Home MusicMusic Interviews Exclusive Interview: Lolly talks about her career, the music industry, and nostalgia

Exclusive Interview: Lolly talks about her career, the music industry, and nostalgia

by Jonathan Currinn
12 minutes read Send a Virtual Coffee ☕
Photo Credit: Mark Cavill

In the world of ’90s and ’00s pop music, certain names evoke a wave of nostalgia that transports us back to a time of catchy tunes, colourful fashion, and carefree summers. Among these cherished icons is Lolly, whose infectious songs and vibrant persona made her a household name during that era.

With huge hits to her name from the ’90s and ’00s including “Mickey” and “Viva La Radio”, Lolly (real name Anna Kumble) has proven herself as a nostalgic queen to ’90s kids. In 2020 she released two new singles titled “Paper Rain” and “Stay Young and Beautiful” as well as going on to perform around the UK including ’00s festivals and events. She’s a Y2K star and we were so honoured to chat with her in our exclusive interview, where she talked about her career and most recent music.

Hi Lolly, how have you been recently? You’ve been busy performing at events this year, what has it been like for you to perform, especially in recent years when ‘90s and ’00s nostalgia is making a comeback?

The crowds have been amazing and the feeling of happiness from them is overwhelming. Now we’re talking about something I did from so long ago and seeing that it’s still remembered and enjoyed is just awesome, no other words could describe it.

Promotional headshot photo of Lolly posing with slick back hair and a flower tied in, with her make-up on point.

Nostalgia has become a big thing recently, with ‘90s babies now all grown up and you were a big part of their childhood, so we imagine this is why ‘90s and ‘00s festivals have been popping up over the last few years. What’s it like seeing these people who still know your songs to this day and are singing along with you while you’re on stage? And what’s it like meeting these people and fans?

I feel like I can’t thank them because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do now, and for them I am truly grateful.

With the resurgence of ‘90s and ‘00s nostalgia, with bands like Steps (who you toured with), S Club, Blue, Five, B*Witched, and so many others making a huge comeback, can we hope for a Lolly resurgence? Have you got any more new music on its way?

Hahaha, not on the cards at the moment but never say never!

Let’s take it back to 1999 when “Mickey” became a massive hit and it still remains a beloved classic, especially to ‘90s kids who were probably unaware that it was a cover version of the Toni Basil ‘80s hit. What do you think it is about that song that continues to captivate audiences today?

It’s definitely the catchy chant that makes the song so iconic, which was actually originally called “Kitty” by the band Racey!

Do you remember how you came about to do the cover version of “Mickey”?

Ooo I think the producer suggested that we should do it, I always loved the song when I was little and used to do performances of it to my parents, lord help them! So it was a big yes from me!

Your debut hit single “Viva La Radio” was also a massive success in the late ’90s. What was the inspiration behind that song, and what do you remember most about recording it?

I remember recording the demo for it in the docklands, London. I had so much fun in the studio that whether I got signed or not it didn’t matter as I just loved doing it. Luckily they loved it along with three other songs we recorded and then got signed.

The debut track was your launch into the music industry, the charts, and the music world as a whole. What are your memories of how you got into the music industry, signing your record label and the promo work around the release of the single?

To be fair it was all a bit of a blur, lots and LOTS of ridiculous meetings with execs testing me to see if I had any skeletons in the closet. I used to make up all sorts of nonsense like saying I did an X-rated movie with an Elvis Presley lookalike!

Haha would’ve loved to have seen their faces for that one! We still love “Per Sempre Amore”, it’s just got that timeless pop song quality about it, while “Big Boys Don’t Cry” will always be known as your awesome pop ballad. Can you tell us more about these tracks? How did they come about and how were they chosen as the singles you would release?

When it came to the single releases the A&R team always had the last say so even if you didn’t want to do a certain single there wasn’t really any choice, but luckily we all agreed on everything. There was only one single that I didn’t want to do but had to and that was my last one, which initially led to me leaving Lolly behind for a while.

Your most recent tracks, “Stay Young And Beautiful” (2018) and “Paper Rain” (2020), have delighted your fans. Can you share the inspiration behind these songs?

“Paper Rain” was written for my daughter when she was struggling in school and just wanted to let her know that I’d always be there for her. I can’t fight her battles for her but she’ll know that I’ll always be there for her. “Stay Young and Beautiful” was written for all the youngsters to just not grow up too fast and simply stay young and beautiful because you’re always enough. It was also a thank you to all the fans as when my music went digital I was completely overwhelmed by the love for my music so this was my way of sharing my love to all of you.

Navigating the music industry can be challenging. What advice do you have for aspiring artists who look up to you and are trying to break into the industry today?

Always be true to yourself, there are so many people who try and give you advice, and I can understand that it can be too much to cope with. So I’m not going to sit here and lecture you on the way to live your life but I will say surround yourself with positive people and always listen to your gut instincts, if it feels wrong then you are allowed to say no and walk away.

Looking back on your career, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about the music industry and about yourself as an artist?

I’ve learnt that record labels are just business and I’m so happy that now you don’t need them and seeing people succeed as independent artists is just incredible to watch.

And, finally, do you have a message to all your fans, from the ones who have followed you since you dropped your debut in 1999, to the kids who are discovering your music due to their parents who grew up with your music, to the new fans who stumble across your music on streaming platforms?

Thank you. And let’s keep flying the Lolly flag. I love it, I love it!

Thank you, Lolly, for taking the time to answer our questions, we loved chatting with you and your music will forever be a part of our everyday playlists! You’re a total superstar!

“Paper Rain” and “Stay Young and Beautiful” by Lolly are both available to download and stream, right now, across all platforms. Grab onto that Y2K nostalgia and stream Lolly’s music on your favourite streaming platform.

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