Sultry John Lewis songstress poised for stardom: Lola Young, 20, dubbed the ‘young Adele’ got her start on CBBC, went to BRIT school and dances NAKED in music videos
- Singer Lola Young, 20, from London, features in the John Lewis Christmas advert
- Follows in footsteps of stars Lily Allen and Ellie Goulding to be featured in clip
- The 20-year-old performs a cover of ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ for the ad
- Attended prestigious BRIT school and has been writing songs since age of 11
- Last year, she released a music video where she danced naked on a chair
- Recently supported Dermot Kennedy and made TV debut on James Corden’s Late Late Show
An unknown London singer is following in the footsteps of stars like Lily Allen, Tom Odell and Ellie Goulding to covering a song for the John Lewis Christmas advert.
Lola Young, 20, from West London, who only recently made her TV debut by performing on James Corden’s Late Late Show, features in the new festive clip as she sings a version of Together in Electric Dreams for the ad.
Her cover, originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984, accompanies Unexpected Guest – a two-minute tale of a young alien experiencing their first Christmas on Earth, complete with mince pies and novelty jumpers.
And while GQ has hailed Lola ‘one of the most exciting stars on the London scene’ and Elle UK described her as ‘a star on the rise’, the John Lewis advert will likely catapult her from relatively unknown to a star across the country.
The youngster has been writing songs since she was 11, and attended the prestigious BRIT school, with some even comparing her singing voice to Adele.
She signed to Island records last year and has since released three EPs, singing about female empowerment and even dancing naked in the music video for her song ‘Woman.’
Lola Young, 20, from West London, who only recently made her TV debut by performing on James Corde’s Late Late Show, has performed a song which is featured in the new John Lewis Christmas advert
While GQ has hailed her ‘one of the most exciting stars on the London scene’ and Elle UK described her as ‘a star on the rise’, the John Lewis advert will likely catapult Lola from relatively unknown to a star across the country
In the advert, a young alien young girl experiences her first Christmas after crash landing in Surrey woodland
Despite being a relative unknown, the singer, whose talent agency describe her as ‘fiercely independent’, has been working in the industry since a young age.
According to Paradigm Agency, the up-and-coming singer’s childhood in south London gave her direction and personal drive, and she immersed herself in music.
Raised on a diet of Joni Mitchell and Prince, Lola said she feels inspired by artists who she considers poets first.
She explained: ”It’s been a part of my life since I had my first memory. And I’ve been singing since I could talk.
Despite being a relative unknown, the singer, whose talent agency describe her as ‘fiercely independent’, has been working in the industry since a young age
The video for her single Woman saw her dancing while completely naked alongside a cast of other performers
‘Not that I was a good singer then. I really had to learn, practice, get lessons and teach myself.
‘Hard work was involved when it came to me learning how to sing. People might say, ‘It sounds like you were born with that voice.’ It was not the case at all.’
She began writing songs aged 11, and by the time she reached 13, she had already competed in national open mic competition.
Meanwhile she also appeared alongside her mother Imogen Moore De Pulido – who works in HR and project management – in CBBC’s Got What It Takes? – a musical bootcamp set to test a group of talented performers and their mothers.
Tiny dancer! Lola shared this snap of her aged four ‘dancing and living it large’
Meanwhile she also appeared alongside her mother Imogen Moore De Pulido in CBBC’s Got What It Takes? – a musical bootcamp set to test a group of talented performers and their mothers (pictured together)
In the show, young hopefuls took on a series of challenges for the ultimate prize of performing at this year’s BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend.
Meanwhile she also appeared on a television show that gave young teens a sense of what life working in the music industry was like.
Despite ‘having managers interested’ in her songs, she said she initially didn’t consider it a legitamate career.
However Lola quickly landed herself at the prestigious BRIT school, whose graduates include Amy Winehouse and Adele.
Since graduating, she has been gigging across London to fine-tune her skills as a live-performer.
