Lucy Rose on refugee crisis and life as an introvert ahead of Manchester Academy gig

Lucy Rose reveals how ‘heartbroken’ she is by the refugee crisis, that she’s ‘dead silent’ during the day, and the next little piece of the jigsaw, ahead of her Manchester Academy gig on October 19.

It’s well-known that speaking confidently elicits respect. We’re taught that from a young age. Whether in the playground, workplace or in the family household, there is always an outspoken individual.

And what of the softly spoken and introverted? Sometimes interrupted or even dismissed, as an endless number of excellent ideas become lost in an empty space of nothingness. It’s a sad reality.

But there’s a choice: do the softly spoken react with frustration? Quietly muttering under their breathe that they like to eat dead cats.

Or do they react like Lucy Rose? A self-confessed, ‘dead silent’ introvert who fought to ensure that her new album was authentic and music video displayed her being ‘mauled’ by animals while dressed in food.

“I’m dead quiet in the day time,” said the singer-songwriter, when asked of her ‘strange’ habits. “I normally stay well and truly inside my head.

“People end up lip reading to have a conversation with me, so I communicate by clicking with my mouth for ‘no’ and two clicks for ‘yes’, so I sometimes just refuse to talk point blank!”

Since releasing first album Like I Used To (2012), a beautifully raw acoustic arrangement which hugs you hard and hands you a bread roll fresh from the oven, Lucy has moved into a different realm.

She used to stay on her sisters’ sofas, use her parents’ living room and the local town hall in Warwickshire for recording, while even offering to pay train fares to random musicians who she met on Facebook.

And while Lucy finds joint efforts with unfamiliar writers difficult, the London-based musician has thrived in the past with Bombay Bicycle Club, Ghostpoet and Peace.

But after reaching number 13 in the UK charts, Lucy is with Columbia Records, a new producer in Rich Cooper (Mumford & Sons and Tom Odell), and an album that she ensures represents her.

“I know it’s people’s jobs, but I’m not wildly into meeting someone for the first time and expected to pour my heart out and write a hit together,” said Lucy on writing Work It Out, her forthcoming album.

“And that’s the problem, I don’t want to write a ‘hit’. There’s a difference between the mindset of, ‘let’s write a hit together today because my album needs singles’ and going in together and writing a great song.”

The 26-year-old used Beatmaker 2 app on her iPad to produce demos, so as to build the foundation of her songs with drumbeats and basslines. This made her new sound more electronic than organic.

But Lucy described how she would ‘argue’, ‘constantly fight’ and be told that ‘what I’m producing isn’t good enough’ by her affiliates, which would cause her to stress that this is what she considers ‘her music’.

It’s a fickle, consumerist industry that forces conformity and crushes dissidence. But after consenting to a video idea from a friend rather than her record label, it appears Lucy is moving forward.

“Directors talk about what she’s going to wear, how she is going to look, ‘let’s make her really cool so people will like her more’,” she said.

“Fuck that! I don’t want someone to like me for my songs because of the way I look in my video or because of what I’m bloody wearing.

“I would rather someone take the Mickey out of me and make someone laugh with something that was visually exciting and memorable.

“So as soon as my friend Anna came up with the idea, I think my label were so annoyed with me because I’d said no about doing all these videos and then I was like ‘yeah let’s just get mauled by some animals’.”

Part of the reason why Lucy is so conscious of showing ‘herself’ through her music is that she cares about people and their perception of her.

She’s got a strong relationship with her fans, meeting regularly with them after gigs and is known to have travelled home with them. 

The musician also has her own brand of ‘inexpensive’ tea, not just because she is a huge fan of tea but because she ‘feels bad’ when fans spend too much money to come and see her.

And she’s a human rights advocator, supporter of Amnesty International and backer of Jeremy Corbyn.

The songwriter believes the refugee crisis, where more than 480,000 refugees travelled to Europe this year, is ‘heartbreakingly sad’.

“I cannot just sit here and worry about how it will affect my life selfishly, which I understand is an argument.

“But I cannot just sit here when something terrible, destructive and unbelievably inhumane is going on.

“It’s really, really heartbreakingly sad,” she said. “So I will support the refugee welcome campaign fully.”

She wants to be a good person, but it is her ‘niceness’ and ‘inoffensive’ nature which critics believe prevent her from taking further risks and reaching the next level. 

Which makes you wonder whether there’s room for ‘nice people’ to flourish in any capitalist industry.

When asked if frequent platitudes of her work as fragile, gentle and pretty annoy her, she said: “Yes, the word pretty especially. A lot of people have the tendency to judge others. 

“Anything to do with physical appearance seems irrelevant to me when talking about music. A lot of my songs are fragile from the first record, but I’m not necessarily a fragile person.

“I speak my mind, I care a lot. I’m not a fragile, gentle person that could just break. I’m really passionate and I wouldn’t take a lot of shit, ever.

“Which is probably why the second record musically is a huge departure. I’m hoping it’ll be a little piece to the jigsaw for people to understand who I am and hopefully impress.”

But while critics argue that she’s ‘too nice’, that doesn’t stop her from enjoying herself on stage.

“We do the odd stage dare,” she said. “We got our drummer to unbutton the button on his shirt for every other three songs.

“So he just got his whole chest out on the last song, which was very entertaining.

“We normally just laugh at each other if we make a mistake, it’s just a classic thing where if someone makes a mistake everyone else is just sniggering. It’s impossible not to.”

When asked about her vision for the future, Lucy indicated that she has no intention of becoming more ‘inward looking’ in order to focus on improving her music.

“I want to do some more somehow,” she said. “I feel like for the last six years of my life I’ve wanted to do music and while that’s so important to me I want to be more outward looking.

“I’m going to go to South America to people that have been messaging and supporting me for years and years.

“If you can give positive energy you can get it back tenfold. Right now I feel like that’s what I need, because you can get caught up in things that really don’t matter. 

“Maybe a litte bit of an escape to that and working towards things that do matter.”

Lucy will be performing at the Manchester Academy 3 on October 19 as part of her UK tour to promote her forthcoming album.

Tickets can be found here.

Image courtesy of Daniel Alexander Harris, with thanks.

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