Balancing Laura Marling and Miley Cyrus

When Lydia Hoglund (aka Lydia Liza) was 16, her favorite rapper picked her up from high school.
 
“Stef [P.O.S.] was like, ‘OK, I’ll come pick you up sometime this week, and we’ll go driving and listen to tunes and see if we would work together,’” Hoglund said. “He thought I was like 25.”
 
In her teens, Hoglund collaborated with hip-hop artists like Toki Wright, opened for Atmosphere and Jake Bugg, played the Basilica Block Party and was featured on the Cities 97 Sampler. 
 
She calls her voice dainty, but she loves incorporating hip-hop’s aggressive beats and energy. 
 
“I always have admired hip-hop,” she said. “Just me playing guitar isn’t going to rattle your body [like being] at a hip-hop concert.”
 
Not long before the singer-songwriter was working with rappers, she was a classic girl with a guitar. Hoglund started writing and teaching herself to play on a toy guitar from Target at age 14, she said. By 15, she was gigging with her high school jazz musician friends in local band Bomba De Luz. 
 
“By the time I was 15, I had done a lot. I played floor hockey for a whole day and got my tonsils out,” the petite blonde said, giggling and sitting pretzel-legged in ’90s-style denim and a flannel shirt. 
 
Nowadays, Hoglund said she’d rather watch videos of her idols Miley Cyrus and Laura Marling for hours at a time. Her goal for the future is to own a farm and live on it with both of them.
 
“My dream is to have a sleepover — sexual or not — with Laura Marling and Miley Cyrus,” she said. “I just want to be the perfect balance between them. Laura is very reserved, brilliant, well-read, kind and beautiful. … And Miley? She’s a giver; she started the Happy Hippie Foundation.”
 
The professed “purebred hipster” grew up in an artist loft and was homeschooled on and off until junior high. Her painter father and writer mother encouraged her to be open to new ideas and to try new things, she said.
 
This outlook stuck with Hoglund as she delved deeper into her music career and made a positive impact on the artist’s knack for collaborations. 
 
Fellow artists Toki Wright and the producer of her first solo album, Spencer Wirth-Davis (aka Big Cats), said Hoglund’s open-mindedness and bubbly personality make her a pleasure to work with.
 
“She’s done so well so early on because she’s so much better than other people her age,” Wirth-Davis said. “It’s fun for me to … see her in brand new situations doing things that might be challenging … but crushing it and acting like she’s done it a million times before.”
 
The solo album will have an electronic, space-y vibe. The lyrical content is still dark, but there are more self-realization songs and fewer “everything sucks teenager songs,” Hoglund said.
 
Wright — who refers to Hoglund as his little sister — said he can only imagine how creative and weird the Lydia Liza solo album will be. He’s excited to see 
Hoglund have free range to express herself musically.
 
“She’s 20 years old with the voice of somebody twice her age. She has experience in her soul,” Wright said. “She’s come back from the dead. She’s gone through real stuff and is one of the most lighthearted, happy-to-be-there, appreciative people [there are].”
 
Hoglund took a break from making new music for the last two years for mental health reasons, she said.
 
“I was on the edge. I did not want to be alive anymore,” Hoglund said. “I started being really mean to myself. I got a full-ride scholarship to McNally Smith for music, and I was in such a weird place that I didn’t think I deserved it.”
 
Hoglund went on medical leave at McNally Smith and checked into in-patient and out-patient therapy. Treatment inspired a pivotal transformation in the way she viewed music, she said. 
 
She chose not to return to college and recognized that making music was something she loved to do but did not define her as a person, Hoglund said.
 
“I felt really trapped. Then I realized that you can be whatever you want to be, and you can do whatever you want to fucking do,” she said. “Two months definitely changed everything. It’s crazy how those things affect your music so much.”
 
Treading North, Eileneirene, Lydia Liza, Feed Your Head
Where Amsterdam Bar & Hall 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul
When 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Cost $5-$7
Ages 18+