It’s a bold decision to change direction and move forward into new uncharted territory but this is something that Lucy Rose has done effortlessly on her sophomore album ‘Work It Out’. A confident and distinctly original work that reveals a vibrant and mature pop sensibility that we haven’t witnessed before from this young artist.
We caught up with Lucy to chat about her forthcoming UK tour, working with Bombay Bicycle Club, her cherished Coventry City and much more.
Hi Lucy, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today. Where do we find you right now?
Lucy Rose: “No worries. I’m currently chopping garlic in my kitchen. Very, very exciting stuff.”
You released your sophomore album ‘Work it Out’ a few months ago now. Now that you have had a bit of time to sit with the album, what are your thoughts on the record?
“It’s really hard to know. I mean, I still love the record, and I think my love for it is growing but I’ve had a step back from it, the pressures off, it’s out in the world now. I don’t need to worry so much and now we’re playing the songs live and people are singing them back to me, it’s like this reassurance of being accepted for who I was and who I am at that point of my life when I wrote the music, and that’s kinda all I’m ever really after.”
What’s your favourite lyric out of all the songs on ‘Work it Out’?
“Jesus, umm [laughs]. I don’t know that I have one, to be honest. I really don’t know if I can choose.”
Maybe one that resonates the most with you at this time?
“I honestly just can’t think. It’s like it’s too embarrassing to choose one. I honestly don’t think that I can, it’s too impossible. They all resonate with me, they all mean a lot to me, so it’s really hard.”
You start your huge UK tour in Manchester on 19th October. Do you have any particularly memorable tour memories from your time in Manchester?
“Every tour is really, really memorable. It’s a really wicked city and normally the fans are awesome and extra loud but yeah I think it’s always been really good. I think we’ve played Deaf Institute a few times and that’s been really special, and we played Gorilla last time. Yeah it’s always been special, but it does change from tour to tour. You know there’s a lot of different factors, whether you’re playing on a Monday, Tuesday, Sunday, a Friday or a Saturday night. There are lots of small things on tour depending on how a gig can end up going. So I guess you just look forward to the next one and see what happens.”
Do you still enjoy playing your older songs? Have you ever thought about changing up the arrangements and re-interpreting them for the live setting?
“There’s a few things. I think we’re playing them slightly different to the record anyway, just naturally they become less acoustic and there’s a little bit more of a live element to all of the songs. But no, it’s definitely just enjoyable playing, it’s nice to have the two albums being played side by side and just interchanging between songs from the first record and the second record, it’s a really nice mixture. They don’t feel at all too separate or departed from each other, it’s sort of all blending to this big piece of music that we end up playing at the gig. But yeah, I still love playing them. Haven’t gone off them yet. [laughs]”
Do you find it increasingly harder to pull together a set list, now that you have two albums worth of songs?
“The set lists are the worst part of my day. I hate it, it’s so hard. There’s always going to be some songs we can’t play, and its sods law that the person who loves that song the most will be at the gig that night. We just try and change it up, but it’s just really, really difficult because everyone’s opinions are different. It’s like in the band ‘what shall we play?’, someone doesn’t want to play this song, and someone wants to play a different song, it’s all subjective and different. You end up just going, ‘I have no idea what we should play tonight’ and I always end up wanting to do one of those things where you’re asking people ‘what songs should we play tonight?’ and normally everyone wants the really depressing ones. All of them, and I’m then like ‘Oh no…not all the depressing ones’ [laughs]. But yeah it is hard to know which ones to play. Some songs especially, we enjoy playing a lot more because they are rockier and really fun, and we can have a lot of fun with them but it’s not necessarily the songs that people want to hear, so it’s sort of having that balance of fun and also the songs that really connect to people and that they want to hear as well.”
You have some great artists supporting you on the tour, including Billie Marten and Flyte. Do you get to choose who you bring out on tour with you?
“Yeah I chose them and I’ve known them all for a while, except for C Duncan who I didn’t know beforehand. Billie had done a cover of one of my songs, maybe 4 years ago, when she was 12 she covered ‘Middle of the Bed’ and it went really, really big on the internet. It was like this massive hit and I just thought wow, it’s so sweet that this young girl has done a cover of my song and she’s incredible and I always kept an eye on her, see how she’s getting on. And now she’s started recording her music with the guy who produced my last record, just out of complete coincidence, so it’s a nice connection that’s been going on. So yeah, she was an easy pick and I’m just very thankful that she said yes.
Jake Issac has supported me before in Ireland and we’ve met him at a few festivals, he’s just a really fun guy. He’s not just musically really great, but such a fun person to be with. And again Flyte, they are best friends with my guitar player and my bass player in my band, they all went to school together, so it was like ‘yeah we should do that because that will be really fun as well’.”
You have sold your own brand of tea and jams on tour in the past, and there was a pretty big demand for it as well. Do you have any plans to branch out further into other beverages or light accompaniments in the future?
“Well…I don’t know. At the moment I can’t say there aren’t any big plans to do anything else, just concentrating solely on the tea distribution but who knows.”
