All over the town, they say I love you. We love you, Lucy Rose! It is impossible for the petite singer-songwriter not to garner fans wherever she goes, with her undeniable charm and nostalgic tunes. Self-taught since the age of sixteen, she has displayed tremendous grit in performing at open mic nights and writing her own material, on top of acing her A-levels and scoring a place at University College London. What draw fans to her are her delicate melodies and poignant lyrics, accompanied with the dulcet tones of her guitar.
Playing three shows at the Mosaic Music Festival 2014 last week, Lucy showed a mix of her sweet and more playful side. Playing upbeat fan favourites like “Lines”, “Middle of the Bed”, “All I’ve Got” and “Bikes”, she got the whole room dancing rhythmically in their seats and singing along with her. The cowbell and varied percussion added a whole new dimension to her usually acoustic songs. With her soulful renditions of “Night Bus” and “Shiver”, Lucy hypnotised the crowd into an expressive silence, who clapped appreciatively at the end of every ballad.
Showing small glimpses of her cheekiness, she teased the crowd not long after the show started, “Are you done yet?”, with a reply of indignant “Nooooo”s from the sea of faces. The gig was peppered with hilarious and random proclamations of love from some guys in the audience, which elicited giggles on her end. Lucy was also extremely apologetic about having sold out all her merchandise ahead of her last gig. “I’m giving hugs instead,” she mentioned sheepishly.
Introducing some new songs, Lucy treated the crowd to “Cover Up”, which she worried was going to be a little weird but was rapturously received. She followed with another new song “Nebraska” that had heartrending lyrics like “walking on thin ice to find who I really am”. Classic Lucy.
Can you tell us a bit about your first album, “Like I Used To”?
Well, it’s my first album and I recorded it all at my parents’ house as at the time I wasn’t signed and didn’t have any funds. I’d been wanting to record the songs for a while so it felt amazing to actually be getting the songs down for people to listen to.
You started writing your own songs at the age of 16. What got you interested in songwriting?
I’m not sure really, same as everyone, I imagine. I liked playing music but I taught myself guitar so I couldn’t play anyone else’s songs because I had no idea how to play anything so I starting writing little things for myself.
What’s your songwriting process like and what are your song inspirations?
It was very different on “Like I Used To”. They were all songs written on my guitar in my bedroom, not knowing if anyone would hear them. Chords followed by a melody and lyrics. At the moment, I’m writing starting on different instruments, either with a beat, a baseline or on the piano. It changes as I learn more.
Your music videos are refreshingly original. The video for “Bikes”, for example, was rather unexpected for typical folk/acoustic music. Were you trying to send out a message to your listeners?
I wasn’t trying to send out a message, I just wanted to make a video that I would have fun making. I’d always wanted to ride a motorbike in the desert in California with a load of bikers so I pitched the idea and it actually happened. Was so much fun!
Who have been the greatest influences on your music?
On the songwriting front, it’s all the old classics: Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Nico, Tom Waits. They are all such incredible songwriters and they taught me a lot. But I also love a good band that rocks out, like The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle club and Foals.
How does your reception differ in various countries, say overseas audiences compared to back home in England? Any memorable moments playing at music festivals?
It really differs from gig to gig, not even country to country. I’ve been very lucky and nearly everywhere, we’ve been greeted with amazing people. Definitely a few festivals stick out from last summer, Glastonbury probably being my highlight!
What else do you have planned for the rest of 2014?
I’m currently sitting in the studio now finishing the next album, which is exciting, then back on the road and playing lots of shows, hopefully.
When you’re not songwriting, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to go to the cinema, (take) long walks and (drink) lots of tea!
Image Credits: Esplanade/Hoong Wei Long