She continued to perform songs she wrote as a young teenager at open mics and gigs around the city, and she caught the eye of industry figureheads Nick Shymansky and Nick Hugget and signed a deal with Island Records in 2020.
However she said she has remained ‘resilient’ in order to pursue her ‘vision’ of what her music is.
She released her first two EPs, Intro and Renaissance in 2020 and gained wide acclaim for her soulful vocals and sharp, mature songwriting.
Lola quickly landed herself at the prestigious BRIT school, whose graduates include Amy Winehouse and Adele
The video for her single Woman saw her dancing while completely naked alongside a cast of other performers.
Meanwhile she sings the lyrics: ‘I want you on my body but I shouldn’t. Cause I’m a woman. Just a woman.’
She continues: ‘I don’t wanna wake up alone, I’m no good at broken, I’m a hopeless, boneless, coping…’
Speaking to Atwood magazine about the video, she said it was an ‘insane’ shoot, and she’d ‘never felt so empowered in her life.’
She continued to perform songs she wrote as a young teenager at open mics and gigs around the city, and she caught the eye of industry figureheads Nick Shymansky and Nick Hugget and signed a deal with Island Records in 2020
British Vogue called her as an ‘electrifying live performer and gifted lyricist,’ while Q Magazine hailed, ‘Young’s songs bring her open-hearted lyricism and London Twang together with a neo-jazz sensibility’
She revealed: ‘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.
‘I came up with the idea of the women in the video being fully nude…Nipples, bums, rolls, stretch marks, cellulite, all of these things are beautiful along with the ‘perfect’ body.’
British Vogue called her as an ‘electrifying live performer and gifted lyricist,’ while Q Magazine hailed, ‘Young’s songs bring her open-hearted lyricism and London Twang together with a neo-jazz sensibility with one foot always pointed in the direction of the nearest dancefloor.’
Her song ‘Bad Tattoo’ received its first spin on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show.
Over the past few weeks she has been completing her first ever UK tour, supporting singer Dermot Kennedy in gigs across the country
In August, she released her third EP, After Midnight which tells the story of one night in Young’s life, tracing the hours between midnight and 5 a.m.
Describing the EP to UDiscovermusic, Lola Young explained: ‘My thoughts, my worries, my past lovers and my present ones too, my guilt, my fears, my dreams, wishes and all the crazy a** thoughts I have when the sun rises and I can’t sleep for shit. After midnight. The truest form of me.’
The Upcoming website recently hailed her as ‘a young Adele.’
Over the past few weeks she has been completing her first ever UK tour, supporting singer Dermot Kennedy in gigs across the country.
And she’s set to perform on her own solo UK and European tour in the next few weeks, with dates with Dublin, Amsterdam and Manchester.
Posting on Instagram, she wrote: ‘Happy is an understatement! I can’t wait to see so many more of your faces in person, finally.’
Meanwhile she also recently made her worldwide TV debut on James Corden’s Late Late Show, with the star hailing her ‘one to watch.’
The youngster was picked by John Lewis for the Christmas advert after she performed the cover song for executives.
Remember these? Edgar the Dragon, Bouncing Buster, the Man on the Moon, Montie the penguin and a star turn from Sir Elton John – EVERY past John Lewis Christmas advert
The eagerly-awaited John Lewis Christmas commercial has become something of a festive tradition.
Every year, fans gather in front of their TVs to watch the latest offering, before sharing it with their friends and family and – in recent years – broadcasting their opinions online.
The John Lewis ads started in 2007 and here you can revisit every single one.
2020: GIVE A LITTLE LOVE
Set in a Covid-free world, last year’s campaign hopes to raise a smile with light-hearted scenes of magical flying snowmen, supersized Christmas crackers and a hedgehog who dreams of being a pigeon.
The two-minute commercial, released on social media at 7am today and premiering on TV this weekend, shows how small acts of kindness can alleviate loneliness and bring joy to people who are quietly struggling.
Told through a series of nine interconnecting vignettes, the advert follows a chain reaction of good deeds that change someone else’s life in small but meaningful ways. Each scene is done in a different style, from hand-drawn animation to claymation and cinematography.
