, engineering, etc). The amount of times I get to a venue and the sound engineer talks to my bandmates (who are men) instead of me is hilarious; the same with contracts and deals. They try and explain everything in a very simple way so I can understand it. I overcome this by politely confronting them, making them aware I understand the music jargon and how the industry works.”

Lula writes all of her own songs, and makes sure to write any little idea that pops into her head down, whether it’s on her phone, an audio recording or a restaurant napkin. Her creative process includes taking these ideas and jamming with the rest of the band to find a badass arrangement. The other members of the band include guitarists Umar Ganai and Calum Lockie. As well as the bassist Kieran Fergusson and drummer Tosh Mihalev.

I asked Lula which are her favourite songs that she’s released so far, she said “I feel a strong connection to all my songs, since they all come from real life experiences. As much as I love to play Goddess live, I think my favourite one is Black Vespa. It’s one of my most personal songs, the lyrics tell the story of someone I dated and it went wrong. The bridge of the song features that girl’s voice. FUN FACT! After releasing the song I sent it to that girl, and she is now my girlfriend! Winning! What a love story.

One of my favourite Lulalong songs that have released so far includes ‘Goddess’ and ‘Your side of the bed’ which you can follow on her Spotify. The lyrics to Goddess are saucy, provocative and captivating. The guitar solo, rocky vocals and lyrics have made it one of my top favourites on my Ladymusicbiz101 introducing playlist. Check it out.

Her musical influences growing up were very vast. “I listened to loads of different music growing up. From Catalan pop like the band Manel, the famous Avril Lavigne (especially her album ‘The Best Damn Thing’), my dad’s rock influences like The Chameleons. I remember going on road trips with my family singing the words to Manu Chao’s album ‘Proxima estacion: esperanza’ to the top of our lungs. As you can see, I had influences from loads of different genres, cultures, languages and eras; and I think this shows in my music, I do rock music but you can easily hear those influences.”

You can hear these cultural music influences in her song ‘I made Mona Lisa smile’, where she sings in Spanish. I lived in Barcelona for a short while, and it’s amongst one of my favourite cities. The lifestyle is chilled, the parties are insane and the alcoholic beverages are mostly alcohol mixed with a tiny amount of soda. There has been an ongoing movement in Barcelona to try to gain independence from Spain to become the country of Catalonia. The first Catalan Independence party was formed back in 1922, but the unrest dates back to the mid 19th century. If you ask a local whether they are Spanish, their instant reaction is no. I love Spanish music, the language itself is sexy and mysterious. . It always adds 10 points for me when an artist can switch languages. It also boosts Lulalong’s appeal to a wider market.

Go check out her EP Lover’s I don’t love and engross yourself in her music. Give her a follow on her social media accounts (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to keep up to date with her new projects and releases planned for the future. Also check out her merchandise shop and help support artists through this pandemic. Because we sure as hell know that Boris isn’t.

Oz the new Alternative-Pop Music Sensation

Born and bred in Croydon, South East London, this singer/songwriter gives alternative-pop music a new name. I just can’t stop playing her music on repeat, and I bet you will too.

Photo Credits: Natalie Sakstrup.

I am constantly on the prowl to discover new music that is actually worth listening to. I first stumbled across Oz’s music a couple months back whilst slumming it in my pj’s and munching on my local shop’s finest 65p bag of popcorn. As I recall, it was like the music heaven’s had opened and shone down a rainbow of delight to my ears. Her voice is unique and identifiable, her melodies are edgy-pop with hints of badass rock elements. Her image is very femme fatale, the type of girl my mum warned me about. Who doesn’t like that?

Check out her latest release Jupiter here.

To gain a better understanding of the wonderful world of Oz, I managed to ask her a few questions. Currently based in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, this 20 something year old artist spends her days writing music for some pretty big names and her nights focusing on writing her own. She has written for the likes of Ella Hendersen, Gabrielle Aplin, Sam Feldt, Sody to name a few. Her talents are not only limited to singing and writing lyrics. In her own words she said “I play guitar, bad piano and even worse clarinet”. This made me chuckle. I play bad guitar, bad piano and a great triangle, we clearly have a winner here.

