WE start with the inevitable Barry Manilow question. Lola, how many times a day does someone start singing Copacabana when you walk into the room?

“It was more the Kinks,” Lola Lennox tells me over Zoom from her home in Los Angeles. “That’s the one I get. In America I get that a lot less, but in the UK it would happen pretty regularly.”

Her name is Lola and she’s not a showgirl. She’s a 31-year-old singer who is just making a name for herself.

That said, the name she already has is already famous enough. Lennox. Does that surname ring a bell?

Lennox is the daughter of pop royalty who has opted to follow in her mother Annie’s footsteps because, she says, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

“Music really speaks to me deeply. And from a very young age I felt very struck by singing and hearing songs,” she says, the words rushing forth like water from a tapped spring.

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“I loved it so much. I had these amazing singing teachers at school. They put me in choirs and concerts and competitions and I loved it. Singing is such a pure and cathartic thing. It wasn’t like, ‘I want to be a singer.’ It was, ‘I want to follow that feeling.’ It’s a good feeling.”

If you’re a regular Radio 2 listener you may have already heard Lennox. Paul O’Grady (before he left the station) and Ken Bruce have been championing her. She even got to choose her Tracks of My Years (Marvin Gaye, Kate Bush and Portishead, among others). And now her debut EP is due out this month. She’s hoping this might be her moment.

That’s why she is talking to me about her favourite songs and singers, her childhood with her model-turned-painter sister, Tali, her dreams and ambitions, her mum, inevitably, but her dad too (her parents divorced when she was nine but she remains close to both of them), as well as the last time she was starstruck. Oh and in a minute we’ll also learn who her favourite Spice Girl is.

The first time we speak she’s in Ibiza, the view over Zoom framed by a cerulean sky that rather puts the dreich central Scottish sky above me to shame.

The Herald: Annie Lennox, Tali Lennox, and Lola Fruchtmann Photo Getty ImagesAnnie Lennox, Tali Lennox, and Lola Fruchtmann Photo Getty Images (Image: Getty Images)

She’s staying with her father, Uri Fruchtmann, activist and film producer, perhaps best known for his involvement in said Spice Girls movie, Spice World. I’m interrupting her holiday. Soon she’ll be back in LA where she works on music with her Canadian boyfriend Braeden Wright, but right now she’s answering my stupid questions. Stupid questions like what was the last lie you told, Lola?

“Last lie I told? I told my dad I woke up at 8am this morning. I woke up at 10.30.”

What’s your worst habit?

“Waking up at 10.30.”

When were you last starstruck? The question hangs for a moment. She apologises.

“I’ve got Ibiza brain … I wouldn’t say I was starstruck, but I met [American musician] St Vincent recently and that was pretty awesome.”

Given that your mum is from Aberdeen what’s the most Scottish thing about you?

“I don’t know. I think through my mum there is a Scottish stoicism and I think it’s trickled down into Tali and I. We’re quite determined and we put blinkers on. Would you say that’s a Scottish trait?”

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The word is thrawn, I tell her.

“How do you say it? ‘Thrawn’.” She packs it away for future use.

When she was a girl, Lennox actually got to visit the set of Spice World. So, who was her favourite Spice Girl?


It’s fair to say, though, that it’s hard to detect the influence of Wannabe on her own music. Her tastes veer towards classic rock and soul.

“I mainly listen to old-school singers like Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Nina Simone, singers who sing with potency. And I’ve been listening to a lot of George Harrison, Neil Young, Nick Drake.”

Her songs are poppy, radio-friendly confections (nothing wrong with that). But her sound is evolving, she thinks.

“I’m beginning to know myself better as an artist and how to pull out certain sounds I want to create. I’m fixated on that cusp between something that feels organic and real and has a vintage flavour and is soulful and a bit gritty, but also has that hot shimmer and sounds new and fresh and invigorating. That vision is getting clearer and clearer. It’s nice to see the songs coming out the way you hear them in your head.”

She fills her notebooks with lyrics and ideas drawn from her own story.

“Songs are a great excuse to dig into your life and dig into your way of experiencing the world. We all have ups and downs and we’re all reacting to triggers within life every day we all have dreams and hopes. I feel the world is a very beautiful and a very strange place at the same time and music is an excuse for me to put what I witness around me into song. It feels like an alchemy.”

The Herald: Lola Lennox with her boyfriendLola Lennox with her boyfriend (Image: free)

The first time Lola Lennox realised Annie Lennox might not be like other mums was when she saw her mother dressed up as a bear sitting on a swing in London’s Roundhouse. It was during the making of the video for the cover of A Whiter Shade of Pale.

“I was really little,” Lennox junior recalls. “I was about four or five and I was like, ‘This is cool, what’s going on?’”

Annie Lennox was already a huge star when her daughter was born in 1990. Lola Lennox is very aware that she had a privileged upbringing. But she’s keen to stress the normality of it too.

“First and foremost, growing up in my house, it felt like a normal family home. We went to school, we had dinner all together. My mother innately is very grounded. The fact that she is who she is feels in a way separate to who she is at home.

“And she really actively worked to make my sister and I not feel … entitled, I’d say. We had to earn treats. We weren’t spoilt. We didn’t have expectations of being given all the toys in the world or taken on fancy holidays. There was a sense of value in those things. If we were getting something she’d make us aware that you are lucky to get this.”

What did you have to do to earn treats then? “We had some sticker systems. Doing homework. Cleaning our rooms. I had asthma as a kid so a lot of it was taking your medication. There were systems of earning.”

She smiles, remembering something. “As a kid she always made me and my sister wear slippers. ‘Put your slippers on.’ That was the tagline of my childhood, and as an adult I look back and think, ‘Why? Why were you obsessed with the slippers?’”

