Five minutes with singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan
Lucy Spraggan was a name that jumped out to people when the lineup was announced for The British Country Music Festival 2022 as someone they wouldn’t necessarily associate with country music. However, Lucy’s style of storytelling in her detailed lyrics is as close to country as anything you might hear on country radio in the States right now.
She went down superbly with the Blackpool crowd; the British comedy she injected throughout her songs and stage presence had the audience engaged. I caught up with her before her set, as she ironed her outfit backstage, to find out what country music meant to her.
When did you first know you wanted to be a musician?
I’m still not sure if I do! I had an accident at work in 2011, where I fell from the fourth floor of a building and broke my leg. I realised that I didn’t want to be up any more buildings or work in demolition.
So I just decided there and then. I went to The X Factor, which opened up this path.
Growing up, what kind of music did your parents make you listen to on long car journeys, and what are you choosing to listen to now?
Tracy Chapman, the self-titled album, the one with ‘Fast Car’ on it, I listen to that.
My mum listened to loads of punk music, so I listened to a lot of punk music. But to be fair, it’s the stuff I listen to now. I really appreciate it now, I remember putting on some music in the car when I was little with my mum, and I’d say, ‘What on earth is this?’
And now, when young people play new music, I’m like, ‘No, what’s this?’
When it comes to your own songwriting, where do you start? Do you have a process that you follow every time?
I’m writing songs mostly on the piano now, and they just start in my head as a word or a phrase.
If I’m writing songs for somebody else, it’s a strange thing now of going on Instagram and looking at the artists and seeing what they’re about and then writing songs based on what I think they would like.
So that’s an interesting way of doing it. But normally, just a word or a melody comes into my head, and then I start to play it.
Do you find that more nerve-wracking when you write for somebody else?
Yeah, it’s much, much worse than writing songs for myself. Because songs for me, they’re just for me and I know what my fans like and I know what I like singing about but with other people, I’m not so sure.
UK singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan. Photographs by Dave Nelson
You spent some time in Nashville, can you tell me a little bit about how you found that experience?
It’s very different to here, everything’s all about songwriting. You go past the buildings where the publishing houses are, and they have these big billboards that say, their artists, so and so wrote this song, and it’s got 100 million streams or whatever.
It’s all quite competitive, but it’s kind of how you imagine – barbecued meat everywhere, lots of Bloody Marys, songwriters everywhere you go.
How do you think that influenced or changed your songwriting?
I think touring America has changed my songwriting a lot. Because culturally out there, playing in America is more like having a conversation with the audience. Because they listen so intently, and they’re all about music and lyrics. So I think for me, America has just been a huge part of learning my craft and learning how to play for a live audience.
What does country music mean to you?
I guess it’s like storytelling and it’s melodic. Anything that’s meaningful, I think, written by the artist. I think that’s true country music.
You’re writing a book at the moment, how have you found that writing process?
Horrendous, I don’t recommend anybody to do it. It’s not the same as songwriting. And if any songwriter out there thinks that writing a book is the same, you’re wrong.
So what’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever written a song about?
Jeremy Kyle. I played it on Jeremy Kyle, too – the only person who’s ever played live music on Jeremy Kyle in the world!
Are you completely focused when you’re on stage, or do you let your mind wander? We call it your mid-gig thoughts.
It wanders, it really wanders! And sometimes I think about some bizarre stuff.
And people forget that I can see them as well. So it always makes me laugh what people are doing when I’m watching them.
If they were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast to play yourself and what would be the opening theme song?
Jodie Comer, but only so I could meet her, and it’d have to be one of my songs, I think.
What’s next for you?
I’m going on tour in May,
I have an album coming out next year, the book is coming out next year, and my ironing career has taken off!
Singer-Songwriter Lucy Spraggan
We are pleased to present singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan’s latest single; Everything Changes (Beer Fear PtII)
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