Born in L.A. into a family of immigrants from Honduras, she grew up on the music of Latin America, Mexico, El Salvador, and her family’s country; music driven by rhythm, music to dance to, drums and bass.
Obsessed with music, Lorely spent her childhood living between Pasadena and San Fernando Valley, attending a 10,000 person high school and multiple others before eventually being admitted to LACHSA, the LA county arts high school. She says it “saved her.” She became a competitive jazz singer, and after high school received a full-ride scholarship to an East Coast music school, but quickly rejected the formality of it all. “My first semester of college, I got a laptop and was like, these jazz classes are such bullshit,” Lorely says. “I started making beats in Reason and just wanted to make electronic music and write songs.”
A 7-inch would soon be released for her first proper 3-minute Empress Of Single, “Don’t Tell Me”. Soon after her first EP was released by Terrible Records. The industry immediately wanted to team her up with a producer, but Lorely felt like the whole process was drowning her voice out: “It just ended up sounding like that person’s music. I thought, ‘this is my first record, I need it to sound like it’s coming from me.’ At that point I decided, I’m doing this myself.”
Rodriguez released the first proper Empress Of album, Me, in 2015 via Terrible Records. Last year she followed it with a one-off single, “Woman Is a Word,” before making an appearance on Blood Orange’s song “Best to You”.
In July 2017, Empress Of released a new song, “Go to Hell,” via Soundcloud. Check it out below.
Her second album Us came out on October 19th 2018 on Terrible Records.
Perfume Genius covered When I’m With Him, released in January 2019.
‘Its hook is a masterclass in pop songwriting, masking a dark undercurrent and impressively creative impulses’ – Rolling Stone
‘Quite simply the best track yet from Empress Of, AKA LA singer-songwriter-producer Lorely Rodriguez – the central melody is riveting: feathery and near-falsetto, it drops into a heartwrenching final line as as Rodriguez laments her disconnection from the man she’s with…a song that already feels classic.’ – The Guardian