As black history month winds down, LOLA (a.k.a M.C. LOLA) is winding things up with the release of her first solo rap/hip hop single, Shake It Bounce.
Not only does she have the look, but the 21-year-old has the talent and drive to boot. In addition to writing and co-writing the track, LOLA (full name: Lola-Marie Dorsey) is also working on a music video, compiling a complete album, courting record labels and radio stations, and plugging away at non-stop promotions. She also does her own styling.
“It honestly takes a lot of everything,” LOLA admits when asked about the physical, financial and spiritual toll of trying to make it in the music industry, but “it also keeps the thrill for life alive knowing that my recreational time is being used for something that I want to pursue and love to do.”
So far she’s performed at more than 50 concert venues, often opening for and crossing paths with industry biggies like P. Diddy, G-unit, Dipset and Timbaland. “Timbaland was real cool,” LOLA says of the man who’s fired up the careers of Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake of late. “He’s so smart and crazy talented.”
The message she received was clear: Relocate to Los Angeles or New York. It’s a move that seems inevitable for the aspiring Toronto artist, who derives inspiration from the likes of Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Eve, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Madonna and Beyoncé.
Like most artists, LOLA has been plugging away at her craft for years. In 2003, she co-wrote the Canadian Top 10 song, Party (with Warner Music) and appeared in its music video, which received heavy rotation on MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic. TV commercials and parts in movies like Animal 2 have also come her way.
“You can’t wait for things to come to you. You have to go out and get it,” LOLA says adamantly.
It’s a mantra inherited from a rich family heritage.
She is the third generation niece of Matthew Henson, who discovered the North Pole. Her aunt, Harriet Tubman, was dubbed the “Goddess of Liberty” for helping African-Americans escape slavery through the Underground Railroad. And her uncle, John McLellan, was voted NHL coach of the year in 1971, and in 1973 became the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Looking back at my ancestors makes me want to get out there and make my mark in history.”