Watch Lolene, check in to The Electrick Hotel in this first look at her Capitol Records debut. The brand new trailer features audio clips of “Rich (Fake it Til You Make It),” “Lionheart,” and “Ordinary Girl” from the forthcoming release. The Electrick Hotel coming this summer.
Before she had recorded a note of her debut album, Lolene had already chosen its inspired title: The Electrick Hotel. “I call it The Electrick Hotel because when you put the album on, you’re my guest. I’m going to take care of you,” says the British singer, songwriter, and performer. “You’re invited to come and stay a while in my world, which I see as like a hotel where each song is a room that captures a different part of my personality and expresses different emotions. So if you’re feeling happy, you can go to the penthouse and dance to ‘Sexy People.’ If you’re heartbroken, you can visit the first-floor and have a cry to ‘Beautiful Disaster.’”
The concept, as well as the album’s giddy, whirling electro-pop sound dovetails perfectly with Lolene’s fierce, can-do attitude and positive spirit. The first single, “Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)” is “about living your life like you’ve already made it even if you haven’t got a penny to your name,” Lolene says, while “Sexy People” (Lolene’s debut club single that reached No. 5 on the Billboard Dance chart) insists that everyone has something sexy about them, “whether it’s your little toe or a strand of hair,” she says. “I wrote these songs at a time when everyone was miserable because of the recession. I wanted to come up with something fun and colorful that made people feel good.” Lolene shows a more vulnerable side on the thoughtful break-up ballad “Beautiful Disaster,” and the Euro pop-tinged love song “Lion Heart,” which is about having a brave and fearless attitude toward love. And then there’s the Nellee Hooper-produced “Ordinary Girl,” which could be Lolene’s mission statement with the following lyrics: “I’ll never be ordinary / Weird and wonderful / Strange is beautiful / I’ll never be an ordinary girl.”
“That song is about my unusual upbringing,” says Lolene, who was raised in Bristol, England, by a single mother. “I was just not the girl who was going to have four kids and live in the countryside. So I wrote a song about how it’s all right not to be ordinary for all the people out there who feel different and unaccepted.”
Lolene’s childhood was anything but ordinary. “Probably to compensate for my not having a father, my mum kept me occupied with dancing and singing lessons,” she says. “We didn’t have a lot of money, but she worked really hard to give me opportunities, so I’m really thankful to her.” In addition to studying tap, jazz, dance, and ballet (“I’ve been prancing around in a tutu since the age of two,” she says), Lolene also performed in local theater productions and television shows before discovering as a teen that music was her true calling. “Performing is all I know,” she says. “I was literally one of those annoying little stage kids, but it took my mind off of everything, so that was a good plan of my mother’s. Plus I was told my bum was too big for me to be a ballerina, so I thought, ‘Screw you, I’m off to be a pop star!’”
Lolene began writing songs and singing backing vocals for trip-hop artist Martina Topley-Bird (known for her work with Tricky) and local drum-and-bass pioneer Roni Size. After completing school, she moved to London and fronted an all-girl pop vocal group signed to a development deal at BMG Records. She wrote all the group’s material and realized she had a knack for writing melodies and lyrics.
It was during this time in London that Lolene acquired her nickname “Miss Foo Foo,” bestowed on her by a friend who watched Lolene drool over expensive items she couldn’t afford as the two window-shopped on London’s swanky Kings Road. “’Miss Foo Foo’ is the name of my company as well as my naughty alter ego,” Lolene says. “She’s the heightened, fabulous, eccentric part of my personality — the girl who wants it all right now. She lives in a world of heartbreak and handbags. She’s a chaser of dreams.” Miss Foo Foo is boujis (a British expression meaning to be fancy or posh) — the type who hangs out in London’s chic, ultra-private nightclubs.
Glam as it may have been, the London scene wasn’t enough to contain someone as driven as Lolene. Armed with nothing but a suitcase and a demo CD, she moved to Hollywood in search of her big break. Based on Lolene’s songwriting talent, multi-platinum producer Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem (Rick Ross, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Sean Kingston) signed her to his publishing label Beluga Heights/Sony ATV. She went to work collaborating with such heavy-hitters as Andreas Carlsson (Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, Celine Dion), Christopher Rojas (Pink, Backstreet Boys, Joss Stone), Makeba Riddick (Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyonce), Evan Bogart (The Writing Camp), Danja (Britney Spears, Nelly Furtado, Timbaland), Harvey Mason Jr. (Underdogs), and Christina Milian, for whom Lolene penned the single “Diamonds” featuring Kanye West.
“My writing is where I get to explore other sides of my personality,” Lolene says. “It’s like acting — you get to play someone else for that song. But I didn’t just want to write for other people, I wanted to write songs for myself.” It was while working with Rotem that the idea for The Electrick Hotel came to her. “I never wanted to just be famous, I wanted to present a very clear vision about who I am and what I want to say to people. And that message is love,” Lolene says. “Ultimately, I’m an ambassador of love. I want to inspire people to be brave and live their dreams, whether it’s about a dream about being rich in love, rich in success, or just fulfilled in some way that is important to you. It’s about breaking down boundaries and just being a fearless person in the world.”
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