The idea was inspired by the spontaneous acts of kindness that swept across the country at the start of lockdown.
The advert has divided opinion, with some viewers saying it is ‘moving’ and is ‘just what we need’, while others claim it misses the mark and is the weakest ever John Lewis Christmas advert.
In a first for the retailer, this year’s soundtrack is an original song, A Little Love, by Brit Award-winning soul singer Celeste. Part of the proceeds will go towards two charities being spotlighted by the campaign.
2019: EDGAR THE DRAGON
2019’s offering starred an excitable and accident-prone dragon called Edgar who lives in a freezing mythical village with his red-headed best friend Ava.
In the heart-warming and funny ad the pair try were forced to quell his disastrous fire-breathing after it threatened to destroy the festive period for everyone as a giant Christmas tree was flamed, a snowman was destroyed and the local ice rink melted.
It marks the first time the department store joined with sister brand Waitrose for a festive commercial. After a mixed response to the 2018 ad, which featured Elton John and charted his rise from childhood, the new ad seemed to be a return to formula.
2018 – The Boy And The Piano
The retailer ended a decade of heart-warming tearjerkers featuring loveable animals and charming children last year when it featured Sir Elton John in its Christmas ad.
It charted the singer’s rise from humble beginnings to fame and fortune.
The mini-biopic, set to his 1970 hit Your Song, showed how one present can change a life and ended with a four-year-old Elton unwrapping his first piano on Christmas Day in 1951.
The £7million advert then cutsto the emotional 71-year-old playing the same instrument while thinking about his mother Sheila, who died in 2017 aged 92, followed by the slogan: ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’.
However, it was panned by some who thought that it focused more on the singer than on Christmas.
Some fans were also disappointed that cuddly stars such as Montie the penguin and Moz the monster were jettisoned for a celebrity-endorsed campaign.
2017 – Moz The Monster
2017’s effort featured the story of a boy who befriends the monster under his bed, with the music a cover of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers by rock band Elbow.
It left viewers in tears over the mischievous and flatulent monster called Moz and his relationship with a seven-year-old soulmate – with fans comparing it to Disney’s much-loved Monsters Inc.
The giant furry monster with a bulbous nose, wonky teeth and a love of snoring, jumped out from under the bed every night to play with companion Joe in a festive tale making many laugh and cry.
The little boy, aged 7, who is played by young twin brothers from London named Ethan and Tobias, is initially frightened after seeing a pair of enormous eyes peering from the dark under his bed.
But the two unlikely friends are shown sharing games, playing piggyback and Scalextric in his bedroom – all without mum, dad, or older sister finding out.
2016 – Buster The Boxer
Buster the Boxer and his trampoline antics was the star of the 2016 edition.
John Lewis said the advert where the dog, played by five-year-old Biff, beats a young girl to her new toy was their attempt to cheer up Britain after a ‘tough year’.
The advert told the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to jump.
Set to a cover version of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, her mother and father buy her a trampoline, toiling while she sleeps to build it before hiding it in the garden to surprise her with on Christmas Day. As the snow falls an array of animals start using it as the Boxer watches forlornly through the window.
The next morning Bridget sprints out to use it for the first time but her joy turns to shock as cheeky Buster has the last laugh and uses her new toy before her.
2015 – Man On The Moon
In 2015, a lonely Man on the Moon is shown to viewers sitting by himself on a bench, completely unaware that he is being observed by the youngster back down on Earth
The elderly man, played by a 77-year-old French actor called Jean, gazes up wistfully towards the Earth, as the Oasis song Half The World Away, performed by 19-year-old Norwegian singer Aurora plays mournfully in the background.
She tries desperately to send him a message but all her efforts fail, while he remains unaware that anyone cares about him and sits alone on a bench, wistfully staring up at the Earth.
Eventually, on Christmas morning, a present arrives from the sky, carried by party balloons, and the old man unwraps it to reveal a vintage telescope.
