With the release of her latest single ‘Everything Changes’ British recording artist Lucy Spraggan celebrates a remarkable decade in music.
Serving as the lead single to be taken from her much anticipated, as-yet-untitled 7th studio album – the follow up to last years critically acclaimed ‘Choices’ – Spraggan says she’s determined to deliver a project that will reflect upon on the changes both she, and the world, have experienced since 2012; the year the ‘Roots’ singer first won the hearts of the nation following her scene stealing audition on the 9th series of The X Factor.
“It’s funny, people will come up to me say: ’when you went for that first X Factor audition, did you ever imagine that 10 years later you’d still be doing music?’ And they’re always a bit taken aback, and maybe slightly appalled when I’m like: ‘Yes. Yes I did!’” Lucy says letting out a hearty laugh as we ask how she feels to be celebrating such a monumental milestone in her career. “I don’t know if that’s because some people just don’t like it when a person is seemingly very confident, or if that level of honesty makes them feel uncomfortable but… I genuinely believed, and did see myself having a lasting career in music, and I make no apologises for that.”
“I’ve always been quite self-assured old soul, and so I don’t really let anybody ever tell me ‘no’ – actually, that’s not true, I do let them say ‘no’, but that then doesn’t mean I’m going to give up, and go home and cry about it. If I hit a roadblock then I’ll create a diversion, and find a different route to get to where I need to be. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it when you eventually achieve your end goal.”
It’s without doubt this inner self-belief, and her steely determination to succeed that has afford Lucy the life she has today. And whilst the 31-year-old is the first to admit that the road to get to this point hasn’t always been easy, she says the lessons she’s learnt along the way form the concepts for the songs set to feature on her forthcoming album…
“Everything changes and nothing’s the same…”
“The direction and overall feel for this record has shifted a couple of times throughout the course of making it.” Lucy reveals as we begin to discuss the singular tone and message the new album conveys. “But I always knew that I wanted it to be music that felt nostalgic, and have it be a body of work that was reflective of my past and the journey I’ve taken over the course of the last 10 years.”
As a society we are often lead to believe that revisiting the past is a negative and pointless exercise, for doing so only makes working towards our future goals harder. Instead we’re encouraged to keep our attentions firmly focused on the road ahead, and concentrate only on up and coming endeavours. But, as Lucy is eager to point out, looking back doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, nor is it something we should necessarily shy away from doing, for it can sometimes be a positive reminder of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown in spite of our struggles. The problem arises however, when we want to go back, instead of wanting to move forward…
“We’re often told to leave the past in the past, and let sleeping dogs lie or however the saying goes…” Lucy says with a wry smile. “But I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, because I feel like everything we go through in the past, helps to shape who we are in the present. I know we can’t hold onto things forever, like there does have to come a point when you’ve just got to let certain things go, but as a sort of cathartic exercise to release some of that pent up hurt, I do actually think it’s quite important to acknowledge and be aware of whats come before us.”
As for her current outlook on the complex issue of time, a defiant Spraggan adds with conviction: “But for me, and where I’m at in my life right now, I’m making a conscious effort to be present and live in the moment. I’m aware of the past, I’m grateful for it, I’ve explored it, but I refuse to be a prisoner of it. And whenever anybody asks me about the future, my answer is simple: ‘I don’t know what my future looks like, and I’m good with not knowing’, because without wishing to sound too morbid or pessimistic, I could die tomorrow! We have no control over anything other than the decisions we make in the here and now.”
Such thoughts are explored and further brought to life in ‘Everything Changes’ – a poignant and evocative, rousing pop ballad that beautifully captures the essence of Spraggan’s current state of mind. Evoking warm feelings of nostalgia, as well as radiating with glimmers of hopeful new beginnings, the self-reflective track may sound familiar, but it’s profound and deeply personal lyric offers real insight into the personal growth Lucy has undertaken over the course of the last decade.
Everything Changes (Official Music Viddeo
“I wanted this song to feel like a bit of a re-introduction to who I am, and (for it to be) a reminder of what I do.” Spraggan says of the ‘Everything Changes’. “For 10 years I’ve kind of been known as ‘that bird off X Factor who had bear fear’, and that’s cool, I’m good with that – I’m not trying to deny my past or pretend that’s not who I am, because I am 100% that girl… but there are other sides to my personality that I’d now like people to see.”
