The making of Lola Rhodes

Hi friends and constant reminders why I create music! I have something to new to share with you.

I'm changing my artist name to Lola Rhodes. What does this mean for Lonna Marie?

Lonna Marie is Lola Rhodes and Lola Rhodes is Lonna Marie. I decided to take a risk, a leap of faith, a road less travelled on my artistic journey. I find there is always some point during a given year that I want a change. Not just any change, but a drastic and thrilling one. It mostly happens around my birthday and truth be told I have one coming up this November. Funny how that works! This isn't just a change for me, though. This is a change for me as a creative person. I rarely think of myself as a creative individual. When you live in your little vacuum for so long, you tend to miss out on the progress and creativity you possess in your soul. You're constantly going at a level 10 and never slow down to sit back and enjoy your creations and your passions. I want to start feeling and believing in my creative worthiness, which is why I'm deciding to give it it's own identity. It's own vibe, feeling and imagery. A creative outlet my given name just wouldn't let me tap into. It's a state of mind, for me, that I want to commit to and indulge in and feel like it's my own. My real name locks me into a glass box and I can see everything I want to be and everything I want to do and my head is stopping me from reaching those things. This stigma I've created and given to myself wont let me go. So I've decided to take things into my own hands and take the pressure off of 'me' and let my artistry and creative soul flourish else where. Some where close to home, yet just far enough to feel like it's new and it's all mine. 

The new music I have coming for you makes me incredibly proud of how far I have come. Of course, I plan on constantly growing and evolving while on this journey of creation, but I have too many songs I've been hiding from your ears, waiting for the right moment to strike. Unfortunately and fortunately, there's no such thing as a right moment, but I was missing something and I think I found what I was looking for. This music is mature, edgy, emotional, honest, hopeful, vulnerable and is ready to be heard. 

I'm Lola Rhodes and I can't wait to show you who I am. 

This is gonna be fun..

-L.Rhodes


Nashville Day 3 & 4 -- The final countdown!

Hi friends!

Let's talk about my most favorite day in Nashville: STUDIO DAY!!!!! First off, let's just talk about my producer, Bobby Campbell. He was referred to as 'Nashville's best kept secret' and it is very clear why. The night before, we did pre-production at his safari themed home studio (that was a first..soo many giraffes!) and even just watching him make skeletons for the tracks, I was already blown away. He played most of them on the piano and I'm a sucker for a nice, full piano sound. It brings such a different light to my songs, it's quite wonderful. 

In my element. 

What's really neat about Nashville studios is that 1. they are everywhere and 2. they are all disguised as normal looking houses. You'd never know unless you lived there where are the studios are. And these aren't just home studios, they are full fledge working studios. The studio we worked in is called Electric Thunder Studios, which is owned by a very friendly engineer named Jeff. He was awesome. Our day started at 11am and went until about 11pm. When it comes to being in the studio, those 12 hours felt like nothing. Bobby hired two local session musicians who were waayyy too talented to be real. Jeremy played drums and Sam, who I learned was only 23, played electric and acoustic guitar and bass. One of my favorite parts of creating music is seeing how people who are way more talented than I am interpret the music for themselves. I don't think I have ever been disappointed in someone else's take on my music and this was absolutely no exception. These guys slaaayyyyed and the fact that Sam was only 23 really blew everyone away. 

Bobby Campbell, (middle)

Mom the Mom, Ran the manager, Donna the Aunt

Another perk was having some of my favorite people in the studio with me. I knew my mom was going to DIE once I told her she could come to the studio. Needless to say, they were over the moooonnnnn :)

So percussion, electric, acoustic guitar and bass were all recorded from 11am to 5pm, where Bobby and I took a break to go crash a '#1 Party'. A songwriter named Jarren, that Bobby works with, co-wrote a song that went to #1. The party was in Franklin, which is the fancy part of Nashville. I met some songwriters who are writing for big names so that was cool to just listen and soak it all in. We stayed for some pulled pork and beans and went on back to the studio.

The rest of the evening was dedicated to getting the lead vocals down. Basically I sing through each song about 5 times and then we stitch together the best takes into one kick ass track. When the track is all amped up with all the instrumental tracks from earlier that day, it's such a joy to sing to. Vocals usually don't take too long are when I have the most fun. I was very happy with what we got and called it night just before 11pm.

