BY brianne wills

Team Credits



Doria Santlofer

makeup & HAIR

Regina Harris


Jon Gourlay

photo assistant

Katy Andrascik




Interview by BriAnne Wills

Cover photo
Cardigan: ROSETTE


BriAnne Wills: Tell me about your new EP!

Lola Kirke: It's a four-song EP. And it comes out February 16th. And that's the same day that I make my Grand Ole Opry debut, which is really exciting. 

BW: That is amazing.

LK: It is amazing. And sometimes when I realize that's imminent, I have a minor panic attack. I'm wearing June Carter's dress. It was a gift to me from her family, who I’ve become very good friends with. And the zipper is broken on the dress, and it's too much of an archival piece to fix. So we're going to sew me in. So I'm like, do we need to dress rehearse sewing me in? Should I get fake hair. Do the whole country thing? I'm kind of interested in the idea of getting a partial wig. Not a mullet or anything. That would be a funny choice. I don't know, there's lots of things to prepare for. And then at the end of the day, I’m also just singing two songs, you know? So it's like a lot and a little, but I'm excited.

BW: Was that on your bucket list? 

LK: Absolutely on my bucket list. I don't have that many things on my bucket list. So that feels really exciting that it's happening. 

BW: How are you preparing for it? 

LK: Most of the preparation is just reminding myself I'm worthy and trying to believe that I deserve something like that. I feel like a fraud a lot of the time. So getting out of that mindset and being like, this is going to be amazing, you're not a fraud, just have fun. Those are words to live by.


Tights: WE11DONE

BW: Do you have imposter syndrome? 

LK: Yes, yes. 

BW: I think we probably all have a little bit of that. So how would you describe your EP? 

LK: Feminist bro-country was the intention. I had made a lot of more nostalgic country music, pulling from 60s and 70s country for an album two EPs ago, and then for my last full length record, it was more late 70s and very much 80s inspired country. And there was something about attempting the contemporary sounds that I was listening to on the radio that just really appealed to me, and writing songs that really fit into that model, that felt energizing. So that's what I did, and I got really lucky because First Aid Kit, who took me out on tour, agreed to sing on one of my songs, and that was really cool. Then one of my all-time heroes, Rosanne Cash, also agreed to sing on one. And Elle King produced it. So I've got some really, really amazing ladies on there. It's a very exciting girl-power effort. 

BW: Is Rosanne Cash is one of your inspirations? 

LK: Yeah, very, very much so. The last record I made was pretty much like her record, The Seven Year Ache. We got to work together on another project and became friends through that. A lot of my bucket list really just has to do with country music. It's funny when I was younger, it was to win an Oscar and as I get older, that macro culture just feels less and less exciting to me. Like, I don't know what those kinds of achievements really mean. And also it's just such a club that you can't even begin to get into—the A-list mainstream. Country music is so hard to infiltrate as well, but it seems like it's still very connected to hard work as opposed to something a little bit more unreachable. 

BW: When you say that country music is kind of difficult to get into, did it feel like it was insular and you had to prove yourself to get in? 

LK: I still wouldn't say I'm even in. Having the Opry feels like I'm in as far as I have ever dreamed I would be. Country music in and of itself is both a technical and an emotional term. But country radio is this big gate-kept thing that an artist like me, with the kind of independent label I have behind me would never even dream of. All industries right now are determined by things like TikTok and Instagram. That being said, there are some institutions in country that are beginning to be welcoming to me. And the ones that aren't I'm not really sure how much I want to be a part of them anyway. The older I get, the more I'm just interested in carving out an authentic course for myself rather than one that I think I should take in order to be something greater. Social media now has kind of made fame very ordinary. And, for me, it was about being extraordinary. So now I'm like, how do I carve out my own extraordinary path? 

BW: Do you like social media or do you feel like it's just something you have to do this day and age to succeed? 

LK: I for sure feel like it's something I have to do for work, but also at this point I feel like I'm an addict. I don't know how to train myself away from my phone. I would prefer to live without it entirely, but that would require making some adjustments to my expectations for what I want in my work. And those are adjustments I'm not sure I'm entirely ready to make. 




Top & skirt: MARNI

BW: What are the expectations you have for your work? 

LK: I would love for people to have more opportunity to listen to my music. If they don't want to listen to it after they've heard it, that's fine. But half the battle is just getting your stuff in front of people. I think algorithms can kind of be tricky because you can go, oh, I have this amount of followers, but I only have this level of engagement. That must mean that my work isn't very good or doesn't connect for whatever reason. And sometimes that could be true and other times that could be because you're not actually really in the algorithm in a certain way. So adding that level of anxiety to the already volatile path of being an artist sucks. But what I would want is that the people who will benefit or feel better or excited by the work that I'm making, get to experience it, and that there is connection with those people in a way that makes it so that I can continue to make the things I want to make, whether it's performances as an actress or songs I sing and shows I play or things I write. I just want to be able to have clear and beautiful pathways between myself and my audience. 

BW: Speaking of acting, are you still doing that? Do you have anything coming up that you're in? 

LK: I heard word that a TV show that I shot two years ago, called Three Women, based on the bestselling book is out in Sweden and is coming out in Australia. I think it's coming out in the States later in the spring. But that should be funny. It's a very racy show, and the role that I play is also very racy. 

 BW: Are you actively trying to take on more roles?

