Lara Andallo is one of the shooting stars in RnB in Australia today. With an incredible voice, the Filipino-Australian singer/songwriter, musician and dancer has today released her debut EP, the emotive and deeply personal DIAMONDS & DEJAVU.
The EP is a powerful collection of six tracks reflecting upon her experiences of life, including love and relationships as a bisexual woman. The lead single for the EP is “Year 3000” a poignant anthem which is perfectly timed for World Pride. Recent singles “Head To Toe”, “Diamond In The Rough” and “What U Want” are on the EP, as well as two brand new tracks, “Candy Crushin/DEJAVU” and “Meantime”.
With regards to the title of the EP, Lara states: “Diamonds are made under pressure. All these songs were about moments where I felt like I was at a crossroads & under my own emotional pressure, yet had already faced in the past (like Deja Vu). Reliving & reflecting on these feelings from a more honest place while writing, lead me to being able to find power in my openness & embracing all my sides. There’s so much strength & beauty in that, and that’s what diamonds represent to me.
I caught up with Lara to chat about the EP, and in particularly about “Year 3000”, for which a beautiful and vulnerable video has also been released. Lara has also announced today an east coast tour of Australia in May and June. Dates for the tour are also listed below.
Hi Lara, Congratulations on DIAMONDS & DEJAVU! Must be exciting to get it out into the world?
Yes, it’s super exciting, and to get a lockdown project out as well. In 2020 I released a mix-tape, so this is my first debut project that I feel I really got to conceptualize
Fantastic – the lead single will be “Year 3000”. What’s so important about this one?
That song came smack in the middle of lockdown for me. I went through a lot of self reflection, and had my thoughts isolated like everyone did, and I got to a place where I was able to be more honest with myself and in my writing.
Some of my friends had been talking about wanting that old school love, that 90s love, and I was thinking do I even want that, as a bisexual woman in this day and age, the expectation and foundation of queer relationships, there’s a lot of external factors that come into play. That’s where I wish we fell in love in the Year 3000 came from.
To fall in love in a time when none of those external factors would affect the connection or relationship that you have with someone.
You’ve nailed the timing for it, coming out at the start of World Pride. What are you lokoing forward to at Pride?
For me – World Pride is just an energy, it’s that feeling of celebration that I love the most. I’m going to be at a bunch of events, and Song Hubs. I’m doing Song Hubs this week that Troye Sivan has curated. It’s a song writing week-long camp for Pride, of LGBTQIA+ queer creatives in a studio together that will be super exciting. Working together in one space.
In R&B and hip-hop especially, I feel like I don’t get to work with as many people in the community. I’ve got a show on the 4th March at GIRLTHING at the Bank Hotel in Newtown, which will be cool to perform for Pride as well
I also had a release party with Butter, Chivas Regal and Tiger beer early this week which was epic. It’s a busy time!
Who else worked on the EP with you ?
I worked very closely with Hugh Lake, the executive producer who recorded all my vocals on this project. I owe a lot to him specifically because Ifeel that that’s the closer producer/artist relationship I’ve had so far, and that’s what allowed me to be more open with the writing and creative process on the project. I’ve been reading up on you.
You started playing violin when you were three. You picked up saxophone, drums, piano, guitar, – how did you make the bridge from there to RnB ?
I was trained classically playing violin and saxophone. It was jazz and classical music really. I was handed sheet music and that’s how I learned music growing up. Then I started getting into dancing and I was dancing to RnB and hip hop. That’s when I started to think, ‘I can dance to this music, can I make this music?’. I used my knowledge of music, using guitar and piano, to get the RnB influence in there from my dancing.
The live shows – looking forward to those?
100% – it’s the favourite part of my process.
I’ve just been watching your video for “Head to Toe” – it’s pretty special
It was my first video from this new era – I thought it really represented me.
A lot of your songs are referencing you sexuality and relationships – it’s obviously a big motivator for you ….
100% – I feel that for this project, and where I’m at, evolving as a person, and artist, I’m realising that I can be more than one thing, and express different sides of myself, even if they are contrasting. They are polar opposites. I can be more than one thing and express those things at the one time.
What else have you been listening to? What’s the artists that are inspiring you ?
I take my inspiration from all the old school Rnb queens from the 90’s and 2000’s. The Janet Jacksons, Rhianna obviously – the half-time show at the Super Bowl was amazing! – I loved that!
And more recently, Kehlani who was just in Australia, SZA – all the RnB queens have been massive influences to me of course.
The “Year 3000” video was a big step for me personally. In comparison to the videos I’ve released so far, it’s a lot more stripped back and vulnerable. There’s less focus on the performance aspect and styling, and more of me as a person. And those vulnerable moments within myself and my sexuality. That video was very special to me.
Who did you make it with?
The video was directed by my creative director Melanie Or, and Killer Kreative who have done all the visuals for this EP. Adam Saunders and Lorelle Crawford also had a part in co-directing this video.
Another part of the video which was different tor me was that I tapped into my acting. Previously I’ve been dancing with lots of choreography. In this one, it was just me improvising on set. The directors I’m quite close to, and they were able to tap into the ideas we had when brainstorming for the video. To get to those moments and shoot them on screen was special.
Acting is another one of your passions it would seem?
For sure – I used to do short films when I was younger, so acting is something I love doing. I haven’t had a chance to tap into that yet, so it was great to bring it into the video.
How do you find time to do all these things? Singing, writing, acting, playing, orchestrating ….
Ha, this has always been my thing. I love being creative.
When you create your songs – do you use the piano, guitar?
It’s a bit of a mix – for a song like “Year 3000” there was more involvement with the piano. For my other tracks it usually starts with a beat and the producer having that ready to go.
When I started writing, the first songs I ever wrote were me and the guitar or me and the piano, when I didn’t know how to produce. It was a good five years where I was just writing songs on guitar and piano.
You’ve had some great supports over the years. Joel Corry, Baker Boy etc. Is there more touring on the horizon?
Yes, that was the first year post-covid that I got to do more touring. As you said Joel Corry and Baker Boy, and Blxst from the US was also a big highlight. I’m going to be touring this EP on the East coast of Australia in May and June – I can’t wait.
Nor can we – thanks for your time Lara.
LARA ANDALLO AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Wednesday 21 May – Mary’s Underground, Sydney NSW
Thursday 1 June – Laundry Bar, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 8 June – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
DIAMONDS & DEJAVU is out now on all streaming services. You can keep up to date with Lara Andallo via her Website, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube
Header image credit: Bruce Baker