Interview: Lola Young Dives into Her Empowering & Impassioned Ode, “Woman”

Lola Woman © 2020
Vulnerable, heartfelt, and polished, “Woman” is Lola Young’s stirring ode to and unapologetic embrace of womxnhood.
Stream: “Woman” – Lola Young



I’m only going to say this once. What you’re about to see is Woman: In all their glory, in all their pain; unapologetic in their self-love, and unashamed in this moment of vanity. We are powerful; we are…

British singer/songwriter Lola Young opens her most empowering release to date with a raw foreword of sorts; an author’s note introducing the subject matter at hand, establishing both the context for the art we are about to experience and why we are experiencing it. Vulnerable, heartfelt, and polished, “Woman” features Lola Young in her finest hour with a stirring ode to and embrace of womxnhood. Unapologetic and fierce, it’s a seismic emotional outpouring and a stunning expression of love and respect not just for herself, but for all the womxn in her life.

Woman - Lola Young

Woman – Lola Young

Woman: I want you on my body
but I shouldn’t
Cause I’m a woman
Just a woman
Open, everything about you
leaves me open
But I’m a woman
Just a woman
I swallow all my pride for you
But it’s you that kills it
This house is not a home for me
When it’s you that builds it
I don’t wanna wake up alone
I’m no good at broken
I’m a hopeless, boneless, coping…

Many great songs have been named “Woman,” and few have come as close to capturing the essence of womxnhood as Lola Young’s “Woman.” Released July 27, the artist’s follow-up to her April EP Renaissance is an effortless, intimately charged upheaval in the very best of ways. The 19-year-old pours herself out in an achingly honest dedication. “‘Woman’ is a song about female empowerment,” Young shared upon the track’s release. “It’s a song about how I feel towards the patriarchy, but also an introspective piece that looks at the gender roles and how these can be broken down. This song means a lot to me because it’s something I had never previously written about and it has an honest vulnerability to it that I hope makes people feel an understanding towards us women.”

I wanted to write an ode to women because I felt it was important, where we are socially, to use my voice to empower women and their bodies in particular.

Lola Young © 2020

Lola Young © 2020

Young’s lyrics bounce between empowerment, common critiques and double-standards for womxn, and pure assertions of strength, inner and outer beauty. She sugarcoats nothing, painting a vivid portrait of her female experience in a patriarchal society. As a song, “Woman” balances this structural imbalance with a feverish dedication to overcome, persevere, and embody the artist’s womxnhood. This vision comes to life in Young’s Olivia Rose-directed music video. “I wanted to make this video because I believe women are all undeniably strong, sexy, free, brave, vulnerable, raw and powerful, and that we do not have to hide away,” Young explains. “We do not have to remain unseen, our bodies should never be sexualised or a taboo conversation, or only seen through the male gaze. We have the ability to normalise our bodies being on show, and accept them for their differences, as It’s important to remember those differences are currently often shamed. I came up with the idea of the women in the video being fully nude. The energy on set was insane, I have never felt more empowered in my life. Nipples, bums, rolls, stretch marks, cellulite, all of these things are beautiful along with the ‘perfect’ body.”

This is my personal experience of being a woman; hopefully other women will have their own take on what it means to them.

I’m woman
I think when I should’ve when I shouldn’t
‘Cause I’m a woman
Just a woman
Oh yeah
Everything you do is like I owe ya
And I don’t go cause I’m a woman
Just a woman

Lola Young’s “Woman” is uncompromisingly soulful, impassioned, and utterly electrifying. Co-produced with Wolf Tone founder and producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and the Machine, Rihanna), it is without a doubt the most mature offering we have yet heard from the emerging artist – a vivid immersion of intoxicating, deep grooves and heated vocals with a clear, strong vision.

Lola Young recently spoke to Atwood Magazine about the inspiration and sentiments of “Woman,” her own experience of womanhood, and more. Dive into this exciting new artist and her empowering song.

I hope people learn that a woman’s body should not be a taboo conversation. They should be seen as beautiful like bodies are… A tit is just a tit, get over it.

Lola Woman © 2020

Lola Woman © 2020

A CONVERSATION WITH LOLA YOUNG

Woman - Lola Young

Atwood Magazine: Hey Lola, congrats on your new single “Woman”! It’s a beautiful song. For starters, why did you want to write an ode to women everywhere?

