Lavande interviews pop artist Lemon Lord.
Los Angeles based Nora Germain is already a successful violinist and author, but by adopting the alter ego Lemon Lord, she has also made her mark on the pop music scene. Her debut album Be Blonde (released by Infinity Records in November 2020) has a feel-good, motivational sound, and tracks such as ‘Superpower’ and ‘Destiny’ are fiercely feminist as well as fun and catchy, making her a rising star in the music world. I had the pleasure of talking to Lemon Lord about releasing music during a pandemic, girl power, and how she has been inspired by the other aspects of her career.
Your debut album Be Blonde was released in November of last year - what has the reaction been like over the last few months?
Obviously launching anything during the pandemic is going to be tricky, but I felt I couldn't wait any longer to start sharing my music and vision with the world, so that's what I did. I'm really happy to have over 50K streams of my album on Spotify alone so far and my Instagram is growing every day. I love when people send me their playlists and I see my songs on them. It really makes my day to know that people are listening to the music and enjoying what the songs are about and how they make people feel. Everything is just barely getting started, but if I can inspire just one person, I feel that's a huge success, touching just one person's heart!
How would you describe your sound as an artist?
I've said before that I consider myself to be a spiritual combination of all five Spice Girls - and they have been a huge musical influence on me ever since I was a young girl. I love pop music, I love dance pop, I love the feeling of girl power in a song, and over the decades we've gotten that really strongly from people like Madonna and Britney Spears. Some male artists like David Bowie and Prince have also inspired me a ton, especially when it comes to writing songs. My sound is all about never giving up, telling the truth and bringing people together around a vision of strength, hope and fun, no matter who or where they are.
Be Blonde was such an empowering album to listen to. What inspired you when you were writing it?
Thank you so much! I wanted to make an album that gave people hope and made them want to dance. I wanted to tell stories and jokes about love, romance, make up, dreams, outer space and anything that made me really feel alive. Star Wars, the original trilogy, was a big inspiration to me. I love Princess Leia and the humour and power she has. I had also been watching documentaries about Princess Diana, who was such an icon of grace and strength for the whole world. Strong women from films and from real life were my main inspiration.
Do you have a favourite lyric from the album? (mine is probably “I love what I got/ celebrate it every day” from ‘Paint My Face’)
Thank you! That song is really special to me, which is why it's the first on the album. It kind of sets the tone for what comes next in the musical journey through the songs. In that particular song, in the second verse, I say, "Whoever said you're just not good enough/ That's the one who's really got it tough." Basically, that lyric means that you should feel sorry for the people who feel sorry for you, and that judging someone else or placing limitations on someone else is a really unfortunate place to be as a person. Always believe in one another.
I was so interested to learn about your incredibly successful career as a jazz violinist. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes, of course. When I started writing songs for LL (Lemon Lord), I realized I would need to become two different people. One is Nora, a violinist, and the other is LL, a pop music artist. I love playing violin and I have been really fortunate to do some amazing shows, recordings and so forth with great people and with my own groups. Just before the pandemic I performed on Ellen with Lewis Capaldi which was amazing and I also released my ninth jazz album in 2020, so that side of me is always going to be there. My career as a violinist and knowledge of jazz and other music, how music works and so forth - has really helped LL succeed, and LL has given Nora the freedom to keep playing whatever she wants on violin without feeling stuck. I really believe that I need to be both of these people and that one makes the other possible. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next few years look, now that I've publicly adopted an alter ego.
You’ve been called a “tricon” - in reference to your achievements as a violinist, an author and a pop artist and you open up about these “multiple dimensions” in the song ‘Paint My Face’. Are these identities separate, or do you feel they inspire each other?
They definitely inspire one another, but they are separate. Nora and LL both live within me but you won't ever see them at the same time if that makes any sense. I don't think it's helpful or useful for us to put limits on ourselves or on other people. What's important in life is that you use your gift(s) in a way that makes you proud. Many people in pop culture and throughout history have embraced different sides of themselves. Jim Carrey is an actor but also a painter, for example. And Lady Gaga has her jazz side of things and so on and so forth. The real sin in life is to close yourself off from a dream. That is when things start to fall apart, I feel. If you say yes - you can work out the details later.
What music or artists are you loving at the moment?
I'm really proud of my friend Jon Batiste who just won a Golden Globe for his music on "Soul." He's coming out with a new album that's going to be great. On the pop side of things, I respect and cheer for Taylor Swift who is re-recording a portion of her catalogue so that she can have financial control over it. I respect that work ethic and the desire to tell your own story and the resolve that that takes. Lady Gaga's Chromatica was so beautiful to me - especially her song ‘Free Woman’ which did not get as much attention as some of the other songs. The pop charts are mostly R&B and slightly more soft-spoken pop these days. You don't see as much high energy music or songs about empowerment anymore, but I hope to be one of several artists who changes that soon and adds a little more of that to the world.
Finally, inspired by your amazing track ‘Queen’, if you were the Queen for a day, what would you do?
‘Queen’ is one of my favourite songs on my album. It's about having conversations with your future self, as well as however else people would like to interpret the song. As a real-life queen, I would try to encourage people to go to therapy, because everyone needs it, for something. I would also encourage people to not give up on each other or themselves and to find the strength to keep going. Your dream is your dream for a reason. It's calling to you from the future. You have to stand up and advocate for yourself and be strong for your vision. I would tell everyone to do that.
“Thank you so much for asking these questions, for including me in Lavande Magazine, and for streaming my songs.”
xo LL (@iamlemonlord)