LP, known for their soaring vocals and effortless range, just released their sixth album, Churches, a cinematic project that showcases their reflective writing and serves as a cathartic release. It signifies the light at the end of the tunnel and a new era.
With a title like Churches, this album already carries a lot of weight. LP tells me, "It's kind of what I feel is religion. For me, it's the church inside of you. Whatever you hold sacred." The title track is woven with gentle guitars, putting a spotlight on the lyrics. It's easy to find fault in organized religion, but LP's lyrics are more nuanced than that. They explain, "As much as I believe in God and have respect for religious beliefs, it's just not how I see it. Organized religion cuts a lot of people out. I'm just giving my own version of it."
The title sets the tone for the project. LP has a certain way of bringing people together and giving their fans an experience that feels religious, emotional, and all-consuming. It stems from the raw honesty that is consistent throughout their work.
LP never shies away from getting personal with their writing. They said, "If I put it on a record, it's all personal. I don't feel that bad about showing my personal life. I write about my life, and it's what I'm experiencing. It's helpful to me to get it out and talk about it. I just hope it helps someone get through something."
With "Goodbye," LP releases those demons and presents goodbyes as a new beginning. It's an anthem for starting over. The lilting melody of the song reflects that attitude. They are spinning the negativity of goodbye and turning it into an anthem for starting over.
LP explains, "The things inside me that say, 'Are you really happy?' They're the things that dig at you and make you think, "Okay, maybe there's something better." That's how I've lived a lot of alternate lives. I was living in New York, and I thought was set, but I needed more and moved to LA. I would've never known this life if I stayed in New York, I wouldn't have gotten where I've gotten, and I'm very aware of that."
One theme that comes up a lot with LP is fate. "I feel lucky as fuck," they emphasize throughout our talk. The singer gained a massive following after the release of their song "Lost On You," off their 4th album, a song that almost didn't happen. They had just been dropped from their label and hit a low point, but it was a catalyst for where they are now. LP explains, "I was so lucky because had I not gotten dropped. That song never would've come out as it did, it probably would've gone to another artist, and I would've never experienced this."
Fate plays a role in their song "Angels," the light piano and choral backing give this track that ethereal vibe that the title alludes to. They say, "I don't care if you believe in angels or if you don't, but there are so many forces at work that I'm in awe. I go through life kind of like, 'I don't know what's going to happen but thank you for whatever happens.'"
That's not to say LP is the kind of artist who waits for something to strike. There's a work ethic and drive that comes with their talent. LP emphasizes, "I definitely believe in luck and timing. I think hard work and discipline and determination come into it.'
It's easy to look at that one song that changed an artist's life and think things changed overnight. LP paid their dues, writing for other artists, taking on every opportunity they could get, and giving everything a chance. Their talent was always apparent, but the work behind it makes the career.
LP explains, "When you are a painter, you don't paint 3 or 5 paintings and say, 'Yep, I'm a painter.' Then say, 'Well, that didn't work out' when something doesn't sell. It's constant work. I think songwriting is like that. We have these preconceived notions of instant stardom. You can find yourself through consistent writing and taking the song the whole way. You just don't know, so you have to be prepared."
LP is the perfect underdog story, the story of an artist with a natural talent who leveraged a stroke of luck and continued building a fanbase off an authenticity that first entranced their fans in the first place. Churches feels like an ode to that destiny, the work that paid off, and the deep religious experience of music and songwriting. When I asked LP if they could go back in time and tell their younger self that it was going to work out would they do it, they said, "It's humbling to think of what could have been, but I want my younger self to learn what they had to learn."