Lola Young’s latest music video “Woman” opens with a statement. “I’m only going to say this once, what you’re about to see is woman,” declares Young, her baby curls gelled into gentle waves across her forehead. “In all their glory, in all their pain, unapologetic in their self-love and unashamed in this moment of vanity.” What proceeds is a triumphant ode to womanhood in all its glory, where Young explores her own thoughts and ideas about where she sees herself in contemporary society.
Throughout, a diverse cohort of courageous women dance fully nude, seemingly without a care in the world. The 19-year-old South London native wanted these women to be in charge of their own narratives. Through the lens of director Olivia Rose – who has previously worked with Skepta, Jorja Smith and J Hus – these women are as sexy as they are vulnerable, strong as they are brave. “I loved [Olivia’s] treatment and then fell in love with her from having one zoom call,” says Young. “She was absolutely perfect, so encouraging as a director – especially as there were high nerves on set.”
The single is the rising British star’s most acclaimed to date. Yet quickly after the video’s release, YouTube threatened to place an 18+ filter on the video, and Apple Music practically refused to upload it entirely. “When nudity is being shown for artistic reasons I don’t understand why it needs to be censored. People below the age of 18 should be able to see a nipple and not feel like they’ve seen something wrong,” she explains. Still, Young wouldn’t let her spirits be dampened. The star will celebrate the success of “Woman” and her neo-jazz Renaissance EP – released back in May – with a socially distanced show at Camden’s Jazz Cafe next month. But for now, get to know more about this knock-out talent as we ask her 10 questions.
1. Where’s one hidden South London gem that everyone needs to visit?
“Probably Crystal Palace park, only because I couldn’t think of anywhere else lol. But it’s a really nice park and very nostalgic for me as it played a big part in my growing up.”
2. Can you remember any lyrics to the first song you ever wrote?
“Yes, it was an awful song and it’s the earliest song I remember writing. It was about Santa and Christmas, it had the lyric “Santa is coming shhh!” I think I’ve come quite a long way…”
3. Who would you say is your greatest musical influence?
“I couldn’t pick one but Prince, Frank Ocean or Joni Mitchell. They’re my top three at the moment.”
4. If you could only eat from one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would it be?
“A lovely Thai restaurant or Five Guys. I’m not the healthiest but I love Thai food, and Five Guys do the best hotdogs.”
5. What’s so great about being a musician in London?
“I love being a musician in London. In my opinion, there’s a lot of culture here and so much to see and do at all times, so many different types of people. That helps me so much creatively.”
6. What’s your favourite South London saying?
7. Who are the three most inspiring women in your life?
“My mum, and my three sisters. I love them and they are all so inspiring in many different ways.”
8. What’s your go-to song on the karaoke?
“Probably “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera, I can’t sing it at all but I try.”
9. What’s one item everyone should have in their wardrobe?
“A pair of shoes, shoes changed my life and I have far too many pairs.”
10. Have you picked up any hobbies during lockdown?
“None, I realised if music doesn’t work out, I think I’m screwed.”
by Paul Toner