Lucy Rose: "It gave my songs this intensity that they hadn't had before"
Lucy Rose's new album and accompanying documentary have seen her head out on an adventure few get to experience.
Published: 9:40 am, July 05, 2017
Last year, Lucy Rose spent the best part of two months in South America. Playing thirty-three shows across the continent, it may sound like your average tour, but this was slightly different. Okay, it was very different. Having found out that next to London, her second largest fanbase is in South America, Lucy shared a post on her website saying that she'd tour anywhere there that fans suggested, but on two conditions: one, they book the gig; and two, she could stay with them while there. Lucy soon found herself thrust deep into the lives and homes of so many people, all due to songs she wrote many years ago on her own.
"I'm always a bit sceptical of what it sounds like, that I just went travelling and 'found myself'," she laughs. "That's not really what it's about. Even when I'm like, ‘Oh I went and lived with my fans', I worry people are going to be like, ‘Oh what's she trying to be a saint or something?'" The way Lucy discusses the last year of her life is with a sincerity that can only come from a good place; her feelings are also more than evident in the short film that captured this life-changing journey. ‘Something's Changing', both the title of said film and her upcoming third album is the most vulnerable and open Lucy has been yet.
Having found herself at a bit of a loose end after her last album, ‘Work It Out', which was supposed to be her "breakthrough", it didn't quite fit into Lucy's plan. Now doing things sans label and by her own rules, Lucy is in a stronger position ever - she's even managing herself, though that does come with its own problems, such as answering emails at 6am. "Making that decision was hard because I feel like I can do it, and I think it's better for me, for my own enjoyment, but then there's the odd moment where I just don't want to let anyone down."
Lucy is far from letting anyone down; few artists have gone so far for their fans. While her impact on their lives is evident from the testimonial she's received from speaking to friends of said fans (such as, "she's a changed person since the trip because she was so lacking in confidence"), what Lucy got from the trip is something she never imagined. "I got so much out of the experience. I could never repay the people who asked me to go there; I'll never be able to fully explain to them how amazing it was. The whole experience, and how their kindness and their encouragement to carry on writing music, it's made a huge difference to me."
One way the trip has helped her is the bond formed by spending every single second with the very people who went out of their way to help create this journey. Small talk would find itself worn out pretty sharpish, replaced by more meaningful conversations that would show Lucy how much more to life there is. "I could ask much deeper questions. [How it is] to be a girl living there, or what it's like if someone's gay, how that wasn't within their society and how that made them feel, or how a song has helped them. You could go a lot deeper, and I guess that's made the connections with the people that we stayed with so intense."
She even heard about first-hand experiences of protesting in South America. "In Brazil, we were hanging out with this young boy, and we talked about politics and how frustrated they were. I said, ‘Why aren't you guys going and protesting about it?', and he said he did and pulled his trousers up and he had three rubber bullet holes in his legs where he'd been shot, and it's just like, what the hell?!"
"I absorbed all of that from all of these people and all of their stories and all of their feelings because they all opened up to me," she continues. "It gave my songs this intensity that they hadn't had before. It gave me perspective on things, on what's really important in life, I'd never really had that before."
Lucy uses the word "intense" a lot while talking about everything from the trip to the documentary and her album, but once you've experienced the latter two, you fully understand why. Throughout the film she shares everything, beginning to end. There's the elation from realising that the idea that popped into her head a few months before is now a tangible thing, through to the exhaustion that comes from such extensive and gruelling travelling - not to mention playing fifteen shows in a row at one point. It's all about being open and honest with everything that happens because ultimately, that's life.
Describing this process, she laments: "It'd be so much easier for me if I just pretended I was going through these feelings if I became a different character and didn't feel it. I keep thinking, why don't I do that? But I think my imagination isn't very good. I think that if I haven't felt it, then I don't know how to describe it." Which is where the idea for the trip and Lucy's disillusion with music came to a head, she explains. "The way for me to write my best stuff is to like dig deep within myself and what's going on and why I feel a certain way and try and understand it, like I'm going through my own little therapy all the time, trying to work stuff out."
Truthfully, it all boils down to the essence of being a singer/songwriter - someone who tells stories for others to enjoy. "Music has been the most important [thing] to me in my life so I thought, wow if I could have that impact on even one person, and make a record that really means something to somebody, then that's worth something. That's where my priority was, that's what I wanted to do." It turns out she had that impact on an entire continent no one expected, which is a true testament to the spirit and draw of honest, heartfelt music.
Lucy Rose's album 'Something's Changing' is out 14th July.
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