LA born and bred, pop queen Morgan St. Jean is making waves and you’re sleeping if you don’t see her coming. With her new single, “Lola,” St. Jean is making her major label debut, showing off her powerhouse voice and carefully crafted storytelling. Read on for a glimpse into her song craft and what’s inspired the music, the glamour, and the journey into a world all of her own.
1) First of all, HUGE congrats on the absolutely juicy pop banger that is “Lola” and your major label debut with Universal! How are you feeling???
Thank you so much! I’m feeling amazing. I’m so grateful to be in this position and excited for everybody to hear what I’ve been working so hard on. I have to give a huge shoutout to my fans and supporters who got me to this point. They’ve been so loyal and patient with me, and I’m so happy that it’s finally paying off!
2) What was the catalyst for your artist journey aside from living in a massive music city like LA? Where does your story begin?
I think growing up in a place like LA has definitely inspired me. I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of glamour and grit, and I think that really comes through in my music. I started singing in the second grade when I auditioned for the school choir. One day after rehearsal my director asked to speak with my mom when she picked me up (I thought I was getting kicked out of the group), and he ended up telling her that he thought I had talent and wanted me to be the featured soloist. My mom was as shocked as I was, but that’s really where my passion for music began.
3) What influences have shaped your sound and this song specifically? I’m hearing some Christina Aguilera timbres in your voice and LOVING IT.
WOW thank you so much for saying that! Christina is definitely one of my biggest vocal influences. I grew up singing all of her songs on a little karaoke machine that my Godparents bought me for my birthday one year. Musically, I love everyone from Lana del Rey, to Rihanna, to Lady Gaga. I’m really inspired by powerful women who are unafraid to be honest. I’ve always been very fascinated by Marilyn Monroe. I read a book in high school that talked about the “Marilyn effect” and how she could turn her persona on to get whatever she wanted. I think that is so powerful and inspiring.
4) Who are the key players in this song's narrative aside from this bitch named Lola and what made you want to tell this story? How did these characters inspire the fury felt throughout?
The funny thing about this song is that Lola isn’t even a real person--she’s a metaphor I created to represent a difficult moment in my life. When I wrote “Lola” I was actually a few years out of an emotionally abusive relationship. Lola, the character, came to me when I realized that everything I thought we had--a sort of fairytale romance, dreams of white picket fences--was an illusion. In the song, she’s the woman my boyfriend is cheating on me with. I refer to her as “a bitch named Lola” because coming to terms with reality is often a bitch. However, she is also self-assured, confident, and able to get exactly what she wants. In the song I hate her, but I also need her as she is the catalyst for my journey to becoming a confident, bad bitch. It’s so much less about the boyfriend in the story than it is about seeing through illusion and reclaiming your self worth, especially when you’ve been tricked into thinking that ignorance is synonymous with perfection. I think everyone has that “Lola” moment where they’re forced to wake up to reality, and even though it sucks to go through, we come out stronger on the other side.
4) What was it like working with the producer of this song, Peder Etholm-Idsøe?
Peder is awesome! When I first met Peder, we were doing a writing session for a different song entirely. When I heard what he did with that song, I knew he would be the perfect fit for “Lola.” I had actually written Lola by myself months before, and had been looking for a producer who could really give it that cinematic, dark feel that I wanted for the production. I had a very clear vision in my head for how I wanted the song to sound, and he took it to a whole new level. I love the little touches he’s added throughout to give the song the drama we aimed for. He actually had this super cool idea to spell out Lola in morse code with percussion in the pre-chorus of the song!
5) How do you want this song to inspire other women in their future relationships and while facing other challenges?
I want women to be fearless, and part of being fearless is acknowledging that sometimes bad shit happens, but when it does, all we can do is face it head on and come out stronger on the other side. For me, Lola has become a sort of alter ego who allows me to feel unabashedly confident in my emotions and needs, like the bad bitch I know I am. For the single artwork, I wanted to portray her as this vixen character with long red hair and dressed in black--a polar opposite from who I was when I wrote the song. Lola gave me this unwavering sense of confidence, and self worth--I hope she makes other women feel that too.
6) Can we look forward to a follow up to “Lola” in 2021?!
You can! First I have a couple of really cool video assets coming out for Lola in the coming weeks, and then there will be lots of new music in 2021. Lola is really just the start of a whole world I’m creating with my music, and I can’t wait to invite you in.
Interview by: Deanna DiLandro