LP Giobbi: How She Revived the Spirit of House, and Channeled Its Power for Good
LP Giobbi has been called the queen of piano house, but her role in the global dance community is so much more.
She has quickly carved out a unique yet nostalgic sound, striking a fine balance between the power and beauty of house music. LP Giobbi—taken from her name, Leah Chisolm, and her mother’s maiden name, Giobbi—is bringing back the forgotten art of ‘piano house’ by calling upon the genre’s roots with intricate piano melodies and powerful vocals.
Arriving on the scene in 2018, the Oregon-native has quickly become a leader on the dancefloor as well as in the community. While her journey into the scene wasn’t as straightforward as for others, the producer has embraced it and is thriving in her newfound niche.
Born to “hippy parents,” LP Giobbi was raised on the transcendental music of the Grateful Dead. After attending a festival with her father, they realized traces of a similar culture and experience to the cult of dance music today. The spiritual power of the music, the unifying nature of dance, the lengthy and improvisational sets, the drugs… these aspects are all shared between these two massive movements that have captured the spirits of their respective generations.
LP started playing piano at a young age, and would eventually go on to study jazz piano at UC Berkeley. She was eventually discovered in a jazz bar by Daft Punk producer Peter Franco, who recruited her to play in LEX, an all female synth band in L.A. After playing a set with the band at a festival, LP Giobbi played an after-party DJ-set, where she would catch the interest of Sofi Tukker. The group invited LP Giobbi to play with them on tour, despite her insistence that she wasn’t really a DJ yet.
Nevertheless, Giobbi became a DJ while on the road, learning by ”failing night after night.” She began to study and consume as much electronic music as she could and put her intensive music education to work. Inspired by Grimes to take up producing on her own, and taking notes from the sets of DJ legends Honey Dijon and The Blessed Madonna, LP Giobbi immersed herself in house music.
“More than the music, I was drawn to the culture,” LP Giobbi told MP3 MAG. “It was a safe space on the dancefloor, and a unifying force where you could be free. You could be a freak, you could be whatever you needed to be. I loved that ethos. I wanted to be a part of that scene.”
Giobbi realized that she could incorporate her piano prowess into her music, just like the forefathers of house music had done. It’s quite the coincidence that one of her songs, “Move Your Body,” has the same name as the first-ever house track to feature a piano, “The House Music Anthem” by the legendary Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson.
“House music is body music,” said Giobbi. “What I love about house music is that it is not about music theory in any way shape or form, it is just about how it feels in your body. The constant heartbeat of the kick and different percussion instruments act as different parts of our flowing body. Freeing your mind through your body, similar to meditation.”
LP Giobbi’s uplifting house anthems call out to the dancefloor, imploring audiences to set themselves free on the dancefloor. Many of her songs feature powerful vocals from black women, none of which are more recognizable than those of hermixalot, whose house sermons permeate LP’s discography. Early songs like “Believer” and “Perfect Fire” channel the raw, spiritual energy of classic Chicago house, and LP Giobbi elevates them with her incredible keys. Of their unique and spirited house homilies, she says, “I kind of wrote down what I wanted to hear on the dancefloor, and as she spoke it she made it her own.”
LP’s connection with house music goes deeper than her powerful piano chords and rockin’ rhythms. Her dedication to the community is unparalleled, and she has worked hard to foster positive change and diversity in the world of music. In 2019, she founded the non-profit organization Femme House, a platform to help women, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups get involved in music and learn technical skills like producing, engineering, and DJing. USC’s Annenberg Initiative found that only 5% of the songs in a sample spanning nine years of popular music had a woman producer.
When asked about her inspiration to start the initiative, LP told MP3 MAG, “I had really awesome mentors in the music industry, who were men, that were so supportive and taught me so much. The biggest barrier to me was the [lack of] visual representation. It didn’t even occur to me because I didn’t see myself in that role. I had never worked with a female producer or engineer. When I took my first Ableton class, it was basically me and 250 other guys. That pumped me up, but that’s not the case for everyone else. I wanted to create a safe space where we could foster a community and pass our tracks around and get better together.”
When the pandemic pushed things online, the organization realized the unintended consequence of being able to reach a global community with livestreams, and demand for the courses has become massive. Femme House offers workshops, online courses, guidance from industry leaders, and hosts weekly Twitch livestreams.
LP Giobbi also recently launched her own radio show on Sirius XM, Femme House Radio, which highlights diverse artists from the world of electronic music. Besides her involvement with Femme House, she is the North American Music Director for W Hotels, co-founder of the Animal Talk label with Sofi Tukker, and has her own clothing line.
When talking to LP Giobbi, one feels the positive energy emanating from her. It’s clear that she has a lot of it to keep up with all of these projects, as well as a busy touring schedule.
Of course, LP’s music has made a difference as well. Her 2020 song, “Meet Again,” perfectly captured the spirit of the dance community during lockdown, which the producer admitted to affecting her music.
“It felt inappropriate to make bangers for the dancefloor when there was no dancefloor,” she said. “It forced me to draw back into my jazz phase, and I found myself making more beautiful piano progressions. [Lockdown] gave me the freedom and courage to more fully realize who I really am as an artist. I actually am more emotional and beautiful than I wanted to be before. I learned that those songs connect with people- really that’s why I play live shows, for human connection.”
Giobbi has explored this more sensitive side with recent releases like “Close Your Eyes” and “Take My Hand,” songs that evoke emotion with their twinkling keys and uplifting buildups.
LP Giobbi’s talent and musicianship is on full display in her performances, where she creates live rhythms and piano melodies on pads and instruments while channeling her inner Jerry Garcia—even mixing in some of his profound acapellas and lyrics into her sets for the headiest of fans. Though it might be a different time and a different style, LP Giobbi is proving that the power of music transcends all, and is here to serve as the ultimate good of this world.