Lowell on her song “LGBT” and lending a track to the “Faking It” mid-season finale

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lowellbynormanwongphotos by Norman Wong

If you found yourself Shazam-ing the song in the final scene of Faking It’s midseason finale, chances are you’ve already become obsessed with Lowell, the artist behind that infectious banger called, “Cloud 69.” “Cloud 69” is just one catchy song in the Calgary-born/Toronto-based singer’s debut album, We Loved Her Dearly, which dropped last September.

A self-professed control freak, Lowell’s sound is all her own. With the support of a trusted production team, Lowell produces and writes all her own music. And while her songs might sound like fun, synth-y sticky-sweet pop to play at your next rager, she makes it a point to ensure that each song has underlying message of empowerment, for herself and for her fans.

Here, the up-and-coming artist, who’s currently on a national tour, discusses her obsession with pop, manufactured rivalry in the music industry, and her grand plan to infiltrate the minds of homophobes.

AfterEllen.com: How did you get into music and find your sound?

Lowell: I got into music as a kid and then decided I wanted to do it as a career when I turned 18. I found my sound by exploring different types of music. My signature thing is that I mostly listened to pop music as a kid and then switched to this sort of alternative realm, like Sufjan Stevens and Broken Social Scene, for awhile and then switched back to pop. Now I’m obsessed with pop. 

AE: Who are you obsessed with right now, pop-wise?

Lowell: The thing is that I’m not so obsessed with pop artists, I’m just more obsessed with the idea of pop music and what it can be, what it’s becoming.

AE: What do you think it’s becoming?

Lowell: I think it’s becoming something with a lot more integrity than it had a couple years ago. It’s so competitive. As a ghost writer, I’ve learned how difficult it is to get a song cut by an artist. It doesn’t just take a good song. That’s a common misconception. There’s a lot of politics involved and a lot of intelligence and strategy. I would say that comes even before the music. I don’t think it’s right, but I think it it’s fascinating. I’m just obsessed with the culture of it. But also just the idea of a perfect pop song, it’s like trying to bake the perfect cake. You have to really study everything that’s going on in pop culture to understand how to do it. 

AE: I feel like in pop music there’s a tendency to pit people against each other, especially when it comes to female artists.

Lowell: Yeah that’s true. I would say that people even do that to me. People always want to know what I think of Taylor Swift and Beyonce and Miley Cyrus. I just think that they’re all great. Anybody that’s empowered for any reason is great. At least they care about stuff, at least they care about the music that they do, and about our culture and being role models for women. It is frustrating that people try to pin other people against each other because I think it’s really detrimental to us moving forward, but it’s OK. We have a tendency to get off on drama. I’m not really interested in that.

AE: Your music tackles everything from LGBT rights to gender politics. How did they become part of your songwriting?

Lowell: I just struggled a lot as a female artist so I was just speaking from my own experiences. I became more motivated to speak about those things after I realized what I was writing about and what my struggles were. When I first started writing these songs, I was expressing emotions of frustration, but as I sort of moved forward through producing the album and releasing it, I started becoming more in tune with what those emotions were, and it made me think that if I could identify it maybe other people could do the same thing. Identifying the issues of gender and equality that I didn’t realize were there before actually empowered me and that knowledge made me capable of doing more.

AE: Does it ever make you feel vulnerable? Do you ever worry that you’d be misunderstood?

Lowell: I don’t really worry about it. I’ve never thought about it. People have an issue with feminism sometimes because a lot of times the people that are saying they’re feminists, which they are, sometimes don’t know entirely what that means. I don’t mean that in a condescending way, it’s just that sometimes you feel things and you don’t understand what that is, but you know want to be more empowered. We don’t have a lot of time in the day to figure out these things. So, sometimes I think people have these initial instincts to make them feel more empowered and that’s great, but maybe people that have thought about it more find it under-calculated so they have a tendency to judge others. 

But who knows what’s right? All I know is I’m expressing myself as a woman wanting to do more and wanting to feel empowered. 

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