L♀LA is an English VOCALOID developed and distributed by Zero-G Limited, and was released in January 2004 for the first VOCALOID engine. She, along with LE♂N, were among the first voice banks to be commercially distributed. LOLA is advertised as a "virtual female soul vocalist modeled on a real professional singer"; her voice provider has never been revealed, but was described officially as "Black" and is a well established musician in Great Britain. Her provider has her origins, however, in the Caribbean.
While it is unknown why Zero-G choose this name, "Lola" is a Spanish and English name and can be used for both boys and girls (the male version having a different meaning and origin entirely). As a female name, its origins is from the name "Dolores". The name "Lola" means "Sorrows".
LOLA's boxart was standard for her day and rival software package Cantor would later adopt the same boxart style, the boxart for both products are from a stock image. The photographer for LOLA's boxart is unknown, but the photograph is on various stock photo sites. An example of the original is here titled "Profile of woman with finger next to lips" x13037575. LOLA has since been taken as one of the few "Avatar-less" VOCALOIDs.
LOLA and LEON received standard advertisement for their day. They were advertised on the internet and in electronic magazines. At the time, this was normal for software synthesizers and there was no VOCALOID fandom to aid with their development. They were aimed at professionals and therefore, had no fan input in mind. Their boxart was changed, along with the method of marketing them, some time after Zero-G announced their role in the development of VOCALOID and both were intended to be marketed as a pair.
For a period she, along with LEON and MIRIAM, were not for sale due to the lack of interest in synthesized voices. This lack of interest was owed to the sudden change in indie music trends. After increased interest began to occur in VOCALOID and demand was renewed, Zero-G began reselling LEON, LOLA, and MIRIAM from their own website via their virtual shop. According to a Zero-G interview in 2010, the three may also get a redesign in the future.
It was LOLA and LEON's appearance at the NAMM trade show that would later introduce rival VOCALOID studio PowerFX to the VOCALOID program.
LOLA, MIRIAM, and BIG AL were slated to be featured in the original soundtrack of freeware RPG "Ad Lucem". The project remains unfinished.
LOLA users often recommend that it is best to set her gender factor at "56" for best results within her voice.
LOLA's voice provider is said to be heard in a demo, here. (Archived on October 27, 2005.)
The song, "Beloved Tomboyish Girl" was covered by LOLA and posted on Nico Nico Douga on March 3, 2004. This was the first VOCALOID song to be uploaded onto Nico Nico Douga. It was originally removed and then later re-added in 2007.
"[LOLA] *雪ちよちよ* also known as *雪ちゆちゆ" by komadori ft. LOLA Niconico
"[LOLA] *Yuki Chiyo Chiyo*" by komadori ft. LOLA (video down as of May 6, 2013) YouTube
It is unknown how many units were sold, but as KAITO was the only commercial VOCALOID failure reported, it is safe to say she sold at least 1,000 units. According to Crypton Future Media, LOLA, along with LEON, failed to impact the American market due to their "British" accents.
As there was not much of a Vocaloid fandom to begin with, most fan interest were relatively late in responses to the VOCALOID and came as the result of the popularity of the VOCALOID2 engine. LOLA herself was relatively unknown until interest was sparked by a video related to LEON.
Initially, according to official word upon LOLA's release, LOLA was rejected by user's as a soul singer due to the fact when LOLA sang outside of the soul music genre, her accent reverted back to a Caribbean one. Her accent left many users confused on if she was Spanish or Japanese. This meant that LOLA's results were carried by her vocal type being more genre matched, than the results of her English pronunciations. This in turn impacted the racial representation of the vocal in matching the soul singer genre and LOLA was the most criticized for her vocal racial representation than LEON.
In the Nico Nico Douga International Vocaloid ranking 2010, LOLA held the second highest number appearances in the top 30 songs with 5 songs, 3 of which made it into the top 10. The top song of 2010 was also a song that used LOLA. She was the only English VOCALOID besides BIG AL to have a song where she was the sole English vocal singing in the top 10.
"海外組VOCALOIDランキング2010（仮）" by あっちゃん ft. English VOCALOIDs
An independent search on Nico Nico Douga revealed that most VOCALOIDs had less than 1,000 videos uploaded on Nico Nico Douga in 2011 between July 1st and December 15th. LOLA fell into that category.
First Female vocal ever released
One of the two first VOCALOIDs ever released
One of the first two VOCALOID voicebanks ever released
One of the two first English vocals ever released
One of the two first specialized vocals ever released
One of the two first Zero-G VOCALOIDs released
One of the first two avatar-less VOCALOIDs produced