St. Louis-native singer-songwriter Lola Toben has been releasing singles from her EP titled “Extended Play” once a month since May for everyone to enjoy. Today, Lola spoke with ETV about her earliest musical influences, the challenges with music she has had and what cities she would like to perform in the near future. Check out her song “Way to Your Heart” here:
Lola said she got into music at an early age and has a wide variety of musical influences that has inspired her writing style.
“I have loved music since I popped into this world,” Lola said. “My parents were both music lovers, so there was always music playing around the house. My earliest influences were Elton John, Billy Joel, Carole King, Joe Cocker and The Beatles. I would always sing along and make up dance routines. I feel like my writing style has a lot of that 70s vibe because of those early influences. I also adored Disney music, you know like Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Pocahontas.”
Lola’s latest project is an EP titled “Extended Play,” where she has been releasing a single at a time from it since May. She worked with Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, two Grammy-nominated producers in Los Angeles.
“They were fabulous,” Lola said. “The type of music is soul/pop/singer-songwriter. There are some retro vibes for sure. I think it is a great introduction to my music. The lyrical themes mostly revolve around love: looking for love, trying to hold onto love, forgiveness, breaking down walls in relationships, and overcoming obstacles. My second single, ‘Feeling Fine,’ I wrote after graduating college. That one is more about transitioning into a new life, letting go of the past, and stepping out into the world as an individual.”
Lola said the most gratifying thing for her about music was performing and sharing music with people, saying that being on stage melts all her stress away.
“The hours of learning, preparing, and rehearsing become worth it when you get to move people and touch their souls,” Lola said. “I feel like music has a way of reaching the deeper side of people and connecting them in ways nothing else can.”
However, making music doesn’t come without its challenges. Lola said the hardest part about making music was keeping her head up in the face of other’s criticisms.
“Not EVERYONE is going to like your voice, your style, or your songs,” Lola said. “You can’t be making music to get approval. It has to be because you believe in it. Whenever I start doubting myself, I remember that it is not about ME, it’s about the music. I think I have a message to share: one that is healing and unifying.”
In addition to making music as a solo artist, Lola makes music with her husband Bryan Toben. They started their project Bryan and Lola in 2014 where they perform a combination of acoustic original music, classic rock, and modern covers. Lola said they have performed at many wineries, bars and private events in St. Louis and that their folk-rock is low-key.
In 2016, Lola pursued her career as a solo artist where Bryan works as manager, booking agent, guitarist, and backup singer for the project. Lola serves as front woman, songwriter, arranger, pianist and singer performing songs of original soul, pop and R&B. Depending on the venue, Lola will either perform as solo artist or with her husband depending on the venue.
As far as performing live, Lola has a show coming up at The Mint on Sept. 9 and plans to continue performing locally in Los Angeles. She also has plans to perhaps play shows along the west coast.
“I’d like to get up north and do some shows in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland,” Lola said. “I also plan on doing another big St. Louis show sometime next year. We just put on a huge concert celebrating the release of my EP in St. Louis (my hometown) with a full 8-piece band. It was amazing!”
Lola will continue to make mark in L.A. as the intricate songwriter with a booming voice. She can only continue to rise and we look forward to hearing what’s next in store for her. Lola said she has written a lot of new songs since moving to L.A. and she wants to try them out in the studio. We can’t wait to hear them!