“When you make such a bold first impression, kind of like I did on the show, the public are instantly able to make a judgement of your character, and that initial observation can sometimes stay in their minds to the point where that’s the only way they see you. Overtime that can become a little frustrating because it’s hard to change people’s perceptions of who they think you are the more that times goes on.”
Never one to wallow in self-pity, Spraggan is quick to add: “There’s no point in complaining about it though, it’s not a massive problem or something I dwell on, in fact in the grand scheme of life it’s totally irrelevant (laughs). But I guess I felt like it was enough of an issue (in my head) otherwise I wouldn’t have wanted to go back and switch things up like I have. Not that I’m re-inventing the wheel or anything, all I’ve done is take parts of the original ‘Last Night’ and put them into another song that’s totally different in mood and more reflective of where I’m at in my life now. So whilst the melodies might be the same, the feeling and overall tone is totally different.”
As a brutally honest recording artist, who likes to make music that is reflective of both the times, as well as her current state of mind, Lucy admits it can sometimes be difficult to detach herself from the emotional connection she rightly feels towards particular tracks in her back catalogue…
“I love ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’ and ‘Tea & Toast’, I’m so proud of those songs! I’m grateful to them for what they did for me, and I love that they make people smile. But on a personal level, they can often remind me of some difficult times in my life, as well as some of the hardships I’ve faced in the past, which I’ve now obviously overcome, but the emotional weight they carry when I perform them night after night can get a little heavy sometimes.”
“Coming up to this 10 year anniversary I knew I was going to have to talk about them, and sing them… and I want to, I want to celebrate this moment and to fully embrace everything that I’ve experienced, but I just felt like I needed to find a way to bridge the gap from then to now, so this year felt like as good a time as any to reinvent some of my old material and turn them into something more positive.”
“The whole experience of writing ‘Everything Changes’ has been so liberating, because it feels like I’m taking back a little bit of control and ownership of both my story, and who I am… people might think they know everything there is to know about me, but they really don’t.”
Lucy Spraggan – Last Night (Beer Fear) (Official Music Video)
“You’re not supposed to know yourself until you’re old…”
In the all encompassing era of digital media, members of the public are often lured into a false sense of superiority, believing they know everything about the people they watch on their screens and follow on social media, as a result of the narrative presented to them by show producers and media bosses. While in the past it was the editors of tabloid newspapers who could be the bane of a celebrities existence, public figures in 2022 are now having to constantly deal with an army of, often angry, arm chair critics who somehow believe they have the right to comment, chastise and judge people and situations as they see fit.
As somebody who has experienced the wrath of both evils (the tabloids and the trolls), and has also perhaps at times seen her character questioned as the result of a shady TV edit or mis-leading headline, Lucy is all too aware of the importance of speaking out and sharing her truth…
“Do you know what you just have to develop a thick skin and not care about what ANYONE has to say about you.” A defiant Spraggan says matter of factly. “Let’s be honest, nobody really knows what they’re doing do they? That’s why some of these people are so unkind, it’s their way of deflecting attention off of their own shortcomings and failures. I think just life is all about trial and error and learning as you go, we’re not supposed to have all of the answers all of the time… figuring out and realising what works for you is I guess all part of the fun (laughs). My personal mantra and my philosophy has sort of become: nothing really matters! But because nothing matters, it means everything matters! The planet could be eradicated by a meteor tomorrow and nobody would ever know we existed – so why are we going to let the opinions of other people stop us from what we want to do?”
“As human beings we are re so fragile. We’re tiny, temporary, little insignificant things so that means we should do things that scare us and embark upon experiences that fill us with fear because we only get to be here once. I know life can be scary, but you’ve just got to learn to be fearless! And if you jump, something will catch you! And if it doesn’t, you’ll still find a way to get back up, I promise.”
As for the way she likes to clap-back to her detractors, Lucy says: “I’m very lucky that as an artist, and as a creative person, I’ve got a number of different outlets that I can explore as a way to voice my opinions and get my truth out there – outlets that didn’t really exist for ‘celebrities’ 10/20 years ago. So as well as having the album be something of a vessel to share my story, I’m also working on writing a new book that I hope will offer deeper insight and understanding into everything I’ve experienced in my life up to this point.”
