The name Lola has a unique and colorful place in pop history. Ray Davies and The Kinks met “L-o-l-a” in a club down in Old Soho, while Barry Manilow immortalized her as a showgirl in “Copacabana.” Then there’s the famous refrain to the song from the classic musical “Damn Yankees”: “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”
The multi-talented Ottawa, Ontario based singer Lola Spriggs is getting everything she’s been dreaming of (and has worked hard for) with her breakthrough U.S. single and title track to her new EP “Nobody But You,” which hit #11 on the FMQB AC40 Chart in May of this year. No stranger to musical accolades, she’s scored numerous big radio singles in her native Canada since her 2004 debut EP Expressed and its mainstream retro-rock flavored follow-up Lifescrapes—and opened for some of the country’s most notable acts, including Rock and Hyde, Parachute Club and Pursuit of Happiness.
Spriggs’ solo recording career has included numerous Canadian radio singles (including “On Heaven’s Way,”“Braggin’”, “I Ain’t Crushed,”“Draggin Fly,”“Out of my Hands”) and three popular recordings which reflect true artist development as she slowly discovered her unique creative path. She donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the Expressed EP to local charities; reflected the angst, anger and troubled times of her younger self on the uniquely titled Lifescrapes; and showed her fearless attitude in a bluesy-country setting on her 2008 album Barefoot.
But “Nobody But You,” the lead single from her upcoming new six-song “mini-CD,” put her into exclusive company she could only dream about a few years ago, when the devoted single mom began pursuing her musical ambitions after emerging from some dark emotional places. The track shared the FMQB chart with pop superstars Rob Thomas, Daughtry,Michael Buble, Colbie Caillat, John Mayer and Lady Antebellum, legends like Air Supply and emerging star Adam Lambert.
The song was written by internationally acclaimed producer/songwriter Marcus Kane (Snow, Joey Boy, Glenn Lewis), Bogene Williams, and Stan Stpor. Spriggs had initially approached Kane to work on the production of some new material they’d been shaping.
“The vibe of ‘Nobody But You’ reflects the happy place I’m at now and have been feeling for the past few years,” says Spriggs. “MyBarefoot CD, which had a heavier, earthy rock flavor to it, was a musical transition point for me and expressed where I was a few years ago. My focus on pop/AC came from being in a comfortable place with myself and the world around me. It’s a happy ending to a long and sometimes very challenging story, but what matters is that I’m here to sing and tell the tale.”
Beyond the songs’ lush and layered vocal harmonies, the singer connected immediately to the song’s uplifting lyrics. For her, it’s a celebration of newfound happiness after years of hard fought struggles.
“The first thing I thought of when presented with the song ‘Nobody But You’ was my teenage son, who is at a transition point in his life, with both of us facing many upcoming changes. The song inspired some deep soul searching and it’s all about understanding and accepting what life gives you and not sulking about it, but figuring out how to stay strong.”
After participating in theatre arts in high school, the native Montrealer—whose parents were born in England——left home at 16 and went through years of bad decisions and difficult challenges. She later faced the ongoing heartache of a marriage that turned abusive and, finding her way out of that painful situation, did her best to provide for her son as a single mom.
While continuing to endure difficult circumstances at such a tender age, one night, someone in the crowd heard her singing and invited her to start recording radio jingles and government tourism spots that aired extensively on local stations; the tourism spots also ran internationally. She later headlined at venues across Ontario and Quebec and played in a variety of regionally popular bands with unforgettable names: Rough Edges, Centerfold, Brass Monkey, Great Aunt Alice, The Republic, Split Image and 3DB Down. These experiences in the “indie music rat race” helped her grow a thick skin and prepare for all the challenges of being an indie artist.
A true survivor, Spriggs is dedicated to her passion and creativity, but has also achieved success in her life as a tough, no-nonsense business consultant. But it was when her mother, with whom Lola held an extremely close relationship with, asked on her death bed to promise that she return to her one true passion: music.
“Lola” is a nickname from childhood that her uncle gave her before those rebellious teen years when life took its rough turns; in many ways, it brings her back to a happy childlike innocence. These days, life could not be better. Some years past the darkness, Spriggs lives in the serene countryside of Ottawa, a pastoral locale that inspires her to write beautiful songs.
Although she has written many songs and plans to record some of them on future projects, she considers herself first and foremost a singer and vocal interpreter. While fans typically think an artist is more connected to a song that he or she has personally written, Spriggs has a very unique take on the expansive emotional possibilities of recording tunes penned by outside songwriters: “I remember writing a song once while I was sitting on a train headed to Montreal to visit someone, and every time I sang it live, I was singing from the memory of being on that train, in the mindset I was in at that moment. The connection wasn’t too deep, just a moment in time.”
“It’s a continuous journey, roads with many twists and turns,” she says. “Those destinations you set your heart on can change, because when you get to one place you think is what you wanted, it may not be exactly the place for you. But I’ve always known it was possible for me to achieve greater success in my life with music. As an independent artist, it’s difficult sometimes overcoming those speed bumps and challenges, but doing it and getting to the happy place I am lets me know it’s possible. My mother was very musical and raised me to believe that what you want to be, you can make happen. In the depths of despair, I doubted sometimes that dreams were possible, but now I know they are. And I’m very grateful that I had to courage to persevere.”
With the success of “Nobody But You” and the impending release of her new mini-CD, Spriggs is looking forward to getting on the road again and is currently in the process of assembling a new live band. As deeply as she connects with the song that is defining her to this point for American listeners, she’s eager to let people know that her emergence in the U.S. is simply one stop on a wild rollercoaster lifetime of many destinations. She plans to do release party/showcases in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Detroit and other Midwestern cities.
“I think one day in the future I would love to talk to young people who are out in the street having a hard time in their lives—letting them know that they too can overcome adversity and make something of their lives. More than ever now, I believe everything happens for a reason and to teach us something important.”