LK: I'm being very, very selective about what I pursue. I think that my life as an actress will be one that I hope I have forever. I love acting so much and I've gotten so much from acting, which I feel so grateful for, in terms of independence and financial independence and a platform from which to launch other projects. But there's also some things that I don't feel very aligned with that are at play. And a lot of that has to do with appearance and this kind of pretense that we live in a very body-positive time and that Hollywood is in on that when I just don't think that's the truth. I think that's even more evident in the fact that we see a lot of very unnatural looking faces. And I think that lean towards artificial appearance, really is inextricable from the the writing and the rest of it. I think that they're informing each other. 

 BW: Overall, do you think body positivity is just not a real thing? 

LK: I think it is real and I think it’s vital and necessary. I just don't think that Hollywood is as diverse as it pretends it is. I think that a lot of that diversity is faux and in service of not doing actual work to be as inclusive and diverse as it should be. And I'm not talking about race necessarily, or having more women or gender non-binary people in those roles. I do see a lot of changes happening in that way. And I think that that's good. I'm talking about actually letting women have quirks in their faces now. Which I think is just as important. 

BW: What is it like in Nashville? Have people had a lot of work done or are they more natural?

LK: It's country music, which I think has a long history of kind of lending itself towards the campy and artificial. Women have been wearing wigs since forever and rhinestones and color and all of that stuff. We're not pretending to be anything else. So I have a lot more tolerance for that, honestly, than the “I live my life totally organically, except for everything that’s in my face” thing. 




Top & shorts: YUHAN WANG

BW: How do you like Nashville?

LK: I love it. I never thought I'd live in a small city. It's beautiful here. And I like living in the South as well. There's an honesty to the south. Part of that comes from living amongst a lot of ideologies politically that I don't align with. But a lot of really great work has, historically, at least in my opinion, been born out of friction with an environment. And it's important to have friction between yourself and the world in a certain way. It's what creates spark. More liberal cities tend to lack in a certain way as we have this idea that everything is just okay, everything's okay and everything's accepted. And I'm like, well, then what are we going to make work about? If everything is so okay and so accepted, it's a bit boring. 

BW: Are you going on tour for this album? 

LK: Yes, I do a small round of shows through the South. It starts in Nashville, and then I do a much bigger run out to Stagecoach, which is like the country music  Coachella, in the same place. 

BW: How do you prepare for tour? 

LK: Well, I pick out my outfits. 

BW: What are your go-to outfits and what could you not leave home without? 

LK: That's such a great question. I couldn't leave home without my hairspray. Which should be the name of a country song I write. And I also have show boots. I have my cowboy boots that I wear for traveling and then I have my cowboy boots I wear on stage. And then there's also a very, very specific entertainers secret—jazz tights by Capezio, which you can either get in nude or you can get in black. And they're like fishnets that just disappear all cellulite on the stage and they just look fucking amazing. And then I try and get a different little custom piece for each tour I go on. I have quite the wardrobe. I really do love the high-camp aesthetic of it all. 

BW: Do you have a style icon? 
LK: I definitely do. For my daily life my style icon would be like, Debra Winger goes to lunch in 1985. It’s very oversized clothing with shoulder pads and man-repellent jeans. Or Fran Lebowitz, because there's also a lot of cowboy boots. And then for stage-style icon, I like Naomi Judd a lot… and Dolly Parton. Obviously. 

BW: Can you share a little bit about how your songwriting process has evolved over the years? 

LK: Yeah, absolutely. I used to write songs from a very diaristic place. Whatever was in my journal that week ended up in a song. And that was a great place to start for a younger writer, and also for someone who was not necessarily writing in a particular form. And as I began to listen to more country music and wanting to write more country songs, I realized that wasn't going to cut it in a certain way, because country is a form, it's a style. And there are very specific tenants to what goes into a country song. For instance, it has to make a lot of sense, it has to have one central idea that, ideally, is a little bit witty or anthemic, and it has to use the verses to really expand upon that central idea. I've had a lot of fun exploring that form and getting better at that, and listening to masterful writers who have been able to do that so well.


Tights: WE11DONE


Top & shorts: YUHAN WANG

BW: How did you meet Elle King and First Aid Kit. 

LK: I met Elle King when I was, I think, 11 years old. We met in New York City and then ended up at the same summer camp in Connecticut. She was a very, very bad influence. My mom would not let me hang out with her until she heard her sing one day when we were 13 years old. My mom was like, actually, I love her. And from there she was one of my first friends who played the banjo and sang country music back in New York City. She ended up taking me on tour with my last record to open for her and had said that she always wanted to produce. And I was like, well, I have some music that I think your sensibilities work really well with. So that happened. And then I met First Aid Kit because I was doing a review of a bad review that Pitchfork gave me on Instagram. Pitchfork had said something like, oh, we like the record, except she's from New York City, so it's egregious that she would ever make country music. And First Aid Kit left a comment that said, I wonder what Pitchfork would think of us being from Sweden and making country-inspired music. And a lot of people liked it. So I guess Instagram can be good for some things. And through there they invited me out on tour with them and it was really special. 

 BW: Have you always liked country music? 

LK: I have always liked country music. I started out listening to more 60s- 70s country rock. And then made my more direct inroads to classic country through that. 

BW: If you had to make a road-trip playlist, what would be your top three songs? 

LK: Oh my God. Oh, my. Well, let me think about that… 

“Why not me” by The Judds. “Please Be with Me” by Cowboy, which is Duane Allman's solo band that he had. And then someone just asked me to sing this yesterday and it was really fun–“Still the one” by Shania Twain. Throw that on there.

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