INTERVIEW: Lara Andallo

Lara Andallo is the R&B princess that Australia desperately needs. The exciting newcomer has been impressing listeners and critics alike with her breakthrough singles ‘Confidential’, ‘180’ and ‘Said&Done’, and now she’s ready for them to get to know her more with her debut mixtape ‘For Her’ (out now). 

This collection of tracks hears her honing her craft as a songwriter and delivering a body of work that is very cohesive and captivating. From the catchy singles that you’ve already become well acquainted with, to the reflective ‘365’, the vibey ‘Proud Of Us’ and the future smash ‘Trophy’ which hears her standing up for female empowerment, there’s something for every R&B lover. 

I recently chatted to Lara Andallo about what the title of her debut mixtape ‘For Her’ means to her, dived into the creative processes of ‘Trophy’ and ‘365’ and found out why she thinks it’s so important that Australia finally puts a spotlight on R&B music. Check out the chat HERE; 

TB: Your debut mixtape ‘For Her’ hears you introducing yourself to listeners with a very strong collection of R&B songs. So reflecting on the six tracks as a whole, why did ‘For Her’ seem like the perfect title to represent the mixtape?

LA: Well I would say that the title ‘For Her’ has two meanings. The first one for me personally is about how I realised throughout the process of writing this music that I was really writing affirmations to myself. I was trying lift up myself and empower “her”, who was the person I was becoming.

Throughout that process I also realised that this music was “for her” or for young girls specifically who feel like they are outsiders and don’t have a place in this world. So those are the two reasons why I called my debut mixtape, ‘For Her’. 

TB: R&B music is currently getting a re-introduction on the international stage with artists like Ella Mai, Kehlani, Mahalia and Khalid leading the way. Where as in the Australian market there hasn’t been a spotlight on R&B for a while. So why do you think it’s important for an artist like yourself to break the mould here? 

LA: I don’t feel like R&B has ever really been established locally, and that’s a real shame because there is quite the market for it which is proven every time an international R&B act comes to Australia and they sell out their show and have to add more nights like Kehlani did. 

It’s these moments that show there are people here who really want to listen to that music and do listen through international voices. But locally we haven’t had anyone representing that space which I do think is really important. 

There are a lot of us (Australian R&B artists) coming through at the moment, and I’m really happy with where R&B is at the moment and I do think it’s the perfect time for it to break out at the moment. 

TB: Creatively, aesthetically and soncially, who are some R&B artists that you’re looking up to at the moment? 

LA: Kehlani is at the core of my artistry. She is the reason I became an artist and even had the courage to. From her as an artist to her self love side that she shows too, she is a huge inspiration to me. 

Then recently Dani Leigh has been a big one with her more trap influence sound along with her tight live show with her showcasing her dancing. 

Another one who will always be someone that inspires me as an artist and dancer is Tinashe. Her latest album was bomb! So so good! 

TB: The Mixtape has some great one-liners that are sassy, vulnerable and relatable, so what is one of your favourite lyrical moments from the collection? 

LA: That is a hard one! But most recently on my new single ‘Trophy’ there is a lyric that says “the kind of girl who got you connected like Bluetooth” which I love! When I wrote that I was like “oooooh, that’s a little fancy” *laughs*. 

But there is another line in ‘Trophy’ that I love that goes; “You can’t control me like Janet” which is a little throwback to Janet Jackson’s song ‘Control’, as she is also an artist that I love. 

TB: ’Trophy’ was an instant highlight while listening to the Mixtape and gave me some nostalgic R&B vibes that reminded me of Ciara and Christina Millan. So what was inspiring you in the studio when you were working on this track, and how long did it take to really finalise the sound and direction?

LA: Well that was the first song that myself and the producer Nic Martin made together. It’s funny because Martin was one of the first producers when I was seventeen to ever reach out to me. So this was the first time we could get into the studio together and it was so cool because it felt like a full circle moment. 

He played the beat for me and I instantly heard the guitars and thought it was so dope. It was giving me throwback R&B vibes and I just knew that I wanted to work on it. 

It came together pretty quickly. I was the studio with Nic who I co-wrote it with, and how I usually write my music is that I just freestyle on the microphone and get a melody from there. So it did come together pretty fast and I ended up having all of the melodies there and they perfectly intertwined with this concept that I had already written down of a trophy which I wanted to work on. 

The production already had so much attitude that I just knew I wanted to create a big female empowerment moment within it. 

TB: Sonically, ‘365’ is quite different to the other songs on the Mixtape with more of a melodical approach. So do you mind explaining the creative process behind this track and how it came together? 

LA: I started the track in my first ever all female session with Joy and Kota Banks and we worked on the top line together. The whole concept of the track was about what happens in a year during those 365 days that makes you who you are. 

I wrote this song before I wrote ‘180’ so I promise you that the numbers thing was completely coincidental *laughs*, we were just really vibing with the concept of a year. So with the self reflection concept I wanted to keep the production quite mellow and reflective to allow the lyrics speak for itself. So I worked with EdyOnTheBeat to make sure it captured those mellow vibes. 

TB: So with the whole concept of ‘365’, how is it to now look back on your last year and see everything that you’ve accomplished from signing to Warner Music Australia to putting out three singles and now putting out your debut mixtape? 

LA: It’s honestly crazy. It actually only hit me this morning that my debut mixtape will be out for the world to hear tomorrow even though I had a mixtape launch last week. It’s just so insane to me. 

I’m one of those people who take a little while to process things because I do move quite fast in my life so I need a hot minute to process everything. It takes me some time. She’s a bit slow *laughs*.

But it has been really interesting to watch it all unfold. Like for the fact that my debut single only came out 6 months ago and now I’m releasing my EP, like that is quite fast. And to also see how well I’m being received by people, especially being an R&B artist in Australia is so exciting.

TB: Your recently performed your debut headline show in Sydney. So reflecting on the process, what would you say was the most challenging thing about putting the show together?

LA: I mean I did literally put the whole show together myself *laughs*. But it was really cool to work on it with my friends as they believed in the vision just as much as I did. 

I did put in a lot of hours with the headline show to get it to where I wanted it to be, and my dancers, musical director and DJ really pushed themselves to go over the top and work just as hard with me which I appreciated so much. 

I love being in the rehearsal space and building a live show so it was so cool having these genuine energies in the room working towards the same thing. 

I choreographed the whole show with a friend of mine before we brought it to the dancers, and then brought it to the music studio where I was working on it with my DJ and music director. 

I honestly love the whole creative process but performing it was yet another incredible feeling and so special. 

TB: You’re also an incredible dancer, so how early on did you know that having dancers implemented into the show was always going to be important for you and your artistic vision?

LA: It was never a question in my mind. Dance is where I found my confidence as a person and as a performer. So when I’m dancing, that’s where I really find my confidence.

I used to be really shy, so dance is what broke through that and helped me find a stage presence and helped me get out of my shell. So I always knew that once I got to doing a live show that I needed to incorporate dance and show people who I really am. 

TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. You ready?! 

LA: I’m ready! 

TB: The emoji that best describes my mixtape ‘For Her’ is…

LA: The padlock.

TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…

LA: be able to teleport.

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

LA: A big YES.

TB: Most mornings I…

LA: Read.

TB: If I was to have a drink inspired by me, it would be called the…

LA: Pina CoLARA.

‘For Her’ is out now on all streaming platforms