The Herald: Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, of The EurythmicsAnnie Lennox and Dave Stewart, of The Eurythmics (Image: free)

As she said, Lennox knew she wanted to be a singer from an early age. But when your mother is one of the most famous singers in the world you could be forgiven for feeling a little intimidated following in her footsteps. That was very much the case when she was a teenager, she admits.

“There was definitely a mixture of confidence and insecurity at that point. I knew how much I loved music and I knew I could sing and I knew I wanted to pursue making a life for myself out of music. But there was also a sense of being nervous about that because I felt like there was a comparison and there was this bar that was so high to reach.”

Lennox also knew her songwriting had to improve. “Writing a song is a very vulnerable thing and I felt very vulnerable baring my soul a little bit.

“And when you’re younger that is a process. You don’t just start and you’re great. You have to write some bad songs or paint some bad paintings or whatever you’re doing to get better and I think I felt very insecure around writing some of those bad songs.

“But I also knew that there was a process to get better and I was very focused on continuing to write and I think the need to get to a place of feeling comfortable and feeling good enough as a singer and as a songwriter ended up being a really healthy thing.

“Because if I felt like, ‘Oh, everything’s good’ and I didn’t have the insecurity, I wouldn’t have pushed myself. It did kind of create this work ethic and drive, which was also a passion and a love and a joy.

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“For me I didn’t have one without the other. The confidence and insecurity kind of came together and created who I ended up being as an artist.”

And sometimes in life you take a wrong turn. When she was a teenager Lennox won a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London. But she soon realised it wasn’t what she wanted.

“When I was at school I was singing a lot. I had two singing teachers and they really supported me and I was singing all different kinds of genres. Jazz, pop, musical theatre. I loved immersing myself in music. I was always learning classical music and doing these graded exams and it was a really fun challenge for me and one of the singing teachers was like, ‘Oh, you could audition for the Royal Academy of Music. Would that be something you would be interested in doing?’

“And I said yes, not because I wanted to be an opera singer but because I thought it would be a fun challenge.

“I never even considered the idea of getting in, so when I did get in I instantly knew it was wrong because I always wanted to be writing music that was my own style.

“But because of me feeling very private about that side of my musical world at that point, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t feel ready to voice that. I’m going to make this a priority.’

“I just went along with the Royal Academy knowing that it was wrong. I stayed there for six months and then I was like, ‘OK guys, thank you so much. This has been an amazing experience, but this isn’t quite right for me.’”

The other gift her parents gave her was a sense that hard work was very much part of the deal in her chosen profession.

“We grew up with our reality looking like it’s normal to be really successful. My dad did really well and their friends did really well, so we never saw the grunt work. We just saw the end game of it. No, not the end game, but we saw the big performances and the albums and stuff.

“We didn’t see my mum in the 1970s on the motorway to get to gigs every couple of days or how tough her journey was up to that point.

“She made us aware that to be an artist takes the grunt work and you’ve got to take the tiny little baby steps every day to get to a place of moving forward and getting better.

“It was also a good template for us to be able to see how being creative – the journey of that and how it can come together – is not just a thing that happens.”

She remains close to her mother, emotionally and physically. They live near to each other in LA. Lola moved there six years ago now.

“I went to LA to do backing singing for one of my mum’s shows at the Orpheum Theatre and that in turn gave me a year-long visa. I had been living in London and writing and doing sessions with a few different producers and co-writers. But it felt like a really tough nut to crack. And then I got to LA and started to set up sessions and write with people and I could get in the studio and I’m meeting writers and different musicians. ‘This is working for me here.’ So, I just kept rolling with it.

“There’s a huge network of musicians in LA, so for me it was a great place just to write.” Bizarrely, she says, the Covid shutdown helped her. “In a weird way it served me quite well because I just zoned into making music in our apartment, me and my boyfriend.

“There were weird ways the world changed, but also within the music industry. In a funny way it almost created a bit of a gap in the market for newbies like me. I got to put the music out and I was astounded that the radio started picking it up and it started to build. They were such weird times, but musically it was good.”

In December 2021, on World Aids Day, Lola Lennox duetted with her mother on the Eurythmics hit There Must Be An Angel to an audience of millions as part of an anniversary gala for the charity Mothers 2 Mothers, of which Annie is a patron.

Fess up, Lola. Of all the songs your mum has sung down the years, from her days in The Tourists to the Eurythmics and on to her solo records, which is the one song you don’t want to hear again?

She looks horrified? “None of them! To be honest, I always enjoy them when I hear them. I’ll never play them myself. I’ll never put it on Spotify, because that is just a bit weird.

“But when I watch her performing live or I see archive clips it’s the coolest thing ever. I can’t believe what she created and all these ideas that came out of her head. I feel lucky that I got to witness the way she works and how she pulls all of these ideas out of the sky and puts them into music and visuals.

“And, honestly, I’m not sick of hearing the songs. I love them. I love Diva and the music videos she made when she was working with Sophie Muller. And then I love Would I Lie To You? and Who’s That Girl? when she’s got the wig on and she’s really hamming up the femininity and costume drama of it all. But I love them all for different reasons.”

The world of music has changed hugely since the Eurythmics were the big thing back in the 1980s. For better or worse though? In this post-Covid moment what is the state of music today, Lola?

“There’s a democratisation of music where people are choosing who rises to the top through the internet, but I think the calibre of music rising to the top is just a bit generic. I’m hearing songs that … To me, they don’t sound exciting or beautiful.

“They sound like the last song that did it. They just have watered-down beats, watered-down lyrics. I would love to hear more songs that come from the heart, songs that talk about the world and songs that have a bit more depth and humanity to them.”

Lola Lennox is Annie Lennox’s daughter. It’s far from the only interesting thing about her.

Lola Lennox’s single Want More from her forthcoming EP is out now