Her music inspiration came from her Fathers’ love of music, which over time influenced her to go down this path herself. When asked about her music taste in her younger days she said: I have a very eclectic music taste. I grew up listening to all kinds of music. Nothing was ever genre specific, so I think just having that freedom in my music taste has allowed me to be more experimental perhaps and that is a huge part of the music I make.

One thing that I can’t wait for after this pandemic passes, is to go to a live gig again. I miss the crowds of people joining together over their mutual love of music. The incredibly loud sound systems, leaving my ears ringing after exiting the venue. I miss the group adrenaline rush and excitement kicking in as soon as the artists step on stage. The act of being just a few meters away from the person that you have been listening to through your phone for months. Something you would never think you took for granted, until 2020 happened.

It’s not only me who misses it, when asked what Oz enjoyed most about performing live she responded with There’s an energy you can only get when playing live to an audience. When there are people staring up at you singing your lyrics and you’re all having the time of your life. It’s a feeling that can’t be recreated in any other place. That’s what makes it so magical.”

I hope to be able to see Oz live once venues start opening up again. One of my favourite songs that I can’t wait to be performed is Foot Down. It starts off slow and simple, then at 40 seconds in, the drums kick in and this powerhouse voice starts belting the chorus. There I am in lockdown, head banging at my reflection in the mirror singing ‘So foot down, cutting no slack, nothings gonna hold my big time back’. Have you got one of those songs? A song that just fills you with power? Yeah, this one is my current one.

Photo Credits: Natalie Sakstrup.

Being new to the music scene myself, my research has led me to constantly hear about the challenges that women are facing within the industry. It’s the problems that female management and female artists are encountering. Is it the lack of female representation? Or the common stereotyping and sexualization of women that holds talented women back in this industry? Is it that women that are significantly underpaid compared with their male counterparts? This topic is an article in itself, but I was interested to know the challenges that Oz has faced and how she was able to overcome them. Her comment on the topic was:

“There are almost too many to pick from. I think it’s the stereotype that people feel. Because you are a woman, you must always be thin, pretty and well dressed before being recognised for your talent, intellect and boldness. So instead, I just started doing what I wanted and felt good in myself, so when others had an opinion on me it didn’t bother me. That’s something that is quite specific to female artists.”

I think it’s so important to have female artists within the industry doing what they love and powering on through even if it goes against the flow of the archaic values of this industry. We need more of you Oz.

Being an aspiring A&R manager myself, I was interested to know what Oz would change about the music industry. She said I think it’s such an ever changing beast, I wouldn’t even bother choosing something as it would be different in a year anyway ! Haha. I think more A&Rs should take risks. The public is bored of your choices. Do something different!” I think this is common amongst many professional musicians whose wings have been clipped. Now I have my first task as soon as I graduate; to shake sh#t up!

Photo Credits: Natalie Sakstrup.

Oz has been ploughing on through the pandemic, working her magic in her home studio setup with the company of her rescue dog, Otto. Spending her down time chilling, watching movies, eating, missing friends and family. Similar to the rest of the world right now. If she could choose any other artist/band that she could collaborate with at this present time it would be Foo Fighters as she has the utmost respect for Dave Grohl’s inspiring creativity and talent. It’s an obvious answer but he’s a legend so why not, haha.” Obvious it may be, but Foo Fighters were the holy grail of my teenage years, so I get it.

I think one of the best questions you can ever ask anyone, is their favourite all time song. Not that you should ever judge anyone on this. I know my favourite song of all time 6 years ago is very different to what it is now. But you can definitely depict the type of person one is based on their answer. She said Favourite song of all time. That is so hard because there’s so many. My favourite song of all time today would be Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley.” Having only been introduced to that song today, I’d say that Oz is a pretty cool lady. Would probably put my favourite song of all time ‘A little respect by Erasure’ to shame. But hey, it’s a classic, and I love a bit of cheese.

Finally, what are we to expect from Oz in the future? She is currently finishing up her second EP, you can listen to her first EP ‘Jupiter’ here. You can find her on multiple platforms including Spotify, Apple, Deezer, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I asked her what is the one thing that you want your fans to take from your music? She replied “Be bold, be honest and be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you no!” I hear you sister. Can’t wait for the new EP, she also mentioned there are going to be little surprises and extras to come. So make sure to go and follow her to get all the latest!

