Event Dates

Tuesday, 28 May

The Waiting Room, London


South-east Londoner LULU.’s songs are cut through with the kind of warmth that holds you. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter is still figuring out herself and her life, learning to push through loneliness and uncertainty to trust in the journey. On Dear Disorientated Soul, her forthcoming debut EP, she offers up her sweet, soft blend of Afrobeats and soul as a cathartic, uplifting comfort through it all.

Now releasing via AMF Records (Greentea Peng, Loyle Carner, Olivia Dean), LULU. first emerged via TikTok, amassing a 24K+ community of like-minded fans. Her first two singles, ‘Save Me’ and ‘Yesterdays’, received support from Wonderland, Clash, COLORS, Dork and more, alongside plays on Elton John’s Apple Music radio show, ‘Rocket Hour’. The tracks showcase two sides to the artist; tender introspection along with warm ebullience. It’s an energy she brings to her live shows too, having supported Khamari last year, as well as curating a special pop-up show with an all-women band at BeauBeaus. And with a headline show at the Waiting Room coming up at the end of May, this is all just the beginning.

LULU. was always surrounded by the energy of music. Still, beyond what she laughs off as her childhood “Disney superstar” fantasies, it never occurred to her that she would actually be able to make a career of it. At school, she took every opportunity to get involved with music, singing solos in the choir, performing in plays. Growing up in a Nigerian household, there were the hour-long trips to church where her dad would play his collection of high praise music in the car – live band songs of worship and gospel – so often that the journeys became family singalongs. And then, at church itself, LULU. started singing in the choir from a young age, wanting to join her older sisters in front of the congregation. Then a few years ago, after a church service, one of her sister’s friends heard her sing. “And she said to me, ‘something’s telling me that you should get into writing.’” LULU. wasn’t convinced but was interested: her mental health was poor at the time, as she struggled with insisting to her parents that she wasn’t interested in going to university, all the while unclear on what her path ought to be. Listening to music late into the night alongside her faith were the two things allowing her to cope.

And so, she decided to try out writing, finding beats on YouTube to sing over, as well as linking up with producers via TikTok. “It was lockdown by then, so there was no one to talk to, nowhere to go,” she recalls, “So all that bottled up emotion started coming out through my music.” Beyond her background in communal, devotional music, LULU. had also grown up drawn in by the slinky vibes of early Wizkid, 2Face (now 2Baba) and Burna Boy, alongside her older sister’s mix CDs. These were filled with the kinds of soulful artists who let their feelings bleed through their songs such as Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige. It was in listening to Lauryn Hill, especially, that LULU. got a sense of the kind of music she wanted to make herself. “I started to realise the importance of timeless music and how that would only happen if I was vulnerable with myself and honest,” she explains, “If I could express myself in an authentic way that was true to me and what I was experiencing. But at the same time, I wanted it to feel hopeful.”

Her audience on TikTok began to grow, and it wasn’t long before A&Rs and labels were beginning to reach out. Working with producers like Dom Valentino, Felix Joseph and bad entity, she began to piece together what would become Dear Disorientated Soul. It’s carried by the fluid river of her voice, with her often-raw lyrics meandering through the cosy beats, inflected with what she calls the “codeswitch” intonation of second-generation Nigerian immigrants. There’s a natural swaying vibe to the record, which she partly indebts to watching her dad playing the talking drum: “It developed my need for rhythm and my ear for that.” At its core, this is a nourishing collection of songs about the highs and lows of growing up; it’s a young woman – the youngest sibling in her family – having conversations with herself as she tries to understand the dizzying, confusing emotions of existing and learning to stand with confidence on her own two feet, all while leaning on her faith. In doing so, she’s allowing her listeners to be held through those moments as well.

“You go through life thinking you’re the only one going through certain things,” LULU. says, “And then you realise we’re all going through the same shit.” Releasing music has become a way to write messages to herself, that become messages for her listeners, too. “It’s a good feeling, because a lot of the themes in my songs are about loneliness. It’s nice to know once the song comes out that, from the reception and messages I get, I’m building a community: and so, I’m not alone.

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