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by Zoya Raza-Sheikh

We caught up with the pop-punk newcomer representing Toronto’s alternative sound.

Canadian singer-songwriter LØLØ aka Lauren Mandel is best known as a TikTok breakout star that amassed a following online. Then, the 24-year-old’s quick-fire success caught the eye of Hopeless Records who signed her in late 2021. With a promising debut and EP under her belt, the Toronto native has been honing in her alternative truth-bearing sound. In her latest venture, LØLØ has teamed up with boundary-pushing artist Maggie Lindemann for her new track ‘Debbie Downer’. The pair drive home a “complex” single that unpacks how it feels to be misunderstood and to not fit in: “I feel like there’s a little bit of Debbie in all of us, to be honest,” LØLØ tells tmrw.

A track built on shared experiences, the singer-songwriter captures the coming-of-age growing pains of being cast as an outsider. An emotionally intuitive artist, LØLØ has begun to make her name in candidly honestly lyrics and catchy hooks. With ‘Debbie Downer’ out now, we caught up with the singer-songwriter to hear more about her new song, her TikTok fame and her story on how she landed a Hopeless Records deal…

Hello! How’s your day going?

Hey, hello! I’m currently based in Los Angeles and my day is just getting started. Just walked to Starbucks and got my coffee and the sun is shining, so I would say it’s a great day so far.

You’ve just released a new track with Maggie Lindemann. Can you tell us how the collaboration came about?

I met Maggie because I was thrown into a writing session for her album. We had a really good session that day and then ended up writing a lot more together. The collaboration happened really naturally– since we were friends I sent her the song and asked if she’d want to be on it. At first, she said she loved it but the timing wasn’t good so I was actually planning on releasing it as a solo song. Then a month later while I was prepping for the music video and trying to get some friends to play parts in my video. I sent her the final song and asked if she’d want to be in it. All of a sudden, the timing was better and she wanted to be a part of the song as a duet. So we got together to rewrite her verse, recorded her vocals, re-recorded some of mine, changed the music video treatment and, voila, the ‘Debbie Downer’ collaboration was complete.

What does the song ‘Debbie Downer’ mean to you?

I created the character of Debbie to help me better express myself. She doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere, but she’s come to terms with that and is just trying to embrace it. She’s misunderstood, a little unhinged, and just trying to navigate this sick, sad world. ‘Debbie Downer’ means a lot to me.

You’ve described your music as a creative and emotional outlet, saying you previously wrote your feelings in a diary, but now you write songs. Given the personal nature of your music, how do you feel when fans resonate with what you write?

It’s definitely the coolest feeling in the entire world. It also kind of surprises me every time? I know it’s the goal of course, but every time somebody sends me a really heartfelt message or leaves a comment about how it really affected them/they relate hard– that shit never gets old. I don’t think there is any better feeling for a songwriter.

Do you have a favourite fan interaction moment?

There have been so many great ones. Actually, on my last tour with New Found Glory, we weren’t allowed to see fans after the show/at the merch booth due to COVID rules, but every now and then I would have a moment where I ran into someone by accident before or after the show, and those moments always made me so happy. In Raleigh, I met someone while I was walking to the bathroom, who I spoke to and he got to tell me about his brother who had recently passed. He gave me his bracelet. I then got to wear it on stage while I performed and that was really special, I’ll never forget that moment.

We’ve seen a growth in the alternative scene with the likes of Travis Barker and WILLOW returning to the genre. As an artist, what had it been like to see an alt/pop-punk revival?

It’s been amazing honestly. I think I got really lucky with the timing of my music. When I was working on my first outwardly more pop/rock song, ‘Hate U’, it wasn’t such a thing yet in music. Then when I got around to finally putting the song out, it was just unbelievable timing. I just happened to be making the kind of music that I guess is now very “in” at the right time haha.

There’s been a growth of upcoming alt and pop artists coming from Canada, like VALLEY who we love! Do you think the DIY Canadian music scene is having a promising moment?

Firstly, I love VALLEY!! I am a big fan. But yes, I feel like the Canadian music scene is honestly so great. I mean Bieber, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Alessia Cara, Drake… we kind of kill it! There’s a lot of Canadian music on the come up – some of my other faves in more of the alt scene are Jutes, Sophie Powers, renforshort, and WizTheMc.

In ‘Debbie Downer’, the track takes a look at projections imposed on young girls and women e.g. being viewed as “aggressive” or being seen as pessimistic. Have you experienced anything like this yourself?

Yes! I have 100 per cent – that was the inspiration for writing the song. I hope ‘Debbie Downer’ helps other girls laugh this kind of stuff off and embrace it, rather than feeling like they have something to be ashamed of.

You have built a dedicated following on TikTok. What has that experience been like?

I have a very complex relationship with Tik Tok. Tik Tok is so great to connect to people who listen to my music, and it’s so epic to help get my songs out there. At the same time, It’s also definitely soul-sucking, and sometimes it feels weird to try to promote my music. But hey, I guess you gotta do it these days!

Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I’m working towards another EP currently which I’m super excited about. I really feel like the songs I’m working on now are my best ever, and I hope you all agree!!

Watch the official music video for LØLØ and Maggie Lindemann‘s ‘Debbie Downer’ below now…

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