Laura Pergolizzi has an impressive list of hits that she’s written for artists including Backstreet Boys, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna. and somewhat bizarrely, Joe Walsh. Songwriting credits are often a singular silo that do not suggest that the writer is not in the same class of star as the performer. However, as LP, Pergolizzi shines like few others. While her appearance defies that of a pop star, her songs and more importantly, her soaring voice set her in a class of star where few dwell. While this recognition began first in Europe, where LP plays in rooms large enough to be called theatres and her songs fly up the charts, North America is finally coming around.
Evidence of her power is currently shown on her brilliant instant pop classic, Heart to Mouth. Released at the end of last year, LP set out on the North American leg of her supporting tour of the album in January. The tour stopped in Toronto on February 9, but if you’re elsewhere in the world and LP hasn’t hit your city yet, be patient. She’s playing most cities in the western world between now and April before taking a month off prior to the start of this summer’s European festivals.
Before a sold-out, enraptured audience at the Danforth Music Hall, LP held humble court. Opening the night with Dreamcatcher from the latest album, LP moved through much of it, as well as her 2015 release, Lost On You. The crowd hung on every note and sang along as they could. With a range such as Pergolizzi’s, there’s no expectation of keeping up. I was floored when she hit one of highest notes I’ve ever heard on Dreamer. With the devotion fans offer their favourites, it’s easy to fall back on generic phrases to describe an audience. However, they could all honestly apply to the one gathered on this night. Possibly it’s the space that LP creates, especially one built in love as opener, Lauren Ruth Ward, is also Laura Pergolizzi’s fiancé. But more likely it’s this combined with the raw, unfettered nature of LP’s songs and how her and her band can deliver outstanding performances like these night after night after album after album.