Lola Young: I wanted to write an ode to women because I felt it was important, where we are socially, to use my voice to empower women and their bodies in particular. It’s something I feel very strongly about: That women do not have to hide their bodies away in order to feel modesty.

What attracts you to the subjects of both female empowerment and strife?

Lola Young: I don’t really know what attracts me to it; I guess I just feel things like most people do and because of this I want other people to feel things when listening to my music. This is quite a political song and I have always been attracted and interested in social politics so the fact that women’s bodies are definitely over sexualised is something I thought would be interesting to write about, as I haven’t heard many other songs speak about this.

I’m curious, if you don’t mind sharing, if there have been any moments in your own life that either inspired this song, or were times you wish you had had this song to listen to and gain strength from?

Lola Young: I think general experiences of men feeling entitled, definitely inspired this song but also just the simple fact that I think women go through so much shit with their bodies and feel like they are either not worthy enough or feel guilt and shame around being free with their bodies.

Lola Young © 2020

Lola Young © 2020

You open with the line, “Woman. I want you on my body, but I shouldn’t, ‘cause I’m a woman - just a woman.” Can you talk about the significance of these lyrics?

Lola Young: These lyrics speak about the fact that when women want sex or just a simple lustful relationship not only are they shamed for wanting this but also they are told they shouldn’t. But I wrote this song to provoke the question of why? Why do women feel like they shouldn’t want these very healthy very natural things? Why can a man be sexually active and when a woman is they are seen as nasty or dirty or even ‘ a slut ‘ I leave that question open but I really believe there’s no valid answer. It doesn’t make sense.

I swallow all my pride for you
But it’s you that kills it
This house is not a home for me
When it’s you that builds it
I don’t wanna wake up alone
I’m no good at broken
I’m a hopeless, boneless, coping…
Woman…

You repeat the word “woman” again and again, really emphasizing the identity both associated with and taken from the word. What does that word, “woman,” mean to you?

Lola Young: The word “woman” means very different things depending on how I’m feeling. However, in general I’d say the word woman means the ability to be strong whilst being emotional. The ability to be many things at once. To me it means being free whilst at some points being quite the opposite, but it also is about how we change that little by little and how a woman is of course different from a man, but nevertheless just as powerful.

Are there any women in particular that you look to as inspiration?

Lola Young: I look up to my mum of course. She is an incredible striking woman. So strong yet at times vulnerable and I admire that in her every day.

On the surface, “Woman” is quite a simple song, but with its nontraditional structure and evocative vocals it’s far more than meets the eye. What are you most proud of about this song?

Lola Young: I’m most proud of the lyrics in this song I think although on first listen it sounds like I’m almost in pain it later reveals that I’m a mixture of emotions, angry, vulnerable, in denial even. I like the fact that the lyrics take you on a short journey through my experience being a woman.

What was your experience like working with Paul Epworth?

Lola Young: It was amazing working with Paul. I started the song with my friends Manuka and then I took it to Paul and he also did his magic. He is such a sweet humble, kind yet super talented guy. I was quite nervous working with him at first but he’s such a laugh and we get along so well.

Your singing is truly raw and fearless in this song. How did the recording process for capturing some of these intimate lines shake out? What was that performance like, for you?

Lola Young: It was hard work recording the vocal for this song, but I really made sure I put myself in the place when singing that meant I could really feel the lyrics and the melody. It was tough and it took a while but I loved recording it over and over because it meant I could really try and capture the right emotive take.

Lola Young © 2020

Lola Young © 2020



2020’s been a very active year for you, musically. Do you feel like you’ve grown since January? If so, how?

Lola Young: I feel most artists are always growing, regardless if they’re working or not. I feel like I’ve definitely grown but I have a long long way to go, however I do believe we never stop learning and growing so I guess it’s something I will have to get used to.

How do you feel the track “Woman” advances Lola Young the artist, and what do you hope listeners take away from this song?

Lola Young: I want people to see that what I am trying to say is important to me. I hope people learn that a woman’s body should not be a taboo conversation. They should be seen as beautiful like bodies are regardless of those things that are deemed as less so. A tit is just a tit, get over it.

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Stream: “Woman” – Lola Young


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Woman - Lola Young

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com