Popping Up: Lyrica Anderson

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too

We all know Timbaland is working hand-in-hand with his one-time protege Missy Elliott on the rapper’s forthcoming album. But the producer is also lending his coveted Midas touch to Lyrica Anderson. Lyrica is a veteran songwriter, penning music for the likes of Demi Lovato (“All Night Long“), Dr. Dre and Miley Cyrus. But Timbo had her step in front of the mic for his song “Mentally,” and now she’s ready to step into the spotlight. And trust us, the sassy singer was made for it.

Lyrica’s debut mixtape King Me comes out on September 25, featuring guest spots by Missy Elliott and Timbaland, so we sat down with her to talk about transitioning from writer to performer. Watch the interview up top, and read on for everything you need to know about Lyrica, including the video for her fresh remix of Rick Ross‘ “Diced Pineapples” (called “I Might Like It”).

FULL NAME: Lyrica Anderson (Yep! Lyrica is her real first name.)

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Los Angeles

SOUNDS LIKE: Demi Lovato, with the over all feel of Kelis — especially on her twerk-encouraging jam “Jello”.

INFLUENCES: Aside from her native Southern Cali roots and her mother — a singer/songwriter whom Lyrica would watch on stage as a child — the R&B siren has cited musical influences ranging from the late Whitney Houston to Faith Evans to Mariah Carey. She also ranks “new school” rappers including Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Drake and Lil Wayne as her current faves. “I’m really loving what they’re doing.”

AN EARLY START: Lyrica first tried her hand at songwriting when she was just 13 years old. She remembers that day in the studio with her mom: “I was really trippin’ out because I didn’t even know I could write and words were just coming to me.” After co-writing her first song with her mother, the L.A. native says she knew that she didn’t just want to be a performer, but a songwriter as well and set about building a catalog of work. Things progressed from there when she landed herself a publishing deal. The King Me diva explains, “slowly but surely I started getting a lot of placements and that opened the door for me to get a record deal.”

ON MEETING TIMBALAND: Ms. Anderson linked up with the rapper/producer through a series of unexpected events. “I was just having lunch with my mom and [James Mason] came up to me and asked me had I ever met Timbaland before. And I was like, ‘That’s a very random, out-of-the-blue question’… He said, ‘I just saw you and I feel like he’d really love you. Are you an artist?… And we exchanged numbers and he ended up introducing me to Timb a few days after that. It was on from there.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Keep an ear out for King Me‘s “Speed It Up”, which Lyrica described as one of her favorites from the mixtape. “I fell in love with it from the first day we recorded it… We wanted to do just like a slick, dark vibe and that’s basically what we did.” Though Lyrica feels like King Me is more like an album than a mixtape, expect a proper LP from her soon.

What do you think of Timbaland’s latest protege? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook.