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article imageInterview: One to watch, Lo Brite, on her dazzling debut EP Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 1, 2015 in Music
After making music solely for her own enjoyment for a number of years, the indie pop starlet has at last decided to share her talent with the world. She revealed more to Digital Journal.
Raised up on gospel music (her father was a pastor) and a fan of artists like Michael Jackson, Nina Simone and Carole King since childhood, this soulful, Indiana-born 30-something put out her self-titled EP on September 25, receiving almost instant acclaim.
The four songs on it are very different from each other, incorporating a number of musical influences and displaying a clear gift for songwriting (Lo penned them all by herself). Speaking to me from her home in Los Angeles, the singer/songwriter/actor filled me in on the recording process.
"It took about three months to record," she recalls "and before working with a full live band, it was just me and a piano. So when I went in to record, there were a lot of things that hadn't been figured out, in terms of the arrangements and how I wanted things to sound.
"It's very different, of course, to me playing live by myself. I sat with it for a while before I had it mixed two months after I'd finished recording. I've been writing for a long time - about seven years now - so getting the EP done was a huge thing."
Ever since she can remember, Lo (short for Lois) has always been a piano player and a vocalist, and also played clarinet in the school marching band. I put a question to her about whether her adopted state of California had much of an impact, culturally speaking, on the making of the EP.
"I would say yeah," comes the reply. "I was actually thinking the other day about 'Sunset,' the first song... The place where I first started writing was a little cottage in the hills and I was looking at this gorgeous sunset every single day, so was like, 'Of course I wrote a song with that title!'
"Definitely it's inspired by California, but a lot of it's really rooted in some serious stuff, some loss and letting go of the past - it's a mixed bag."
Commenting on the warm reaction to her shiny debut, the former resident of Chicago (she lived in the Windy City for a time before moving to California), muses, "I know that it's completely honest and it comes from a genuine place, an authentic place...
"When I would share my music just with friends, or with friends of friends, I always felt that the people who were listening were very moved by it. It affected them, so that was part of the reason why I wanted to finally record it and share it on a broad level."
Impressively for a first-timer, Lo was able to secure the services of one or two well-known industry figures to assist in bringing her ideas to life. Tim V. Hutton produced (the EP was also recorded at his Laurel Canyon studio the Canyon Hut), while Jim Scott, who has worked with the likes of Wilco, Tom Petty, Ryan Bingham and Johnny Cash, was put in charge of mixing.
I wondered whether any of the four songs are slated to appear on a forthcoming album, or will that consist of entirely new material?
"It'll be all new... There's plans already to record the full-length. I'm going to record it with Jim Scott at his studio in California and I think we're probably gonna do eight to 10 songs. I'm doing the pre-work for that right now and when I play live, I'm gonna be playing some of the songs that will be on it."
The EP Cover
The EP Cover
Mike Gowen
Some of you might be curious to learn where Lois Mathilda Atkins got her stage name. I was too so I asked her. "When I first started thinking about that, I was like, 'Do I use Lois? Do I use my full name, do I use just Lois?' and all my intimate friends and family call me 'Lo.'
"That's actually my name. The 'Lo Brite' came from the overall feel of my music. It's super happy pop music, but there's a darkness to it and I think on the full-length album we'll get a really strong sense of that."
Lo Brite is out now.
For more information, visit the artist's official website.
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