Interview by Zoë Schulz
Lula, who performs under the name LULALONG was raised and born in Barcelona, now 22 she’s been living in London for the past four years dedicating herself to her music career. She’s a singer/songwriter whose music blends indie rock music with her Spanish roots, delivering completely unique, pink-haired, punk rock, pop sensation energy. On stage she gives everything to the audience, she explains that as cheesy as it sounds “performing is one of the best feelings in the world. As a very anxious person, I’m always thinking about the future or the past, but performing live is one of the only times I feel present.” Her debut EP, Lovers I Don’t Know, came out in 2019 and she can (under more usual circumstances) be found gigging around London alongside her band members, Tosh Mihalev, Calum Lockie, Umar Ganai and Kieran Fergusson. With new music coming later this year, I sat down to talk to her about song writing, staying creative during lockdown, the inspiration behind her music and more.
Lula knew she wanted to leave Barcelona and pursue a music career as early as 17, although at the time she wasn’t exactly sure how or where she would go. Looking back, she realises moving to London was one of the easiest decisions she’s made, despite having little of a plan or job at the time. She explains she was just so sure about it, plus Spain was always only a few hours flight away when she wanted to see her family. Of course, the past 12 months have changed that as she shares “it’s been so hard to be away from my loved ones this year, especially my family. I took for granted how easy it was for me to go back to Barcelona whenever I wanted.”
From cancelled festivals to the closure of venues, musicians across the world have been some of the most affected by the pandemic, especially independent artists such a Lula. On top of this staying creative during Covid has been a puzzle of its own for many, Lula continues to admit that this has been something she has struggled with herself, especially as an artist who draws inspiration from her life and world around her. There’s only so many songs you can write about being bored in lockdown she jokes. The personal dive into her life is perhaps, what makes her music so special, from Black Vespa to Rum and Coke, each song tells a story and with each listen you feel as though you know a little more about Lula herself.
This personal element is especially prominent in her most recent song Goddess which is sprinkled with sentiments from queer dating and love. Drawing on her personal experiences means that queer love is a topic that comes up across her music, as Lula explains she’s a hopeless romantic at heart so can’t help but write about her feelings and experiences with girls. However, this hasn’t always been easy to share on a public platform, “When I first started releasing music, I was scared that I would miss out on a bigger audience because they wouldn’t relate to a queer narrative, but then realised that I’ve been fed heterosexual narratives my whole life and that didn’t stop me from relating to it. I’ve found that the reaction was the opposite, being open and vulnerable made me more relatable to my audience, we connected more, regardless of anyone’s identity.” There is a level of rawness to Lula’s music that comes across when she performs, that she is completely honest with who she is, and this in part, is what draws her audience in, unable to look away.
Despite wanting to be completely herself when creating and performing, she is also wary of being pigeonholed as a “queer artist”, instead of being able to exist as simply an artist. She continues to explain that although she is so happy to see LGBTQ+ representation growing across the industry, it can be frustrating to see these artists pinned under labels of their sexuality and gender identity, often this coming above their work as musicians. She is hopeful though, that as representation increases that we will see a shift with this, “although I love being queer and to be recognised as a queer artist, I look forward to the day where someone’s identity or sexuality is not the main trait they have as an artist.”
Although it’s been a hard year, this hasn’t stopped Lula from creating. She describes her creative process as messy, constantly writing ideas and thoughts down for her to come back to later. She’s currently busy writing new songs, which we can look forward to listening to soon. On top of this she can’t wait to jump back on stage as soon as is possible, promising once she does it will be the wildest gig her and her band have ever played. Looking forward, she’s optimistic sharing that she is “hopeful for more time in person with my loved ones, and for live music to come back. I can’t wait to be on stage again, and I can’t wait to attend gigs (and parties!).” Whatever it is Lula does next, if it gives even half as much as she usually does on stage, we know we’ll be there.
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