Her earliest memories of music growing up (sans the Chipmunks Christmas album) come from riding in the car with her dad. He, being a self-taught drummer, has an ear for great music. Some influential musicians include Tower of Power, Kirk Franklin, Sam Cook, The Beach Boys, and almost anything from the 60's. These powerful, lyrical masters shaped her to believe that pop music doesn't have to be spineless and contrived to be enjoyed.
Lola Rhodes' given name is Lonna Marie. In November 2015, Lola realized the new music she was creating was coming from a new part of her soul, unlike anything she had written before. It was time to wholly embrace her music without the baggage that comes with a lifelong given name. With that, Lola Rhodes the artist was born and Lonna Marie the person evolved.
Beginning her performance training in dance and then moving on to musical theatre in high school and college, being on stage has always been a crucial part of her life. She found herself in New York City with a theatre agent and her first Equity job, the understudy to Diana DeGarmo (American Idol) in the first national tour of Brooklyn the Musical. With mostly regional work under her belt and the auditioning grind becoming a burden on her creative soul, she decided to walk away from the theatre world and take her career into her own hands. She wasn't satisfied having to 'ask permission' to perform with the ridiculous demands of auditioning and she was no longer fulfilled recreating someone else's work.
SO SHE CREATED HER OWN
During her time in New York City, she produced a monthly showcase called the Underground Artists Live, which was meant to create a safe haven for emerging artists to develop their craft in a supportive environment. Every month musicians and music lovers would gather in the basement of a sushi restaurant on St. Marks Place and experience something truly special and one of a kind. She created a vast community of artists in the 3 years the event ran and continues those relationships today. Underground Artists Live also had an FM radio show for about 6 months in 2012, which Lola and her friend, Liz Morin, produced and hosted.
NYC TO LA
After 7 years in New York City, Lola decided it was time to move on and give Los Angeles a run for its money. She packed the car and drove out west on a cross-country tour arriving in early 2014.
She had the opportunity to perform at The Listening Room in Nashville as well as The House of Blues in both Houston and Dallas. She ended her tour at the legendary Whisky a Go Go on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip.
She spent her first year in Los Angeles playing shows with a 7-piece band that included a classical guitar, violin, standup bass, and accordion. Some highlights were shows at The House of Blues, The Standard Hotel, The Mint, Room5, and her all time favorite, the singer-songwriter mecca, Hotel Cafe.
2015 was dedicated to recording and collaborating with gifted producers that could take her sound to another level. She worked with Will Golden (Meiko, Matt Nathanson) on a three song EP [The Worst has just begun, 2014] and with Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, REM), whose tracks will be released in 2016.
In the beginning of 2015, a portion of Lola's catalogue was acquired by Viacom for use as soundtracks on MTV and VH1. Her song, Drifting has been placed in multiple indie films, was Runner Up in the Song of the Year contest and the music video has been invited to several film festivals around Los Angeles.
In October 2015, her unreleased track, Blue Bird won first prize in The Big Hook competition sponsored by Fiverr.com, Songspace, and American Songwriter Magazine. She won a trip to Nashville to record 3 songs with producer Bobby Campbell and meet with industry professionals from BMI (Penny Gattis), Secret Roads (Katie Jelen) and Spotify/Nesta Music (Robby Towns), among others. She also had the incredible opportunity to co-write with Nashville songwriters Louisa Wendorff, Daphne Willis, and Justin Halpin.
On any given day you can find Lola in her Los Angeles studio writing her next track on her Kala ukulele or Ibanez acoustic guitar. Sometimes it's a song for her, another artist, a collaboration with a producer or even a jingle. Her original songs and jingles have been recognized by major companies like Tesla, Paypal, and Dropbox. In 2014, Dropbox enjoyed her jingle so much, they flew her to their quarterly keynote to open the conference with her jingle. You can hire Lonna exclusively through Fiverr, Soundbetter or Downwrite.