Day 4 of Nashville consisted of recording harmonies at Bobby's home studio in the morning, which didn't take long at all. I usually have harmonies all ready to go in my head and it comes very natural so this was a fun breeze. After those were done, I met up with Ben from Fiverr along with Grant and Carl, the video crew, who have been documenting this entire trip. Fiverr will be releasing that video in either November and December so I'll be sure to share it with you. They documented the co-writes and the studio day so you'll get an even better feel of the behind the scenes for those days. Anyway, what we had to film on my last day was B roll around Nashville. 

Carl (grey hoodie), Grant (yellow pants), Me (awkward girl playing ukulele) at Printers Alley

We met at Titans Stadium, got some nice skyline shots from across the river then headed downtown. Went into some Honky Tonk bars, cowboy boot stores and even tried to play a song right in the middle of Printer's Alley, but the bar decided to turn up their music as soon as I started playing! How rude, right? They were even people gathered around and they were yelling at the bar the turn it down. The bar gave no fucks, though. At least we got the shot, I guess! 

Once B roll was done, I met up with my family where my mom bought me some pretty badass cowboy boots. She knows I'm not flashy so she got my an embroidered black pair, which I actually love! She did good! Her's were fire engine red with heart cut outs. Typical. My mom and aunt had an earlier flight so they took off and few hours after (a few vodkas after..) Ran and I went to the airport where we learned our flight was 2 hours delayed.... awesome. We got back into LA at 1am, Monday and I think I slept for the next 3 days. I still may be sleeping, it's debatable. 

This trip was a much needed boost I've been needing and it exceeded my every expectation. The caliber of talent and industry professionals I had the opportunity to work with and introduce myself to was incredible. I always knew Fiverr had a special place in my creative heart because it's given me so much as an artist and songwriter, but to give me this opportunity on top of all that? Come on now! Just insane. 

I hope you guys enjoyed these little blogs about my trip and look out for the video that Fiverr will released later this year! Thank you for your love and your ongoing support of my music. Good things to come!

Cheers!

xoLM

 

 

Nashville Day Two: The Co-Writes

First off, I just need to tell you that I am listening to the first mixes of the 3 songs I recorded with Bobby Campbell and I AM FLOORED. Just floored. I'm on the floor. These tracks are marvelous. 

More on that later..!

DAY TWO of this Nashville whirl wind consisted of back to back co-writes with local artists. Not just any artists, artists who are killin' it in Nashville. Let me pre-face this with I have never co-written with anyone in the 6 (?) years I've been doing this. I guess that's not entirely true.. my pal Matt Minchew and I did write a pretty sweet song over 2 bottles of red wine one night in Astoria. We also decided we should video the entire process and those videos will forever remain private on Youtube. So, other than THAT, sure I've written one song with a friend which was about 4 or 5 years ago and up until this point, it's just been me fueling off of any creativity I can find. My songwriting has absolutely grown and developed in ways I never thought were possible. I owe a lot of that discipline and growth to my Fiverr gigs and challenging myself everyday to write an original song or jingle that I was proud to deliver. I never realized how magical a co-writing session could be and how much one could learn from it. To some degree, a co-writing session is more productive because there are no stops or road blocks creatively. You can say a dumb line just to get it out of your system and unknowingly trigger something really inspiring to your partner and instead of being critical of yourself and possibly shutting down the whole process, you have a sound board that is in constant motion. Even one of the artists I wrote with in Nashville said she rarely writes on her own anymore. I found that shocking and intriguing. There must be something to this madness! 

So let's get right into it!