Peace out!

Top 5 ways unsigned bands and artists can create a following in 2021

Photo by Edward Eyer on Pexels.com

There is a common myth within the music industry that you need a management team in order to get your music out there. This is far from the truth. In this digital era artists have so many platforms at their disposal that they can work with to maximise their fanbase. You could have strangers singing away at your songs in no time. As long as they are good of course.

  1. CREATE YOUR BRAND

You’ve seen it done by (the most dreaded word) influencers, you’ve seen it done by your favourite musicians, you’ve seen it done by Jojo Siwa. Without a solid brand and understanding who you are, well simply…you are no-one.

What do I mean by build your brand? Well… Who are you? What do you stand for? What represents who you are? What makes you memorable from the other 7 billion people on this planet?

According the founder of Spotify Daniel Ek approximately 40,000 songs are uploaded onto the platform every day. There is so much competition and talent now available at your fingertips. You MUST do something to stand out.

  • Create your logo – Keep it simple, Keep it clear, Keep it precise. This will help fans identify you. The imagery has to represent who you are. Don’t have a unicorn logo if you hate unicorns. Look into colour meanings and the feelings it conjures. Heavy metal band with a calm baby blue or mild green colours attract harmony and tranquility. Which from my experience their is too much head-banging involved for those sorts of colours. Lastly on this point, make sure to be consistent across all online platforms; keep it the same.
  • Create a music brand strategy – I say music brand strategy because a corporate brand strategy shouldn’t be used for your heart wrenching songs. Create posts of what you’re working on, write a blog of your projects, promote your gigs, do some live streaming with fans, recreate your songs with household objects like Nina Nesbitt on TikTok.
  • Collaborate! – Have you met some other musicians along your journey that you liked the sound of? Do they fit your music genre and image? I don’t mean messaging Beyonce on instagram. I mean other small an upcoming bands/artists. Well then, reach out and make a song together. Do a live stream of your jam session. Double the platforms, double the fanbase. This is a great way to to gain some new followers, plus its fun!

Don’t forget to be true to yourself, nobody likes a fake Jane.

2. MAKE GREAT MUSIC

You might be thinking “Uh, yeah…duhhh!” But just take a moment to think back to when you were in school and the amount of bands that were created, and where they are now? Yeah, exactly.

Make a song that stands out. There are so many songs nowadays that sound the same. I am a frequent listener of discover weekly on spotify, I listen to the first 5 seconds then skip to 1 minute in and usually I have decided within 10 seconds if I like it or if it grabs my attention. 9 times out 10 I skip it.

Make something unique, exciting and memorable. Again, who are you and what do you stand for? Portray that in your music.

Content is King!

3. LIVE GIGS

I know live gigs seem to be the thing of the past during these pandemic apocalyptic times, but when we do manage to peak out the window and don’t see Covid-19 winking back at us; book some gigs. You don’t need a booking agent for this either.

In the beginning, play at your local pub, school fair, small live music venues, your brothers birthday or your grandad’s wedding anniversary. Anyone that you can convince to give you even the slightest chance to play, take it. The chances are, there are going to be people there that you have never seen you before, people that can actually like your music, people that can build your fanbase.

Make sure to put on an impressive show, there is nothing worse when an artist has no stage presence or they are too shy to move. Your body language and your energy are contagious. If you’re boring, the audience will be too.

Once you get comfortable with playing and performing live, look into switching up the areas you play in. Play in neighbouring towns, or in a completely new county. Switching up venues and locations attracts different types of people who might be interested in your music.

Oh and don’t forget to introduce yourself at the gigs. The amount of times I’ve been to gigs where opening acts have been such a great vibe and then they don’t say who they are or where we can find their music is shocking. It’s like thanks for teasing us, now bye, see you never.

4. MONTHLY FAN CLUB – PATREON

Patreon is an innovative platform created for artists to start to generate some income. Once your following has reached into it’s hundred’s if not thousands. You can start to offer them a monthly subscription to get monthly exclusive video’s, interviews, tracks that are only available to subscribers.

