Some might call her a musical prodigy, but even that might not cover the amount of talent possessed by Lithuanian-born Loreta. Born into a family of highly respected musicians, it was only a matter of time before Loreta began performing. At the age of two she already knew that she wanted to continue the family legacy and follow in her parent’s footsteps. When she was only 4 she made a name for herself as she won the hearts of the Soviet Nation on a nationally televised contest, and by the age of 5, she was already being asked to perform for the Lithuanian President and was classically trained in piano.
Loreta spent her teen years rehearsing piano, singing, and dancing while living in Spain. After a brief modeling stint, her love for performing and art was reaffirmed and she moved to London where she immersed herself in her singing and art. Her Billboard charting song, “Trouble with Boys,” aired on Friends, which garnered her even more attention. Feeling like she had no creative freedom, she took time off and moved to Miami where she contributed her time to animal and gay rights as well as green policies. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is writing, recording, and producing songs for her debut album, which is expected next year.
Loreta recently talked to LA Music Blog about life as a child star, being from a family of musicians, her new album, and her love for Michael Jackson.
Tell us a little about your background in music.
I was born in Lithuania and both of my parents are well-known and respected artists. Basically, I was surrounded by music 24/7. I started singing professionally when I was four-years-old, and I started playing the piano when I was five. By the time I was seven or eight, I started writing songs.
I traveled around ex-Soviet Union countries, Europe, Germany, and other places touring and performing on television. When I was seven years old, I performed on my own for the first time in front of 20,000 people at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow. That was very exciting time for me.
You mentioned that you were born into a family of musicians. Do you think having that knowledge of the industry through your parents might have helped you?
Since my parents were both musicians, they were always very supportive. Sometimes when children want to go into the music business and their parents aren’t in it, they just don’t understand the passion for music and the whole business side of it. My parents were always guiding me through it and inspiring me, which was obviously an amazing experience.
My parents taught me how the recording process worked, how to act on television, doing videos and just the whole process. My parents took care of the business side of it all, of course. Growing up, I knew that’s all I wanted to do because I loved the creative side of the music business as well as the business side of it. I’d definitely have to say that it’s a blessing to come from a family where both parents are in the music business.
Do you think that your upbringing in Lithuania has influenced your current sound as far as the music you create?
Honestly, I mean, what influenced my sound was American R&B and pop music. I’ve never listened to Lithuanian pop music, honestly. I only listened to artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston—those were my influences. I always knew that I would end up living in the United States, even when I was like three or four years old. I guess I’m not sure how to answer that question. [LAUGHTER] But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love my country.
You mentioned Michael Jackson as one of your influences and you did a cover of “Stranger in Moscow.” What made you want to do a cover of that song in particular?
I never dreamed of doing a cover of a Michael Jackson song because there’s only one Michael and you just don’t touch that. It’s like if somebody tried to cover “Thriller,” you just don’t do that. Since Michael was my biggest inspiration, and still is to this day, it became a tribute to me. “Stranger in Moscow” was one of those songs that I’ve always felt very close to because of my past.
Growing up a child star and being able to travel around the world with my parents when I was little obviously created a lot of enemies at school. I was bullied at school. I didn’t have any friends, and kids were just really mean about all of it. I spent most of my childhood feeling very lonely. I mean, I did have a very happy childhood, but very lonely because I was misunderstood and unaccepted by my peers. When I heard “Stranger in Moscow,” it helped me realize that I’m not the only person who feels lonely and misunderstood. Michael suffered as a child star too. It was one of those songs that I could have written. It just felt very close and very real to me, so it was the perfect choice for a cover.
It seems like you haven’t really ever stopped traveling. You’ve lived in Miami, but what brought you to LA?
When I lived in London, I was signed to Warner Brothers. I traveled to LA about 11 years ago to do a radio tour after the single “Trouble With Boys” was released and used on the Friends soundtrack. I ended up meeting some amazing people at Warner Brothers including my current manager, Bruce Kirkland. When I left Warner Brothers, I took a little break from the whole music industry, and when I was ready to go back, Los Angeles was just the perfect place for me to move because I had amazing people there that I really trusted who believed in me. I’m very happy I moved here because it’s a great city to live in.
What made you choose to work with Brendan Hawkins?
He’s doing the remix for my first single with Brian Golub. The reason we chose him to remix the first single is because the remixes I’ve heard them do for other artists sounded very original without the general club sound. The remixes were just a bit more edgy and aggressive, which is what I was going for because that’s what this song is about.
What can we expect from the full album that’s coming out?
Personally, I think it is going to be a great album because I finally have the freedom to write what I always wanted to write and express what I’ve always wanted to express. I wrote the songs that are going on the album only when I was inspired to write. It wasn’t a situation where I had people telling me they needed three songs by Sunday. It was more like, “Oh my God, I have something to say, and I’m really feeling something.” I would go to the piano, start playing chords and then the lyrics and the melodies would come out. This album really is about my life, everything I’ve been through in life, a lot of pain, happiness and anger. I don’t think there’s much love. [LAUGHTER] It’s a very, very personal album.
Since you only wrote songs when you wanted to, how long did it take you to create the album from beginning to end?
I’m still writing it because I believe that I can write better songs so the process hasn’t stopped. It has probably been three years. I have about 100 songs, but I really want to be selective about it. I want to make sure that these songs still represent what I’m feeling when we do end up putting the album together and finalize it. I don’t want to have any fillers. I just want it to be a good album.
You said you sit down in front of the piano when you’re inspired, start playing chords that come to you, and start writing the melody around those chords. Is that typically how you write songs or was that a new process for this album?
Since I play the piano, I end up writing a lot of ballads and sometimes I get tired of them—I want some up tempos. Sometimes to write, I’ll go into the studio with different producers and we’ll make an up-tempo track. Then I’ll take that home, and I’ll end up writing the melody and the lyrics to it.
We are going to release the singles from this album in three languages: English, Spanish, and Russian. Because of this, we’re going to be marketing it globally, which is very exciting for me anyway. [LAUGHTER]
Do you have a dream producer that you haven’t had a chance to work with yet?
Absolutely, I love Linda Perry.
What makes you want to work with her?
I just love her. She’s very musical and her songs have chords, you know what I mean? It’s not just four chords throughout the song. The verse, the pre-chorus, and the chorus all have different chords. It’s real music. It’s not just beats and that’s what I love about her. Her melodies are incredible, and her lyrics have a lot of feeling. She’s a true songwriter. Obviously Quincy Jones is also amazing. Quincy and Linda Perry would be my two dream producers.
Do you have any tour plans to promote the upcoming album?
Absolutely. First we’re going to start releasing the first single in the clubs, then go to radio, and finally online marketing. We want to target the audience through the artist and audience connection route. I think that’s when you really are able to maintain a loyal fan base, when you interact with them personally. When we feel like we’re ready and have great, loyal fans then we’ll put out the album, which should happen next year. Obviously we need to do the tour to support the album, but also because I love touring so it would be fantastic to do that.
For more info on Loreta: