An Interview with Lucy Spraggan

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Nine years after she became an overnight star on The X Factor, singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan has scored a huge success with her latest album, Choices. She talks to @Roger Crow about creating it, the price of fame, getting fit and making people cry.

Hi Lucy. I’m loving your new album Choices; parts are like a cinematic road trip around the States. What are the influences?
That’s bob on that; that’s definitely what I was setting out for. Sonically I did a lot of riding around in the desert on a Harley in Nevada last year. I was listening to a lot of rock music, and I was watching a lot of Tarantino films. I had a lot of influence from that kind of desert rat sound.

How long did it take to record and write?
The funny thing is I didn’t set out to write an album. It’s just appeared. Let’s say two years, but probably a bit less than that.

How do you think your voice has changed over the years?
I think it’s matured quite a lot. I can definitely do a lot more with it now. Confidence has a lot to do with it, so I think there’s more ability there. I think just as you settle into whatever it is you do, you become more technically able. If you sing a lot you become better at singing (laughs).

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Your X Factor audition has had 29 million views. That must be surreal?
It’s funny. It’s what my career came from, but at the same time it’s not.

Was it odd thinking ‘My life has changed from this point on’?
Yeah, well you don’t really get to acknowledge it at the time. Because I was famous overnight… I would go as far as saying it is pretty traumatic. It’s a big deal in your life and truly whether you do continue in music or whether you end up working in the supermarket, as far as I’m aware for all people that have been on shows like that, your life will never return to what it was.

So you don’t miss your old day job of selling the baby photos for 99p?
Sometimes I miss not being known, and wish I could be as invisible as I was when I did that job.

How have you been coping with lockdown?
Surprisingly well. It’s something I would not have expected to do very well at. I mean I tour eight or nine months of the year generally, so getting rid of that left me with a lot of space and a lot of time. Thankfully it means I’ve been able to write a great album and focus on me and my well being really.

Are you aware of how emotional some of your music is, because a track like ‘Tea and Toast’ packs such a punch.
It’s something I’ve done throughout my career. ‘Sober’ from the new album is probably the most emotional recent song. Basically I’ve always wanted to make people cry.

Your track ‘All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ from your fourth album definitely does that. When I reviewed it for On Yorkshire, I said “It’s a little like inviting an old friend into my living room, telling me their innermost feelings, breaking my heart, and then just leaving.”
I remember that quote. It was very nice. I was recently re-capping on all the things I’ve done in my career, and I kind of forgot about that song and the connection it has to Alzheimer’s and stuff like that. I felt really proud that I’ve been able to cover so many things in my career.

You look amazing. How can I get abs like yours?
Oh it’s a massive fluke. I wouldn’t try for it if I was you. The thing about me is I’ve been trying to keep up with everyone else my whole life; I have a lot of friends that are guys, so I’ve always been as strong as them, and jumped as high as them, but I had a slightly higher body fat percentage, so when I lost that, I was left with these abs, which I was shocked as anyone else by.

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What’s the secret?
Because I’m 19 months sober, that is what has had the biggest difference to me and my life. Because the sobriety has enabled the fitness, and it’s enabled the productivity and the clarity, I’d say it’d down to kicking alcohol.

Obviously assuming Covid clears up, when can we see you play Yorkshire again?
I’m playing at Crash Records in Leeds; I think that’s scheduled for June, but I’m not going to be playing any shows until there are no cases here because I don’t want to be part of the problem, even if we are allowed to play shows. I’m not bothered about running out and making cash. This has been a financially catastrophic year for me, but to me everybody healthy is the thing that I want to prioritise.

Thanks for your time and congratulations on the album doing so well.
Thanks, I really appreciate it.

The album by Lucy Spraggan, ‘Choices’ is out now


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