Louisa Wendorff, singer-songwriter

My first co-write happened with an artist named Louisa Wendorff. You might have heard of her from this mashup that Taylor Swift retweeted. No big deal, right? So basic. (except not at all) Needless to say I was SUPER NERVOUS for this experience. I know I can write songs but there were so many other things at stake! Will she like my writing? Will we click as songwriters? Am I going to make an ass of myself? Will I have anything to say? All of these and more just circulating in my head of utter doom. We met at her friend's apartment, which was a gorgeous place to write; great view, rainy gloom (best weather for songwriting) and all the natural light a girl could ask for. As soon as she came down to meet us (Ben from Fiverr was with me) I instantly felt her warmth and kindness and had a really good feeling about this session. She grabbed some coffee and we went upstairs to start the session. She opened up the conversation with asking how I'm doing and if there's anything I'm feeling or going through right now in my life. Oh, what a loaded question. I started talking and to even my surprise it got very emotional and fast. I couldn't believe I started crying and even said something along the lines of 'of course I'm wearing cat eyes and crying in front of you.' Hilaaarriioouusss. She was super sweet and encouraged this and said she was going through something very similar so that was nice to connect like that. From there the inspiration hit. She had a melody and an idea in mind about how we're only human (I don't want to give away the exact title!) and we just started going at it. It was really cool to watch her in her element and the way we both were able to connect on what the song should say. If we'd ever get stuck, we'd figure out what it is we want to say and let go of the rhyming we needed to maintain. Once we had a better idea, we just fed off of each other and created some killer lyrics. Ones that really hit you in the face, it was awesome. When we finished the song we both looked at each other and were like.... oh shit... This is reallllyyy good!! I figured that was a good time to confess this was my very first co-write and how nervous I was, ya know, since at least we got a good song out of it! We then took obligatory selfies and went on our way. I really am so impressed with the song and writing with her and honing in on her aesthetic was a truly wonderful experience. I really love her style and her writing because she doesn't just write any mindless thing and repeat for the whole song. Her writing has a lot of substance and I will always stand behind that. We actually joked and agreed that it's SUPER hard to write one of those brainless pop songs, it was funny. So, Louisa if you happen to read this, thank you for that wonderful experience and hope out paths cross again one day. It was truly a pleasure writing with you. 

Daphne Willis (middle) and Justin Halpin (far right)

The next session happened at Sony/ATV building where Daphne just signed a 2 year publishing contract with, which is badass-ery if you ask me. After writing with her, I can understand why. She is a force to be reckoned with from her songwriting skills down to her killer voice. I'm going to LINK HER here because you need to hear this lady. So yes, this session was with Daphne Willis and another killer singer songwriter named Justin Halpin. This session was SO DIFFERENT from the one with Louisa and in a just as fantastic way. We dove right into this one with a chorus I had brought with me. (I googled how to co-write and it told me to be prepared and in bring in material so that's what I did. Yes, I just admitted that.) I played them the chorus and we messed with that sound and vibe for a little and kept riffing off each other. Justin was on the piano and Daphne on the guitar to get a more well rounded perspective of where the song could go. They have been writing together for about 8 months and I could tell they were very comfortable with each other and flowed really nicely together. Sometimes I just watched it happen as they developed ideas and just observed. They were so fast and so good and just kept spitting whatever came to their minds. When I would become brave enough to interject, they were very open and encouraged to hear my ideas. My ideas would inspire them in a different way and then a new seed would be planted. It was really magical to watch and take part in. Daphne is so quick on her feet in both songwriting and finding that strong melody. In all honesty, her voice could sing anything and I would want to listen, but what's awesome about her is she's a writer with substance. The songwriting itself was very collaborative and I love how Justin just knew melodically where the song needed to go. He had great direction, which inspired the best possible writing out of everyone. The first song came out so different than I would have ever imagined and in a great way. The song took on it's own life with these other influences around it and I was so happy with the outcome.

Once that song was finished, I figured everyone wanted to go home. This was essentially a favor to me and an experience, but no, no they both were game to write another one. That made me feel really good because I assumed they didn't hate the experience that much for them to want to stay! Maybe they even liked it! Song number two started with Justin fiddling with a progression on the piano. I started humming around, creating a melody, and realized another chorus that I brought with me worked realllyyyy nicelllyyy with what was happening. So I started to sing those lyrics out loud hoping someone would dig it and sure enough they did. From there, we started going at it and Daphne really hit this one out of the park. She really is such a songwriting force and I am so grateful to have been in that room with her. There's no fear with her, she just goes. I love how both songs came out, but the second one really killed it for me. Everyone was really happy with the experience and both them are just so kind. We exchanged numbers and hopefully I'll be writing again with Daphne when she's in LA at the end of October. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better scenario for my first go at co-writing with people who are in the Nashville scene. 

