CULTED SOUNDS: LOLO ZOUAÏ TALKS GALIPETTE, MERGING 60S YÉYÉ, R&B AND HIP-HOP
We’d be surprised if the name Lolo Zouaï hadn’t come up on your music radar recently. Laureen Rebeha Zouaï, more commonly known as Lolo, has been dominating the female R&B scene since the debut of her album ‘High Highs to Low Lows’ which has been making some noise both on and offline for the past two years. From collaborating with H.E.R. on their self-titled Grammy-winning album, to working alongside Stelios Phili (frequent collaborator with Young Thug) and now touring with Dua Lipa, it is clear to see why the French-born singer songwriter has gained such a respected following.
Zouaï’s hard hitting track, ‘Galipette’ arrived earlier this summer, merging 60s Yé-Yé, R&B and hip-hop into one electrifying beat. Accompanied by a music video directed by the talented Amber Grace Johnson, it shows a brand new energy and electrifying sound that we expect Zouaï to carry into her next upcoming album. From boxing underwater to falling in love with Britney Spears as a kid, we hit up Lolo to chat about the artists inspirations, writing process and being invited to tour with Dua Lipa. Scroll to find Lolo’s radio playlist. including some of her favourite tracks RN.
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Hey Lolo, with such a successful career behind you already, from hitting millions of streams online to supporting Dua Lipa on her Future Nostalgia tour, we want to ask where everything started. When did you begin to become interested in music and when was the moment you broke into the industry?
Thank you!! Hi! Yeah i was writing silly little songs when I was a kid and then when I was a teenager writing was the way I could let my emotions out in a healthy way. When I moved to New York is when i started producing and seeking out producers/going to recording studios for the first time. Meeting Stelios and writing “High Highs to Low Lows” is what really launched it all for me.
We’re there any big musical influences that stood out to you growing up and did they go on to inspire your work today?
I had a very eclectic mix of music I loved listening to. My first time falling in love with a pop star was Britney Spears for sure. I had her posters up. JoJo and Destiny’s Child. Then In high school I was super into west coast rap with the Bay Area legends and I was also very into the XX, Sky Ferreira…and Rihanna. Her albums never really fit into one genre but all the songs are still so cohesive. That’s what I try to do with mine.
Can you give us an insight to your writing process? Are you more methodical or does inspiration come to you more sporadically?
Creativity isn’t always there. But when it is, it comes in HARD. The past few months I’ve been incredibly inspired – coming up with so many new ideas. I start with a good song title, then the melody and flow come and then I sit down and really think about what I want to say.
Your track Galipette has gained some serious heat online, can you talk us through the track and how it came together?
Stelios and I just wanted to make something different. Something shocking. How could I mix my love of 60´s yéyé, r&b, and hip hop? Galipette came out and I couldn’t really stop it, haha. It’s definitely one of its kind when it comes to what I’ve been making.
Following this, the music video directed by Amber Grace Johnson really is a work of art. Were you involved in the storyboarding for the video? What was it like to be boxing underwater?
Thank you! Amber is a genius when it comes to executing her ideas. She has incredibly unique references and we spent months going back and forth on ideas. Boxing underwater was an idea she’s been wanting to do and she was so happy that i was down for it. It was physically hard but i was training for months before in general so my breathing was good underwater. when I’m in the zone I don’t complain and knew it would be worth it.
How did the support for Dua Lipa come about? Will this be your biggest tour to date?
Dua and I got connected through a mutual friend and she personally invited me to open for her! She’s the sweetest. Yes it’ll definitely my biggest crowd…and I’m extremely grateful.
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What has been the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment?
Being in rooms surrounded by people that I’ve looked up to for so long. Realizing I’m really going to be playing arenas with Dua. Having an e-40 remix after listening to him religiously haha.
As a creative and someone who is clearly used to performing in front of huge crowds, how did you find the pandemic influenced your work as a musician- did you find the time a good opportunity to focus on writing or a hindrance to your creativity?
It really bummed me out creatively and I didn’t write much in 2020 at all. I also just decided to live my life instead of worry so much about my career. But 2021 was different, I got back into a good creative and mental space and made the best music I’ve ever made. I have the same hunger I did in 2019.
After working alongside the likes of H.E.R, and Dev Hynes, is there any artist or creative out there that you would love to collaborate with?
Ive always loved Kehlani’s voice and storytelling. And we’re both from The Bay. Sampha is just incredible. Nathy Peluso goes so crazy. Brent Faiyaz. Too many talented people out there to choose from.
And looking to the future, what are we to expect from Lolo Zouaï in 2022?
My second album which I’ve been working on for the past year and a half!! I don’t think you’re ready 🙂
Lastly, name 5 tracks you’re loving right now and why?
INDECISIVE – Snoh Aalegra
It’s the first song on her album…there’s something about it that is very addictive…and damn that vocal sample in the beginning.
All My Girls Like To Fight – Hope Tala
This song is soft but tough at the same time. Love the contrast.
Pimpandho.com – Too $hort
My Favorite too short song!!! It’s about porn in the early 2000s what a throwback.
Cashmere – Tkay Maidza
Such a good song & the vocal production is beautiful! It feels like a classic
Most Wanted – Jean deaux
Love her so much! she opened for me on my HHLL tour…her voice sounds sexy af
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