The planet could be eradicated by a meteor tomorrow and nobody would ever know we existed – so why are we going to let the opinions of other people stop us from what we want to do?Lucy on tuning out the judgement of others
“The overall message of the book is positive.” Spraggan says of her upcoming memoir, which she hopes to release early next year. “The recurring theme throughout is how I’ve managed to turn shit around and become a better version of myself. It’s not preachy or too scandalous, but I don’t sugar coat anything, like I’m very honest and I say that I haven’t always been happy, I haven’t always been very kind to myself, and I haven’t always had a positive outlook on life. But through the personal decisions I’ve made over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve managed to arrive at a place where I can honestly say I am now genuinely happy, and I do really like my life. My hope is that by me putting my story out there, other people might see that they too can turn their situation around and live a better, happier life.”
Reflecting further on emotional complexities of dealing with internal struggles Lucy adds: “Trauma can break you, but it’s your choice as to whether you let it break you or not. You can go through something and it can totally change you as a person, but it’s up to you how it changes you – the change can be good, it can be for the better! I just want everyone to know that they don’t have to give in to their pain, and their struggles don’t need to have a lasting negative effect on them, because I promise that if a person can harness their trauma correctly, they can go on to do things they never thought possible.”
Having spent the majority of her life putting pen to paper, writing witty, conversational and wonderfully observational pop songs, about anything and everything from falling in love to wild nights out, to tackling themes of identity, belief, and belonging, there can be no denying that Lucy is an incredibly talented and accomplished lyricist, capable of making even those with the coldest of hearts feel some sort of emotion when listening to one of her songs.
However comfortable and confident she may feel writing words to music, we would imagine the process of writing a book requires an all together different skill set – a point of which Spraggan wholeheartedly agrees with as we discuss the challenges she’s faced as a result of having to switch up her style of composing… “Because I’ve been writing songs for such a long time now, I feel like (touch wood) I’ve kind of figured out a formula that works for me, so I’m good, I know what I’m doing and what I’m doing seems to be working – so far (laughs). But writing a book is a totally different thing and I’ve found it really hard!”
Explaining further, the Canterbury born singer adds: “I can write my thoughts and feelings down for days, but when I read back what I’ve written there’s no real flow or structure to what I’m saying – it’s like one long stream of consciousness. Thankfully though I’ve found someone to help me out, and her job is going to be to come in and organise it in a way so that it reads like a proper story… because at the moment it’s just a big paragraph (laughs).”
“On the flip side of that though, I’ve gotta say the overall experience of working on the book has been incredibly positive, and I’m really happy with how it’s going because not only is it a new challenge for me, but it’s also forcing me to deal with certain things from my past that I guess I’ve kind of been running from. I know it’s a bit of cliche thing to say, but sometimes you have to revisit certain situations from your past to make peace with them, so that you can truly be free to move on and let go… and that’s what I’m in the process of doing now.”
“I feel so much better letting things go…”
As she stands on the cusp of a brand new beginning, both personally and professionally, we wonder how Lucy feels to be starting this latest chapter in her life on a clean slate, finally freed from the shackles of her past and with no inauspicious presence lurking in the shadows seemingly intent on trying to hold her back.
“I feel really, really good.” Spraggan says with genuine ease. “Like I said to you before, the future is the future and it will be what it will be, I can’t control it and I’ve no desire to! So I’m just doing me, and focusing on the here and now.”
“I have so much to grateful for, and I no longer feel this mad sense of pressure on my shoulders to be all things to all people, because I feel very supported, and like I have this mad arsenal of a fan base behind me, that’s forever lifting me up and making me feel like I can pretty much do anything! So whatever comes next, I know I’m going to be alright because I have them (my fans) by my side, which is an amazing feeling!.. actually I don’t like to call them ‘fans’, because they are so much more than that, they’re real people with real lives, and I know a lot of their names and recognise all of their faces; I’m very lucky to have had, and continue to have their support.”
As she pauses for one last moment of reflection, Lucy adds with a smile: “2023 is all about me taking back ownership of my life, and my story – I’m not going to allow anybody to control, or dictate my narrative anymore! It feels like I’m about to march forward and do something amazing, and it all starts with the release of this new music…”