Lesbian singer LP was called an “overnight sensation” after her song “Muddy Waters” was featured on Orange Is the New Black. But what some might not realize is that she’s been making music for years. Her 2014 album Forever for Now was streamed 10 million times on Spotify and she’s cowritten hits for stars like Rihanna (2010’s “Cheers (Drink to That)”) and Christina Aguilera (“Beautiful People”). Today she’s topping charts all over Europe with her new album, Lost on You — which includes five new songs as well as last year’s EP Death Valley — and telling us about the state of the world.
The Advocate: Your album title track, “Lost on You,” is a number 1 hit in Europe, and went gold and platinum in Italy and Poland.
LP: Even more countries than that. It’s showing me that — especially in a time when we’re like, God, I didn’t think that the world is as prejudiced as it is, and it is — there’s also, from my reality and point of view, surprisingly a lot of acceptance too. I’m doing well in Russia!
Why do you think you’re resonating there?
I like to say, “People have fucking ears!” But I honestly don’t know. I think that people relate on matters of the heart. I’m a very emotional singer and songwriter. I don’t apologize for who the fuck I am, and I really don’t want anybody else to apologize for who the fuck they are. I’m very accepting of how people live their lives. And I think people can be like, Oh, shit, she understands. Because, I do.
Do you think songwriters should get more credit?
You can’t walk into an art gallery and take a painting off the fucking wall. So the fact that you can do that with music is a little unsettling.
In your music videos you show women with other women —
I’ve been asked, “So, LP, you’re very out there, you’re kissing women in your videos and it’s very sexual.” And I’m like, “Dude, there are people literally simulating intercourse in videos. I just like kissed my girlfriend on the cheek. If I were a guy or she were a guy it would be the most PG- or G-rated thing of all time!”
Has being out in the music industry gotten easier?
I don’t shy away from using pronouns in my songs. If it offends somebody to hear “she” or “her” come out of a woman’s voice in a romantic [way], I don’t give a fuck. I don’t ever think about myself as some kind of — where my sexuality is — I only think of it from a human standpoint of love. And I don’t think there is any difference between romantic relationships of any kind.
That’s kind of proof that we have come far, right? That you don’t have to?
I’m lucky so far. I’ve grown up in a country where you don’t get acid thrown at you or your fucking nose cut off because you didn’t act accordingly. That shit still goes on. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to dandelion myself out of the fucking crack in the sidewalk.
What does Pride mean to you?
Dignity, respect, and just basically your God-given right to live with freedom. Not having to look over your shoulder. But also, it has a certain history to it. I’m always thankful to all the radical motherfuckers that came before who put their asses on the line. I think Pride, it means ultimately, finally, being able to live with freedom in some ways. Or at least that’s what we’re striving for. We’re still in this backwards shit. We’re not out of the woods yet. That’s the only upside of this thing. They are still out there. If you didn’t know, now you know.
Is your song “Other People” about sex work?
No. It’s about open relationships. And trials and travails of that. I was in this five- or six-year relationship and she wanted to make it open. It was kind of like, “Hey, you wanted to do this. And you didn’t expect me to possibly fall in love with someone else? But that’s exactly what I did. You practically drove me to her house naked!”