Guest post by Rose Stokes
Every so often an artist emerges that creates a palpable buzz in the music world, sending shivers down the spines of music aficionados and racking up millions of views on Youtube; an artist brimming with talent who manages to win the hearts of even the most critical of critics. New-age acoustic folk songstress Lucy Rose is one such artist. Her new single ‘Lines’ is currently dominating the radio waves and she counts Zane Lowe, Fearne Cotton and Lauren Laverne amongst her loyal fans. With one of the most unique and hauntingly beautiful voices on the scene right now, and more than her fair share of the ‘what makes a good song’ know-how, Lucy has been penning tracks since her tender teens when she began her career, recording songs in her bedroom in Rowington, Warwickshire and uploading them to Myspace. Since then, she has based herself in London where she has spent the last four years relentlessly playing gigs, busking, touring and singing vocals for London based band Bombay Bicycle Club, gradually amassing an arsenal of dedicated followers.
So who is Lucy Rose? In order to find out, I caught up with her at her recent show at the Portland Arms in Cambridge and had a quick chat with her before she went on stage. Sitting in the pub adjacent to the venue, Lucy sits scribbling fiercely into a notebook wearing a massive pair of headphones; seemingly totally disconnected from the world around her. Fans waiting for the show exchange disbelieving glances and excited whispers of ‘is that really her?’ fill the room. One fan walks tentatively over to her, taps her on the shoulder and asks for an autograph. ‘Of course!’ she says, smiling softly before handing the CD back to the starstruck fan who looks like she might faint. Lucy appears surprised at the ambush. This moment crystallises something which becomes increasingly obvious during our chat; in spite of her recent successes, Lucy remains incredibly grounded, humble and gracious, possessing a charm with which she is able to draw her audience, no matter the size, into a state of awe.
This understated style and endearing modesty also finds itself mirrored in her fashion sense. During our conversation I ask Lucy about her tastes when it comes to high street shops and fashion icons. True to self, her responses were unpretentious and honest. She named M&S as her favourite shop, owing to their ‘quality knit wear’ and admitted that although she loves clothes, she finds shopping stressful and therefore wears her jeans until they’re falling to pieces, and borrows or acquires clothes as hand-me-downs. And where does she look for for inspiration, ‘my style guru?’ she asks. ‘My Mum,’ and I believe her. We talk about the things she couldn’t live without. Her beloved tea scores pretty high on this list and indeed is one of her best known passions. Contrary to her contemporaries who cash in by selling overpriced merchandise at their gigs, Lucy sells reasonably priced tins of her own blend ‘Builder’s Grey’ tea; a unique combination of English Breakfast and Earl Grey. Alongside this, she sells little pots of ginger jam and t-shirts which she received as a Christmas present from her incredibly supportive family. As for places, she says she is never happier than when she is at home in Rowington; the location which was used to film the video for her single ‘Scar’ as well where she recorded her forthcoming album ‘Like I used to..’ which is set for release in September. ‘I feel really happy there,’ she says, ‘and now my music is rooted there, I feel more connected to it than ever before’.
Happiest, she says, when she is creating something, you can tell that though she enjoys her success, it is not the reason why she does what she does. It is her fierce love of music and unrelenting passion for songwriting and performing which gives her most pleasure; traits reminiscent of the lady she names as her greatest musical inspiration: Joni Mitchell. ‘She persisted with something,’ Lucy says, ‘her music was 100% her’. Like Mitchell, Lucy lays herself bare in her music, combining heartfelt and sincere lyrics with her goosebump-inducing-vocals; her songs are enough to move even the stoniest of hearts.
Finally, I ask her what her favourite track of all time is. ‘Easy Lover by Phil Collins,’ she declares, attributing her affection for the song to all the childhood memories which she attaches to it. If you hadn’t been convinced before, then surely this is evidence enough of her disinterest in the creation of any sort of fake ‘cool persona’ contrived to attract fans. Not that she needs to; her talent and understated charisma speak for themselves. This is an artist whose love for what she does is infectious, spilling from the stage into the audience, winning her hundreds of thousands of enamoured fans who travel miles to catch her in action.
And with that, our chat concludes, leaving Lucy to rush off into the ladies toilets to do her make-up before the gig kicks off.
Lucy’s single ‘Lines’ is out now and her forthcoming album ‘Like I used to...’ is currently available to pre-order on iTunes.