INTERVIEW: Lola Aviva
23-year-old singer-songwriter Lola Aviva is a rising star with a modern take on funk, soul and blues. This emerging talent has had incredible solo performances and with her three-piece band at The Hanwell Hootie, The Bedford, The Green note Camden, The Dublin Castle and The Spice of Life Soho. These life performances and interviews have landed her on BBC Radio London's 'The Gaby Roslin Show' in 2019 and Portobello Radio.
Hot off the back of her single 'Don't Fight Me', we caught up with Lola to discuss the production process behind it, her three-piece band, favourite records of all time, gig highlights and her new single 'Wait on the Steps'.
Hi Lola, thanks for joining us here at Flex. Let’s start by talking about how you started your career as an artist - what influenced you to become a singer and songwriter?
I kind of fell into it all backwards, I’ve always been an artist and I’ve always loved and made music as my Dad writes songs and he has always inspired me. And at the core of our relationship has always been music. But I actually thought that music was just something I love and would just do for fun. And then I dated this guy when I was 17 and he and his friends would sit around trying to rap and they told me that I couldn’t rap. So I dumped him and recorded one of my first songs ‘Just you boo” which had heavy amounts of London rap in it. I wrote of a lot of spoken words after that and until then I played the ukulele but decided it wasn’t rock n' roll enough so I got my electric green PRS guitar and taught myself how to play it. Then I started to combine my lyrics with my melodies.
You’ve recently dropped your latest track ‘Don't Fight Me’ with an incredible official music video - what does this track mean to you?
This track means a lot especially as it took so long to get right. I wrote it when I started doing open mic nights in west London. It was about a previous relationship where we would fight all the time and I’d had enough of it and just wanted my very own f*** you song. And that’s where don’t fight me came from. All of my songs I see as characters and versions of myself and this song was my powerful side.
Can you walk us through the production processes behind ‘Don't Fight Me’ - how did you create it and what inspired the music video?
How much time do we have? It was a very long process as I was still trying to find the right producer so I went around the houses a lot but got there in the end. The video was made the way it was because I had no money but I knew what the visual characters should be, so my very good friend and photographer Erica Von Stein shot 100s of stills of me and my band which I then got sequenced and treated to look like Lichtenstein pop art by a very talented visual designer Christopher Madsen and then I assembled the clip myself. As I was making it I realised that I have completely been inspired by my favourite childhood show 70s Wonder Woman. The theme to that has always been my favourite tv intro and I have always wanted to be Lynda carter so I guess that where this mad idea originated from.
You also have a band that plays alongside you - how did this trio come into place?
My boys are brilliant, I met Ryan Windross the bass player around 5 years ago and he was the first ever musician I ever played my songs with, he really gave me the confidence to get on stage and enjoy my music. He has always been the pillar of my band, and through him, I met Marley Drummond who is a legendary session drummer with strong roots in ska. I also play with Alex Dixon, another very talented drummer who I have played with for around 4 years, who plays on many of my songs including the new material I’m releasing over the next few months.
We’re really enjoying the unique vibe that you both bring to your releases. What would you both say are your strongest influences in the scene right now?
Most of my influences come from past eras but some people who really influence me in todays industry have to be people like Lianne la Havas with her beautiful electric guitar jazz. Laura Marling has always inspired me with her words and art. Noname is an American rapper I love her flow and her lyrics. Lady Wray who works with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings is modern Motown and welsh singer songwriter Nia Wyn who with Paul Weller has created a modern soul sound.
What are your three favourite records of all time?
This has to be the hardest question, because my music taste is so wide and varied. I love everything from 1930 swing to drum and bass and jungle. Genres and artists are one thing but what I’m really interested in is the song. So three of my many favourite songs have to be
Amy Winehouse ‘Stronger than me’
Ian Dury ‘dance little rude boy dance’
‘I want to go back there again’ Chris Clarke
I also love Eartha Kitt singing ‘whatever Lola wants’ but that goes without saying.
You’ve performed at Queens Park Festival, Nelliefest, The Hanwell Hootie and featured on BBC Radio London's 'The Gaby Roslin Show' in 2019 - what have these performances been like and do you have any pre-stage nerves at all?
Well they are all completely different gigs, some are big live festivals and BBC radio on Gaby Roslin’s show was intimate and I was playing solo. I get a real kick out of playing in front of an audience but I do suffer from pre-show nerves over the years I have learnt to channel the adrenaline into the performance. It’s cheesy but it’s true as soon as I’m up there with my guitar the nerves disappear.
Other than being an artist, what other passions or hobbies do you both have in life?
Well yes I am an artist I studied art and photography and I create multimedia artwork mostly focused on brutalist buildings and abstract reflections. I think it all ties in to my obsession of other worlds and alternative realities. I love to read history and science books and I am fascinated with physiology personal and cultural.
What can we expect to see next from Lola Aviva? Are there any upcoming releases or collaborations you’d like to mention?
Yes, I’m very excited about my next release on the16th September, it’s called ‘Wait on the Steps’. It’s a sexy jazzy funky song and I’ve just finished shooting the video and am currently editing it. It’s going to look good! In November I’m releasing a song called ‘Green Eyes’ which is a different mood it’s more of a soul ballad with rap-like verses about another drunken ex-boyfriend! Now that I’m working with the amazing Producer Benjamin James you can expect many more of my songs to be released!
Check out Lola Aviva's single 'Don't Fight Me'
Lola Aviva's new single 'Wait on the Steps' is out now.
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