SXSW has ended and hordes of exhausted musicians and fans are pouring out of Austin. There is one question being asked of us zombies over and over: What is the best thing you heard?
My answer falls out of my mouth before the question is out: LOLO.
On Saturday morning, a dear friend invited me to 93.3 KGSR’s SXSW morning show. This perfect, annual four-day-long production is tucked inside the W downtown, but this was my first time attending. Lines for the event snake in the darkness of morning. Once inside, groggy, dedicated music lovers can grab a beer and a bloody mary and wake up the sounds of new and beloved SXSW artists. On Saturday, I was excited to see The Bright Light Social Hour and Walker Lukens perform (those words coming soon), but it was 29-year-old Lauren Pritchard that left me truly bewildered.
I don’t think it was even 9 a.m. when this deceivingly darling, blonde bombshell stepped before the quiet crowd. She opened her mouth and this...sound poured out of her.
If you’ve ever been in the same room as Adele, it felt like that-- where your knees feel loose and every hair on your body pulls away from your skin. I am right on track to go deaf at an early age, but I swear on all things precious I will never forget the sound Pritchard’s voice.
She was singing “Not Going To Let You Walk Away” from her recent 2016 album, In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit. With each word and note, I just felt the room swell. There are so few concerts that have moved me to tears, but it was the only way to respond. Even Pritchard fell to her knees after the song.
“I have spent my whole life doing this,” she said from the floor. “I don’t really care what time it is, or what day it is, or how tired I am. I have lived my whole life to sing because it is the only thing that ever made me feel better.”
She received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Pritchard has been making beautiful music for most of her short life. She was playing piano and writing songs before puberty, and cast as Ilse in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening as a teenager. Shortly after, she evolved as the composer-lyricist of the musical Songbird.
"I'm like a cat," she told the crowd. "[Living] many different lives in the music industry."
LOLO is her name for her solo singing endeavors-- to help better organize her remarkable resume.
We’ve spotlighted LOLO once before, but you need to keep a close watch on this talented woman. Writing, singing, dancing, performing-- there are few creatures on this planet who can master them all, and she has before 30. Give her your ears. Give her your time. There is no one more worthy. Hands down, she was the best artist to see at SXSW 2017.