That concluded Day 2 in Nashville. I met with Louisa at 10:30am and my session with Daphne and Justin ended around 6pm. Looonng day of writing and so worth every single second. The rest of the night I got to spend with my family carousing around downtown Nashville... drinking one too many martinis... as one does ;)

Day 3 is STUDIO DAY. MY FAVORITE KIND OF DAY. You'll hear more on that in the next blog :)

Until then!

-Lonna Marie

The Big Hook winner goes to Nashville!

Hi friends!

I am writing you from my couch on a beautifully sunny Marina del Rey afternoon. My pups are sleeping below me, I'm un-showered (still basking in the Nashville grind glory? Gross..) and allowing myself to relax and unwind before getting back into my California grind. As most of you already know, I won a songwriting contest through a company called Fiverr, what I make my living from. I've been a seller on Fiverr for 3 years and have written over 1200 songs and jingles in that time. Kinda crazy when I think about that reality! Anyway, Fiverr put together a songwriting contest where one submits an original 30 second hook/chorus and from the moment I decided to enter I already knew which chorus I would be submitting. It's a song called 'Blue Bird', a brand new baby which I look forward to releasing next year. I recorded it accapella and layered on the harmonies, as I do, and submitted. A few weeks later I got an email saying 'Congratulations! You won!' and many a tears ensued. Fun Fact: This was my second trip to Nashville that I won through winning a songwriting contest. Go figure!

Fiverr and the wonderful founders at Songspace really put together a trip that exceeded my expectations. The industry meetings, the co-writes and the producer I had the opportunity to work with all blew my mind. The caliber of talent and insight I received on this trip was everything I was hoping it would be and then some. I wanted to share my experience with you in this blog post so here is just some of the breakdown of what my Nashville trip was like..

 

First meeting with Caine O'Rear, Editor at American Songwriter Magazine

Penny Gattis, Writer/Publisher relations, BMI

I arrived in Nashville at 6:30am on October 1st and my first meeting of the day began at 10am! First up was Caine O'Rear from American Songwriter Magazine. We had a great chat about my music career, the magazine and the industry in general. Second meeting was with Penny Gattis of BMI. I've been affiliated with BMI for 6 years now and I had some questions for how to really utilize my membership and how to take advantage of the live events that BMI puts together. A lot of this industry is who you know and showing face in the community and of course that makes a lot of sense. People want to work with people they know or who they have heard good things about and the only way for people to know you is to be seen! What a concept. 

My third meeting was probably the one I was most excited for. It was with Katie Jelen of Secret Road. They do licensing and publishing and actually manage one artist... you might know her... her name is Ingrid Michaelson, my spirit animal. So of course I was super excited to meet Katie and hopefully not fangirl too much! Ben from Fiverr and Jesse Feister from Songspace joined us at La Mamacita and of course I had a margarita (just one I swear!) There were a lot of laughs and great conversations just introducing who I am and what my goals are. Katie was so nice and gave me some great advice. With my musical aesthetic, Katie is definitely someone's radar I want to be on and just being able to get this meeting with her is a step in the right direction. 

My fourth and last meeting of the day was with Robby Towns of Nesta Music & Spotify and Robert Clement of Songspace. We met for coffee, which was so needed at this point since I was still running on fumes! Robby also works with Louisa Wendorff on digital strategy and that being such a huge focus with my music trajectory, it was really cool to gain some better insight from his experience. He was also super nice and encouraged me to follow up with him on any questions and anything I'm working on/releasing. He's another radar to stay active on. Robert from Songspace was awesome to talk to as well. I really can't believe how nice and welcoming everyone made me feel. I felt so special and so honored that everyone took time out of their schedules to get to know me and my music. These meetings were opportunities that unless I knew a friend of a friend of a friend... would be nearly impossible to make on my own and I am so incredibly grateful. 

