Annie Lennox’s daughter: Why I used to sneak off and write my songs in the basement COME TRUE FOR LEGEND’S LITTLE GIRL
Lola on following mum into music
FOR most young music fans, having your mum listen to you singing in the bedroom could be embarrassing, to say the least.
And for eight-year-old Lola Lennox, it was such a worry she would sneak down to the basement of her family home to belt out her songs.
But then again, she had no ordinary mum – just one who happened to be one of the most successful female solo musicians of all time.
Now 30, Lola admits that stepping out of mum Annie’s shadow to follow in her famous footsteps hasn’t been easy.
“It took a while to tell her I wanted to be a singer-songwriter,” she says.
“When I was younger, it was intimidating to pursue something where the bar in my family was set so high so I’d sneak off to the basement to write songs, and make sure no one could hear me.
“When I finally did tell her, she was hesitant. She’s a protective mum who knows the ups and downs of the music industry. But after seeing me build my own path and draw so much joy from it, she’s wholly supportive and proud.”
Eurythmics legend Annie, 66, is a hard act to follow. She’s sold more than 80 million records and is worth around £44million. The Scot was named the Greatest White Soul Singer Alive by VH1, and one of the 100 Greatest of All Time by Rolling Stone.
Lola recalls going on tour with her mum and sister Tali as a wide-eyed nine-year-old.
She says: “Mum always found a good balance between being a mother and an artist on the road.
“She’d be clever about her scheduling and always prioritised us. We went to Australia and America. We’d join them for two weeks.
“It was such an adventure because I got to see shows
I see how hard she has worked, doing tons of takes. It’s inspired me LOLA LENNOX ON HER FAMOUS MUM, ANNIE
every night and sleep on the tour bus.
“I loved watching the shows. There’d sometimes be people who would dress up as mum. As a kid, it was surreal.”
Lola, whose dad is Israeli film producer Uri Fruchtmann, also recalls feeling “overwhelmed” when it came to meeting her mum’s famous pals backstage with Tali – now a 28-year-old model and artist.
“It would always be quite intense,” she says. “Mum would do Live Aid or charity events with big artists. You’d be, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy’. There were endless faces you would know.”
One of her mum’s celebrity pals was Lola’s music icon Stevie Wonder.
“I love him,” she says. “I met him when I was a kid.
“I can’t remember the chats but I have listened to his music all my life. He is such a lovely person.”
Watching these superstars in action spurred Lola on to find her own voice and she listened avidly to women with “powerful voices” such as Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. Lola’s own distinct voice on tunes La La Love Me and Back At Wrong leaves listeners feeling swept away.
She says: “It took work and experience and years of practice for me to come into my own as a singer.”
Lola was so determined to find her own voice that she didn’t turn to her mum for singing tips.
At the age of eight, she asked a teacher at school to give her lessons.
“From then, I got passionate about it and was learning songs all the time,” Lola says.
“I couldn’t see myself being anything but a singer, making my own music.”
Now, however, she’s not afraid to ask her mum for help. During lockdown, she got Annie – who lives near her in Los Angeles – to help produce her latest song, Wherever You Go.
She also teamed up with her Canadian musician boyfriend Braeden Wright so the record is a family affair.
“It was me, him and my mum,” Lola says. “It clicked super well. We made the music that I had in my head.
“We are all low-key, chill people so there were no family tussles. There’s a real synergy between us, a natural creative spark and a mutual respect for each other’s ideas.”
Lola first arrived in LA six years ago to be a backing singer at one of her mum’s shows – and found a wealth of writing partners and inspiration.
She says: “I came over here to do a job and fell into the right network of musicians. There are a lot of musicians out here open to writing with you. In London that was more of a hard nut to crack.
“I wrote 100 songs in a year-and-ahalf when I got to LA. I felt I was getting my chance to show myself as an artist.”
Lola says she has been hugely inspired by award-winning young
HITTING IT OFF Mum Annie worked with Lola on song
singer Billie Eilish and her working relationship with her brother, Finneas O’Connell. “I love that Billie and Finneas wrote the biggest album of the year in their bedroom,” she says.
“I have a studio at my home. It’s lockdown, you have to make it work.” Lola is also certain about the type of music she wants to make.
She explains: “It’s important for me to have songs that express who I am. I want to say something honest and direct, to touch people and give them an uplift or an outlet if they feel low. “It doesn’t feel like I am speaking my truth if somebody else has written the song.”
Despite having the support of her mum, Lola says she has known failure.
“It takes a lot of picking yourself up and trying again. I do have that in me,” she says. “I’m aware a failure isn’t the end of something, it’s a learning
FAMILY AFFAIR In studio together
opportunity. You have to have some tenacity and grit.
“You do have insecurities, you do doubt yourself – but you go, ‘OK, I’m at the beginning of this. I’m going to keep trying’.
“I’d encourage anyone starting out to be gentle on yourself and have faith that you will get better.”
And her mum’s top advice? “Have passion for the art of making. Truly love what you are doing. Hard work.”
Lola sees Annie – who is now married to doctor Mitchell Besser – as “a mum primarily” but says: “We chat like good friends. We are very close.
“I see how hard she has worked, doing tons and tons of takes. She is a big perfectionist.
“That has really inspired me. If you want to get to a level of excellence, you have to work really hard and keep going and going. Passion, determination and hard work are probably the things she has taught me the most.”