Welcome to the very first installment of Almost Famous, a weekly segment where we ask up-and-coming queer musicians some hard-hitting questions about music and life and maybe even convince them to show us photos of their cats. Get to know intimate details about your new favorite artist or band before they hit the Big Time and become too famous for us to interview for real.
Header by Rory Midhani
San Francisco, CA
Lila Rose is a queer Canadian-born, San Francisco-based solo artist whose music “bends the genres of electronica, indie pop, trip-hop and alternative rock around an emotional core”. Her 2012 debut album Heart Machine is killer and, with her latest single “Obsession” racking up over 10,000 views in the first few months, I’m not alone in thinking so. Having just completed a west coast tour with her five-piece band, Lila is now back in the studio working on her next album.
How would you describe your music?
The music has been coined as “cinematic indie-pop” by my producer, David Earl. Honestly, that just about says it! It’s like Florence + the Machine meets Radiohead, a real merging of indie-rock and electronic music.
What instrument/s do you play?
I currently (regularly) play the guitar, a bit of keys for composition, percussion, and A LOT of voice playing. I will pretty much figure out, and play any instrument that is put in front of me whether it’s a flute, kalimba, a saw, steel pans, etc. If it’s playable, I will play it!
Which song would you most like our readers to hear?
For Autostraddle readers specifically, I’d recommend “Heart Machine”. You’ll see why.
Ed. note: I really think everyone needs hear “Obsession” as well.
What is your ‘guilty pleasure’ music?
Nasty top 40 hip-hop. Yup… it makes me bounce.
What inspires you to write?
Generally it is difficulties that inspire me to write. Darkness, conflict, turmoil, depth, recovery, breakthrough, breakdown, stories, word, phrases, emotions, hope.
What do you do outside of making music?
Snuggle my cat (A LOT), learn/try new things however I can, hiking, being active in any way, connect with my amazing friends and community, write, cook healthy vegan food, figure out ways to save the planet, paint, take pictures, dance, lay in the sun, read, watch movies, hang out with my godson Maitreya, dream. Dream a lot.
CDs, MP3s or vinyl?
I would love to be cool and say vinyl, and nothing will ever beat that original sound, but it’s just not practical (for me). I love the light weight (non-weight) of mp3’s and how easy they are to purchase. They allow me to check out so many new artists regularly to keep me fresh and inspired. I love the availability of new art constantly.
What is the best and worst thing about touring?
Best thing: making music every (or many) nights a week. I live for this — it fuels me. And with the live shows we get to meet the fans in person and create that real life connection. I LOVE this.
Worst thing: not having time to hang out in all the cool places! We wake up, drive to a new city, set up for sound check, play, sleep, and do the next thing. My ideal tour will allow at least a day in each location to really check things out. I adore exploring and discovering new things.
If you could share a line-up with any two other artists?
Bjork and Portishead. You can be sure when that day comes I will be screaming for joy on the inside!
Do you have any pets?
YES! My kitty Egypt is the fluffiest snuggle muffin of all time. Just looking at her, or even thinking about her (like right now) makes my heart warm and fluffy. She has absolutely no idea her name is Egypt and she only responds to my ridiculous cat noises which my roommates have learnt to copy for when I’m on tour or out of town.
Lila’s album “Heart Machine” is out now via Lila’s website, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and CDBaby.
Everything else you’d like to know about Lila you can find here:
If you are, or know of, a queer artist or band that should be featured in Almost Famous, drop me the details via crystal [at] autostraddle [dot] com. Please write ‘Almost Famous’ in the subject line!
Loving that ominous feel to her songs.
And that chorus in Heart Machine….I said goddamn. Goddamn.
Definitely seeing that Portishead influence.
Egypt the cat definitely rocks, too!
I’m only 4 tracks in, but this album is already making my morning.
that really is the best cat photo i’ve seen all day
Ooh thanks! I love it.
I saw Lila Rose perform at Toronto Pride a few years ago, and it was a sound and performance that stayed with me ever since (“Strap it to ya” was fun and caught my attention, but “Warrior” broke my heart and rebuilt it within a 4 minute time span). Her music is eerie, sexy, beautiful and addictive. Heart Machine was a first day purchase for me, and I make everyone I can listen to her. I don’t know how she’s not more famous.
No matter how many times I hear her sing “I’m one in a million, girl.” I still get weak in the knees.
Anyways, so glad to see her featured on here! She’s fantastic and deserves so much more recognition. (This is slightly selfish, because the bigger she gets the more likely a Canadian tour is!)
Also, I wrote in to Autostraddle a while ago about how amazing she is and now, it’s my birthday today and there happens to be an article on her! It’s making me unreasonably happy.
Oh, Autostraddle. I love how you do that thing you do. :)
This is brilliant. Top of my CD purchase list!
YASS! Sensational new setup, Crystal! Where’s the GIF for the feelings I’m feeling?? Totally elated to see the glory of Autostraddle and Lila Rose together at last, (& Egypt too); it’s only the beginning. Weeerrrk!
I won’t lie, I definitely had to skip over the article before reading, and look for the cat photo.
AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.
Heart Machine got me hooked, listening to her album now. I’m very impressed in how she balances multiple genres to make something that actually flows very well. <3 I'll be listening to this one a few times
and I will definitely be looking forward to this weekly segment!
I love seeing queer artists. I always have some issues with my gay friends about the gay mens culture idolizing straight female icons, and heteronormative pop music. It’s ok sometimes, but I think that it’s so nice to see and support members of the community.
i came in for the cat picture and left with some new music. nice.
Wow she’s amazing.
But I think it’s a shame that she shares a name with an anti-abortion activist who thinks that America should be based on ‘Judeo-Christian values’.
I was horrified when I googled her, and I was like wait, this can’t be the same person. Luckily, they are two completely different people(: