Before she was LOLO, she was Lauren Pritchard, a name that might sound familiar thanks to her two-year run asIlse in the Broadway production of "Spring Awakening." While the 28-year-old singer-songwriter is now riding the high from writing music for last year's well-received, off-Broadway production, "Songbird" — The New York Times called her score "terrific" — she's not even close to slowing down. As LOLO, she's on the road next month as part of the Communion Tour to promote her EP, "Comeback Queen," out through DCD2 Records. We discussed songwriting, the values of essential oils and how to really say her name.
When did you pick up the name LOLO?
Some people still call me Lauren. It ebbs and flows, but it’s been a nickname of mine since I was in high school. Now it’s to the point where my grandmother calls me LOLO, so it combs over all mediums.
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But is it stylized as all caps because it’s meant to be shouted?
It’s more of a personalization thing than a style thing. I’m really into all caps texting in general, like in life, which i think most people do all caps texts because it’s them screaming. But for me it’s more of a silly, fun sort of thing.
Do you think your theater background shows up in your performance style?
I think in a logistical sense, endurance-wise, you learn a lot about yourself and what your body can do by doing a Broadway show. You have understudies, obviously, but you’re creating these roles and representing yourself on stage, so missing a show is a big deal. You really have to learn what you have to do to take care of yourself. And then that gets heightened on the road when you’re literally the only person that can do that job. There are no sick days, even if you’re sick as a dog.
From a performing standpoint, I’m playing myself on stage now, not a character, but you still have to go into a place to prepare for an appearance and connect and center yourself. I think in those ways it’s been very easy to translate from doing theater.
Do you do any pre-show rituals?
I’m a vocal warmup nerd. It’s a muscle and you have to take care of it.
What’s different about writing songs for stage versus writing for an album?
Whether I’m working on an album or composing for theater, as the process gets more involved, it gets easier to differentiate. We wrote the initial batch for songs [for “Songbird”], and then workshopped, and then took a little bit of time off because I was going to be gone touring. Then I composed a few pieces in my mind that I wasn’t necessarily writing for “Songbird” while on the road, but then, I was like, “Oh I actually think this should go here or there.” But that was after the fact, they weren’t [written] directly for the play.
Anything you need to have with you on the road?
I’m big into essential oils. I think they’re very calming and clarifying, and I have a whole batch that I travel with. I’m a big lavender person; it helps me relax and actually makes me sleepy. Right before I go to bed, everything gets a heavy lavender spritz. And then I have a few batches that I use in the morning that help me wake up and stimulate my brain.
And I can’t go without apple cider vinegar. I do a double tablespoon full every morning. It helps alkalize your body and keep your inner working system. You have get the fancy one with the mother from the health food store, but I swear by it. It keeps my immune system stable.
LOLO plays Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St, New York) on Feb. 2; Brighton Music Hall (158 Brighton Ave, Allston)on Feb. 2; and Milkboy in Philadelphia (1100 Chestnut St, Philadelphia) on Feb. 3.