Who’s Playing at The Outer Loop?
May Music Edition: Lula Grelhada
Woohoo! Our blog is celebrating its 1st birthday this month! And just as we embark on an exciting journey to create a unique theatrical experience, uniting artists from the music, dance, and theater worlds, we couldn’t have asked for a cooler birthday present. What makes this present even more special is that we get to share her with you… as she steps out of the speaker, and into The Outer Loop… to talk with us about music, the club life, animal rights, and her favorite city.
For many of us who grew up on the dance floors of NYC landmark institutions like Sound Factory, Twilo, and Tunnel, Lula needs no introduction. Her name, like her voice, is burned into our memories, and stamped on our hearts. But that’s not all. Lula is a lot more than just the beautifully haunting voice of our youth. She’s a passionate activist, a caring mother, and a generous artist.
In a world where there are many stages in many theaters, and countless dance floors in a multitude of clubs… there is only one place we all call home, and there’s only one woman we all call Lula.
So Lula, what’s your art?
I am a vocalist for underground house and dance music. My full artist name is Lula Grelhada, which means fried squid in Portuguese. It’s kind of an inside joke. After the first release however, it was shortened to just Lula.
In 1997, my first track was released and went on to become one the top house tracks in NYC that same year. After that success, many famous producers and DJs wanted me to record vocals for their tracks. Mostly I write (or make up) the lyrics myself, but sometimes I just record what the producers tell me. In clubs, they might also only use my vocals and then lay them over another instrumental track.
A journalist once called me the “Austrian Grace Jones.” Another wrote that I was the first Austrian with a club hit in the US since Falco’s “Der Kommissar.”
Where do you come from?
I was born in Vienna, Austria, but moved to NYC in the 1990s, and lived there for about 8 years. That’s where I started as a recording artist. Then in 2000, I moved back to Vienna because I was pregnant with my son and wanted to be closer to my family. Many tracks have been made in the last couple of years, even with me living far away from the producers. With the Internet, anything is possible! Hopefully when my son finishes school, I can move away again. Vienna is not the right place for me. Never was, never will be. Strange energy. Not positive.
Honestly, I just love house music. I lived for the club life back in the good old days. I’m talking about the mid 1980s until 2000. I started going to clubs when I was 16 and I was hooked right away. The darkness, the sounds, the loud music, the big black speakers, the pumping bass… this is it. This is my big love. This is my inspiration. The DJs who let us feel their soul through the music.
I got to know all of these famous DJs just because they felt my passion for the music and for their work. This does not change no matter how old I get. When I write lyrics, I just imagine myself at a club in front of the speaker.
It’s a feeling. House is a feeling. Either you get it or you don’t.
Truth! So, what are you working on now?
Funny. I am working at my horse ranch now! Instead of going out at 6am, I wake up to go to work at the ranch. Some change, right? Yeah that’s what I have been doing for the last couple of years. Day in and day out. Breeding horses (nearly extinct Portuguese Sorraia horses), training horses, riding horses and feeding horses. I also breed Miniature Shetland ponies, a nearly extinct breed of Austrian sheep, and 2 rare Austrian poultry breeds… and own 2 donkeys. Who doesn’t love donkeys, right? Since I was a child, I always loved farm animals and wanted to own a ranch. Besides the equines, chicken and sheep, I also own 4 dogs and 5 cats… nearly all are rescues.
I support many different animal shelters and organizations that help poor and abused animals. A very important aspect for me is that my animals live as much of a natural and fulfilling life as possible. Also, I train my horses according to the Natural Horsemanship Principles. The animals deserve to be treated with respect. They are much smarter and more compassionate than most people think. We humans are certainly not the superior beings! It’s about time people stop killing and torturing (and eating) so many animals, at farms and in the wild.
I haven’t been going out for a while now. For sure I still would if I was in another city. Vienna does not excite or motivate me at all. It was cool in the 1980s, but not anymore. Many people will hate me for saying that, but I’m sticking to it!
There are some tracks being produced right now, but we don’t know release dates yet. I believe the next one is with one of NYCs finest… Stephane K. And it’s about my favorite city… New York! Too bad I can’t keep my animals there.
Amazing! Where can we see more?
There are only these 2 videos of me. Usually there aren’t videos produced for the music I make. But my label Kult Records made that possible. One is with Alan T. in NYC and the other one with Papa Joe in LA.
We had a lot of fun making them. Enjoy!
Thank you so much, Lula! Hugs and love from us all!
And thank you, Outer Loopers, for reading. Are you an artist? Would you like to be featured here? Or do you know someone amazing we should feature?
Keep an eye out for Long Dark Journey, coming to NYC later this year! Our brand new and wildly unique theatrical experience… blending the music, dance, and theater worlds into one mind-blowing marathon event! #closeyoureyes #abovetheclouds #thosewhoknow #gointhruit #justbe
The Outer Loop Family