This platform can be a real life saver for new and upcoming artists because you can get decent money with the right amount of followers.

It also means that you don’t have to conform to the masses, because the people that have subscribed are already there because they like your music.

What a fantastic way to build a true meaningful connection with your audience and make some money.

5. SCHEDULING

Build yourself a schedule. There is a reason we have rota’s at work and timetables at school. Without them everything is a mess. You need to make sure that you allocate yourselves time for each of the tasks above. Whether it’s your brand strategy, or the day of the week you need to post content or that Sunday night Instagram Live you promised your fans that you would do every week. Allocate a day and a time and stick to it. Having a schedule not only simplifies and organises your mind. But it will also create loyal fans. The more you keep your promises, the more they will tune in to your content. Allocate a time for rehearsals, the more you play together the stronger the connection between the band the better the atmosphere for the audience. This is probably one of the easiest steps out of all the 5, and probably the first step to accomplishing the other 4.

So get started, make a schedule.

Peace out.

The evolution of Miley Cyrus: a look at her past and present music career

I was inspired to write this post after a recent click on Miley’s iHeartRadio festival 2020 performance, and quite frankly I was blown away. A highly successful tribute to Blondie’s 2004 ‘Heart of Glass’, Miley truly outdid herself. Her voice, singing style and image has gone from Disney pop queen to husky full time rockstar. 

Pop-Rock is my guilty pleasure without a doubt. A mild headbang, guitar solos and amazing vocals are always a winner. Wouldn’t you agree?

Miley grew up in the public eye at a very young age, having Billy Ray Cyrus as your dad does that. Her debut role was in her father’s television series Doc. She was soon sought after for many roles including being an audition finalist alongside Taylor Lautner for ‘The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl’ but she turned this down to create one of America’s most popular Disney TV shows Hannah Montana. 

Her first album was created for her TV show Hannah Montana, in which it consists of endless teen pop songs lyrically based around teen romance, girl power and the double life in which Hannah Montana led. This album remains to be the best seller of Miley’s collection with just under 5 million copies sold. 

To be honest I was never a fan during this phase of her life, my teenage years consisted of me thinking I was a middle aged drug addict blaring Eminem tracks. But without a doubt,  Miley has always had a uniquely identifiable, edgy rock worthy voice. Check out one of her earlier popular tracks ‘See you again’. A look into the past greets us with bad early 2000’s special effects, girl next door hair and boy band dance moves. A clear sign of her vocal evolution is her singing that song VS a number of years later at BBC Live lounge. The tempo has slowed, the voice has got deeper and her attitude/image is at the beginning of her rebellious revolution. 

The leap from 2012 Miley to 2013 Miley introduced us mere mortals to the highly controversial and media gasping song and video of wrecking ball. She cut off her luscious dyed blonde locks and did a Britney on our asses cutting all her hair. And Guess what? Everyone had something to say about it. This was her turning point in her career where she turned around to her huge fanbase and was like “YOU KNOW WHAT? F*%K YOU! I’ve had enough of this princess fairytale TALE that you have created, I want to be me”. 

2015 – 2017 Miley albums were the most questionable albums that she has released to date. Miley Cyrus and her dead Petz sounds like she took a hollow room and ran around banging tins whilst singing slowly. Her ‘Younger Now’ album is definitely an improvement, the songs generally portray that she was in a better headspace when she wrote these songs. Oh and Dolly Parton Features in it, who doesn’t love a bit of Dolly? 

Which brings us to today, and where my obsessive online clicking led me to; Miley’s iHeartRadio Performance. This is where my young pop-rock loving teen jumps out of my body and screams “Miley, Miley!”. I have finally become a fan. Absolutely love the 80’s style composition of her 2020 single ‘Midnight Sky’. The lyrics are catchy and dark; the music video has an elegance with its simplicity and neon colours (and lack of clothing); lastly the husky vocals, they don’t need an explanation. The only thing that’s been bought to my attention is that she may have been lip syncing according to this vocal coach. But I am willing to let this opinion slide, pretend I didn’t watch it and  finally admit I have become a Miley fan. 

Peace out! 

Who do you prefer?