He uses it to spot Lily and, realising that someone cares about him, his eyes fill with tears.
2014 – Monty The Penguin
In 2014, John Lewis hoped the bond between a boy and a penguin would capture the public’s imagination.
The two-minute festive commercial told the story of seven-year-old Sam, played by actor Rhys Edwards from Hertfordshire, and his friend Monty.
The boy gradually realises Monty is longing for a penguin companion. And so on Christmas morning Sam surprises Monty with the gift of a new penguin friend named Mabel.
The soundtrack was John Lennon’s song Real Love, performed by Tom Odell.
2013 – The Bear And The Hare
In 2013, the £7million Disney-inspired advert told the story of a selfless hare who is determined to make sure his best friend, a bear, doesn’t miss Christmas for once.
The commercial features the tale of two good friends, a bear and a hare, who are sad at the thought of being separated for Christmas.
The tale opens as winter is starting to draw in and the fun and excitement of preparing for Christmas begins.
As the first snowflake falls and lands on the bear’s nose, the hare starts to feel sad because he realises his friend will soon go off to hibernate, so – as usual – missing Christmas.
While the bear is keen to join in, eventually he finds he cannot hold off his winter sleep any longer and disappears into his cave.
Viewers see the bear fast asleep while all the other woodland creatures become excited about the big day to come.
However, the hare is missing his friend and finds it increasingly difficult to join in the preparations until the moment he has a great idea for a very special present.
He disappears off in to the wilderness to return with the gift – an alarm clock – which wakes the bear just in time to gather around a beautifully decorated tree to celebrate with all his friends.
2012 – The Journey
The Christmas ad from 2012, called The Journey, shows the extraordinary lengths to which some will go in their search for a gift for someone they love.
The 90-second commercial opens in a family’s snow-covered garden, with children happily making a snowman and snowwoman.
When the snowman mysteriously disappears the next morning, the viewer is transported to a magical world, following him on an epic journey across river, mountain, road and city.
The motive for the snowman’s secret journey isn’t revealed until the last scene, when he returns on Christmas morning with gifts for his wife.
Gabrielle Aplin sings The Power Of Love, the 1984 hit from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, as the soundtrack.
2011 – The Long Wait
In 2011, the John Lewis advert showed a young boy desperately excited about Christmas.
He eagerly counts down the days to December 25 with viewers left to imagine he is looking forward to getting presents.
However, it is revealed at the end that he actually couldn’t wait to give presents to his parents.
It was accompanied by a cover of The Smiths’ Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’.
2010 – A Tribute To Givers
The 2010 offering saw individuals choosing and wrapping their presents in the lead up to the big day, as Ellie Goulding sings a cover of Elton John’s Your Song.
Various people furtively hide the presents they’ve carefully chosen.
Parents sneak a rocking horse upstairs while their children’s backs are turned; a mechanic struggles to wrap a spotted teapot; and a small boy braves the snow in his dressing gown to hang a stocking outside his dog’s kennel.
2009 – Sweet Child O’ Mine
2009 was the first of the store’s Christmas campaigns created by advertising agency Adam & Eve.
It was also the first to feature a musical cover by a current artist, on this occasion a Taken By Trees version of Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses.
The ad shows children opening gifts for adults including a laptop, coffee machine and handbag.
It’s followed by the tagline: ‘Remember how Christmas used to feel? Give someone that feeling.’
2008 – From Me To You
Culminating in the tagline: ‘If you know the person, you’ll find the present,’ the 2008 version shows a succession of characters followed by a matching gift.
The soundtrack is a cover of The Beatles’ From Me To You recorded for the campaign.
It included vocals by Matt Spinner, a member of the John Lewis IT department and its music society.
2007 – Shadows
The first John Lewis Christmas ad shows a group of people stacking a pile of potential gifts including a desktop lamp, a computer and a leather satchel in an empty room.
The finished product ends up creating a shadow that looks like a woman walking her dog through the snow.
It is accompanied by the tagline: ‘Whoever you’re looking for this Christmas.’
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