 

Bobby Campbell, Producer 

I almost forgot one of my favorite parts! PRE-PRODUCTION!!! After my meetings, I jetted over to Bobby Campbell's home studio where for the next 3-4 hours we knocked out some pre-production on the 3 songs we recorded! We decided on 'High Five', 'Back Together' and (my personal favorite) 'Marina del Rey'. You can hear some audio previews on my Instagram by clicking here and here! Bobby and I clicked musically right away and it was super fun to work with him and watch him do his thing. At first I wasn't too set on recording 'High Five' because it's not really a go to kind of vibe for me. I'm more melancholy and depressing and that song is upbeat and dare I say happy?! But Bobby talked me into it and seeing him so inspired by it, I really couldn't say no. We knocked out pre-production over some gin and tonics and created the skeletons of each song so when we hit the studio, the musicians will know what to do. And boooyyyy did they know what to do... that's for another post, though ;)

This completes DAY ONE. I was going to put everything into one blog, but that might be overkill. I'll break them down so it's not too boring and/or overwhelming! Thanks for reading and can't wait to share DAY TWO: My first Co-writes EVER!!

Until then,

xoLM

 

Holding myself accountable.

Okay.

Okaaaayyyyy.

Alright. Here I go.

Holding myself accountable. 

Claiming who I am and what I want. And not claiming the .org or .net version of myself. I'm claiming the damn .com... no matter what the price. Why do you care and why I am I writing this? Because I am not disciplined enough to just do it on my own. I am far 'too busy' to be holding myself accountable ALL the time.. or any of the time. I feel like it's not even so much holding myself accountable, but it's really owning who I am and everything that means; what makes me happy, what makes me afraid, what challenges me, my strengths, what excites me, what motivates me... all of these things I would actually have to think about and I'm not completely confident that I'd have a definitive answer. And if I can't answer these questions about myself, who can? 

I don't want to make this too drawn out because I'm learning how to do this as I go. Not that I want to edit or limit myself, I just don't want to confuse and overwhelm myself. That's really easy for me to do, unfortunately. 

This is where I begin..

where I begin to understand myself

accept myself

and own myself.

I've wasted so much time being so unhappy all the while knowing better. That makes it worse.. when you know better. When you know you don't want to be this way. 

Hold me accountable and I'll promise to do my best. 

 

 

New collaboration cover with Hasit Nanda!

My Youtube collaborator/partner in crime, Hasit Nanda, and I are back at it!

This week he plays a beautiful piano rendition of Lana del Rey's 'High by the Beach' while I serenade. If you haven't heard of Hasit Nanda, you will. He is a piano prodigy in India and has gained celebrity and label recognition for his Youtube video covers. He's just ridiculous. 

Be sure to subscribe to his channel and my Youtube channel so we can take over the world sooner than later. Thank you for your eyes, ears and hearts for subscribing and watching our latest collab. We're super proud of it and love sharing our endeavors with all of you.


Thigh Gap, Shmy Gap

DAT THIGH GAP DOE!!!!

What? That's not a thigh gap? Well, what the hell man. I thought I was on to something..

Yup, no thigh gap and you know what? I don't give one shite. I run every other day, eat relatively healthy with some indulgence here and there, stretch, do some yoga and that's what makes me feel good. Sometimes I'm human and feel a certain way and want to look a certain way, but at the end of the day, I'm happy in my skin. I'm happy in my body. I don't appreciate myself and my body like I used to and I want to get that back. Because no matter what you look like, you'll never be happy unless you love what you are and who you are. 

I debated posting these photos due to embarrassment and self doubt, but this is me. I've looked this way pretty much my whole life. Never really fluctuated in weight growing up. Why should I be embarrassed? Why should I be ashamed? I've been in this body this WHOLE time, why should I doubt it? Because it's not ideal to some people? Because I don't have a thigh gap? Because I wear a size 6 and not a size 2? I've got two words for those screwed up expectations and you're not gonna like them....

Feel free to borrow those two words to use on anybody who wants to judge you for being YOU.

 

;)

 

 

I'm a Foster Mommy!!!

This week I decided to change things up a bit and become a foster mommy to a rescued animal.  

Everyone, meet Brim! (loath that name, but I don't get to change it)

IMG_20150309_172851.jpg

The smaller dog is my 10 year old Morkie, Killer. He's not thrilled in the least to be sharing his home, but this adjustment is good for him, too, so he doesn't stay a grump! Brim is a black German Shepard, apparently a very rare color for the breed. His beautiful, hazel puppy eyes will make you fall in love at first sight, which, I did. Man oh man, I had no idea what I was in for!

When Killer was a puppy, he was the best. Just a bag of bones like me, during high school. He was quick to pick up potty training and really everything else. I consider him more human, than Morkie, let's just say that. I grew up with big dogs and I've been missing what big dogs bring to the table. Their size and playfulness, you can really get rough with them! Small dogs you'll squash if you get too rowdy. Brim has definitely been a welcoming change of routine and yet a mighty challenge in patience and discipline. Honestly, I think this is the best situation to find myself in. I could use a make up class in both patience and discipline and what better way to practice then with a puppy full of life. Sounds better than the actuality, but it's really the most amazing feeling when you start seeing progress. It makes everything worth it and it feels good to be helping someone/something meet it's highest potential - or at least get closer to it. I can learn a thing or two about that, myself (ha!). With a little bit of TLC, patience and discipline, we can go a long way. Like Brim, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me but if Brim can do it, why can't I? Progress is so powerful and if you not acknowledging it is a crime against yourself. You are your worst enemy, but you don't have to be. Man, I thought this post was going to be about a foster mom and her new foster puppy, not some deep metaphor. How profound! Okay, now more puppy pictures!!!


Fourfiveseconds Cover up on Youtube!

I performed this with my pal Dick Hess at our online show via Concertwindow. I do shows on there at least once a month so be sure to follow me here and catch the next one! Also, my goal for this year is to get 10k subscribers on Youtube so if you're not a subscriber yet, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help me reach my goal! 

"Love me like you do" cover is live!

I love what things are capable because of the internet and platforms like Youtube. This is yet another collaboration video with my friend all the way from India, Hasit Nanda. This kid SLAYS the piano and he's only 17 years old -- ridiculous. I hope you enjoy the music video we made (by sending each other footage and Hasit editing it in India!) This track is also available for a free download via Soundcloud.

Thanks for listening & watching and if you love watching new videos on Youtube, be sure to Subscribe to my channel! Help me reach my goal of getting 10k subscribers by the end of 2015! I appreciate your support and stay tuned for more music and videos :)

xoLM

"Love me Like you do" Collaboration with Hasit Nanda!

This Friday instead of posting a cover or mashup, I will be posting a video in collaboration with the magical, Hasit Nanda, a prodigy piano player in India. We'll be performing "Love me like you do", Ellie Goulding's song written for the 50 Shades of Grey movie. We have collab-ed on a few other pop  and EDM hits you can watch here and here

How does one piano player in India link up with one singer songwriter in California you ask? WELL, I'll tell you! Christina Perri came out with a new song last year and I loved it so much I wanted to cover it right away. I looked like a house cleaner in the video -- not my best look, not thinking anything of it. Of course THIS is the video that a celebrity finally decides to Retweet on Twitter -- Christina Perri replied and retweeted my video and it got quite a lot of exposure. It was awesome and very gratifying! I still looked like a dump truck, though. That'll teach me not to half ass anything ;)

So, because of that, Hasit got wind of me and we connected and started collaborating right away. He's only 17 and he is just so freaking talented. We compliment each other well with our video, vibe and communication. I'm very excited to contribute a cover song for the 50 Shades of Grey movie -- Not that I read the book, but I just may go see the movie! Don't judge..

Anyway, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel and Hasit's youtube channel in the mean time and keep up to date with new video releases. My goal this year is to get 10,000 subscribers. Help me reach this goal and be sure to SUB! Last week I posted (yet another!) Christina Perri cover of her new ballad "The Words". 

The first song I ever wrote

I recently discovered the first song I ever wrote called "Our Melody". This had to be around 2008 in New York City while I was living in a tiny, shoebox apartment on 56th st. between 8th and 9th avenue. My friend had left his banjo at my apartment and I decided to pick it up and give it a shot. I did not know how to play it, so I played it like I would a guitar (didn't know how to really play a guitar either) and made a makeshift pick out of a piece cardboard. I googled a few basic chords and let the words fall out. I had been writing for a while, little poems or half assed journal entries, but this was the first time I put something to music. This song was my gateway drug into learning how to communicate and to understand my feelings properly. I've come a long way since then, but listening to this song, I can still remember that girl, that time of my life. It's incredible - it's like when you smell a perfume or scent that flashes you right back to a distant memory, like it we're yesterday. That's what this song did to me. I am so thankful for this song and where it's brought me today. It's no Dylan, but it means the world to me. I hope you can enjoy it, too, for all it's worth.