Looking through your Instagram and facebook feeds, I saw a lot of photos of you and the band on tour and at festivals this summer, you look like you’ve had the best time. Do you ever have to stop and pinch yourself that you get to live this life and travel to all these incredible places?
“All the time. Always pinching myself. Well, normally the good reality moment is, you pinch yourself, you’re like ‘this is just unbelievable!’ and then you go and stay in your hotel room and you’re like ‘Oh my god, this is terrifying. This hotel is so scary.’ which brings you back to reality. But no, I think all the time when we’re on stage and when we’re touring, and having loads of fun it is very, very surreal. Especially with the thought of touring with the people that have become my best mates, you know I’ve always been very good friends with the people in my band, but when you’re spending 24/7 with each other, you end up becoming closer than you do with most people you’ve known all your life. We’ve had the odd gig which has just worked out for everyone. Everyone’s had a really, really great show and we’re all buzzing and those moments are really special because you really can’t take them for granted. That feeling when you’ve had a great show and you’ve played music that everyone’s loved, that is the ultimate buzz.”
I hear that you support Coventry City, what are your thoughts on the team this season?
“Oh I think the team is doing wicked this season. They’ve had one of the strongest starts that we’ve had in absolutely ages. Are you a football fan?”
Not myself, but one of my work colleagues supports Coventry and he collects the old vintage shirts.
“Really? I’ve got quite a few he’d be interested in, I’m sure. I have my own vintage collection. Yeah it’s been an amazing start, it’s very due. I just hope we don’t sell those players that are our star players, I hope that we don’t see them go too soon or at all really.”
In your latest music video for ‘Till the End’ you had the chance to play football with some pro players. It must have been fun filming that video?
“It was a lot of fun. I mean mainly because normally all the attention is on me. I’m always having to be the main person in it. Whereas this one, I was one of ten people and it was a lot of fun. It was just running around, just having fun for the day, it was all very relaxed unlike most music videos. It was super relaxed, super chilled and I’ve now joined that football club, the girl football club. They were like ‘you have to come and train with us, and play with us’ so that’s a big positive for me, to meet them and be able to go and play football in London.”
It’s no secret that working with Bombay Bicycle Club was a great starting point for your career. How important to you were those initial collaborations with Bombay?
“Hugely. I mean more than anything it was a massive confidence boost at the time, when I had huge doubts, no one particularly was paying a huge amount of interest to me. I had people coming to my shows but I really didn’t know where the future was going to go, and for a band to ask me to come and sing, and my voice to be on their record was a massive confidence boost. And it really did change my life in huge ways.”
I have to say, your cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ is one of the best things I’ve heard all year.
“Shut up, really?”
Yeah I love it.
“Really, ahh that’s great!”
Yeah I couldn’t believe it when you started playing it at Kendal Calling, that person that requested it deserves a medal or something.
“That’s very true, that’s amazing. Oh thank you.”
Do you like the challenge of reworking other artist’s songs?
“Yeah definitely. I mean that one was definitely hard, it was confusing to be like ‘oh god, this has got a rap in it’ I did have to listen to the rap a LOT. Like so much, to get it right. I was like ‘this is going to be really hard’ so yeah I listened to that a lot. There is pressure, especially in the Radio 1 live lounge you really want this to be good and everyone’s covering everything and they want it to be something off the playlist, and you’re thinking it’s going to be hard to find something that suits me on the playlist that works out. But yeah, it was actually really, really fun and we all really enjoyed it.”
If you could choose an artist or band to cover one of your songs in the live lounge, who would that be and what would they sing?
“I would like Kendrick Lemar to do me the honour of singing one of mine back, that would be pretty awesome. If Taylor Swift did a cover of my song, I think that would be just the highlight of my life. That would be ridiculous.”
After your October tour, what are your plans? Do you finally get some time off for Christmas before it all starts again in the new year?
“Yeah I mean once we finish, we finish on November 18th, once that’s done, yeah I guess. Well, really I want to be writing again, thinking about the next record but I will be taking some sort of a break because I’ll just be at home. But hopefully not a creative break because I wanna think about the next record and get going on that really.”
Lucy Rose will be touring the UK throughout October and November, tickets are available here.
UK Tour Dates:
19th October – Manchester Academy 3
20th October – Bath Komedia
21st October – Cardiff Tramshed
23rd October – Norwich Waterfront
24th October – Wrexham Central
25th October – Carlisle Brickyard
27th October – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
28th October – Glasgow Oran Mor
29th October – Belfast Empire
30th October – Dublin The Button Factory
1st November – Leeds University Union
2nd November – Exeter Phoenix
3rd November – Southend-on-Sea Chinnery’s
7th November – Liverpool O2 Academy2
8th November – Oxford O2 Academy
9th November – Leicester O2 Academy2
10th November – Northampton Roadmender
12th November – Newcastle Riverside
13th November – Warwick Arts Centre
14th November – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
15th November – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
17th November – Stoke–On-Trent Sugarmill
18th November – London The Forum