“I have no idea what I’m playing, I just know I play it all very weirdly!”, Lucy Rose
Sometimes – although it’s rare – you will watch someone sing a song with lyrics that are clearly so personal to them that even as they’re singing it you can hear their brain go, “I really, really wish I hadn’t written that line…” Most recently that person was Warwickshire-born singer songwriter Lucy Rose who dropped into the Spotify office to sing three songs from her forthcoming album.
“That’s 100% what I felt like!” Lucy laughs. “I was cringing inside. There’s a time when your songs are so fresh that you really feel every word. The strange thing is, I’m definitely not an emotional person in any way. I’m actually quite cold when it comes to my emotions – I don’t show things. When you can hide behind a microphone the truth feels less honest, somehow. But just singing like that in front of you all…
Lucy grew up in a village called Rowington playing clarinet, saxophone and drums, but it was the guitar that she fell in love with so deeply her parents would confiscate it when it was exam revision time. Aged 16 she began writing her own songs and two years later she moved to London where she sought out every Open Mic night she could play all these new pieces at. A completely self-taught musician, her songs, even when just played on acoustic guitar, are full of criss-crossing rhythms and melodies.
“I have always tried to make as much of a rich sound as possible with what I had,” she says. “And I have no idea what I’m playing, I just know I play it all very weirdly!”
Five years spent playing live as often as possible has given Lucy a peculiarly vulnerable confidence – as well as a very decent set of co-workers; Bjorn Agren, formerly of Razorlight plays in her band and she’s friends with Ed Sheeran and has worked a lot with Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle Club.
What did all those shows teach you about performing?
That there’s something truly courageous about playing to people who don’t want to hear your music! I still find it so inspiring watching ten people in one night play a song they’ve only just written in their bedroom.
You’ve released three EPs and you’re working on your major label debut album – does it get get easier?
It’s not as hard as it was. There have been times when I thought it was ridiculous to even try to do this. I’ve actually felt that a lot. There have been plenty of times where no one gets it or likes it, but then you might get a message from someone saying your music helped them in a particular way and, somehow, that makes it all ok again.
Who do you feel inspired by?
Feist. I have only just got into her, in the beginning she was the reason I thought I’d never want to do an advert as she did the iPod one, but she proved me wrong. She proved a lot of people wrong. Now she makes these insanely incredible albums, she is full of creativity and I find her massively inspiring. I look at Feist and think, I don’t care about money. All I want to do is make as many albums as I can until I’m 60 and I feel like I’m done.
Easy last question – what is the greatest record ever made?
Oh god, that’s the hardest question ever! But I think I’d say Joni Mitchell’s Blue because however many time I listen to it I always hear something new. After 1000 listens it will still get to you. Apparently, when she first took the record to her label they told her they couldn’t release it as it was just too revealing, too personal, but that’s why it was such a massive success. She clearly means every single last word.
Lucy Rose’s next single Bikes will be available on Spotify on September 16 and her debut album, Like I Used To, will be available on September 24, both on Columbia Records. Listen to Lucy Rose on Spotify now.