“It’s the only way I know how to write, I have to be totally honest” - hmv.com talks to Lucy Spraggan
Lucy Spraggan has never been afraid to open up.
The 27-year-old first found fame back in 2012 on The X-Factor, but has since gone on to establish herself as a gobby, uncompromising and big-hearted singer-songwriter with a taste for brutal honesty.
Over the course of her career, she has been open about her struggle with mental health and her up and down relationship with life in the public eye. All of this has been channelled into her songs, giving them a compelling edge.
Now though, on new LP Today Was A Good Day, things are looking rosy. We spoke to Spraggan about the making of the album and why this is a happy LP...
When did you start putting together the songs for the album? Or do you just collect songs until you have enough?
“I don’t write songs for anything. I just write. Last time I had a song that I’d started when I was 15, I’m always doing it. For this album, I don’t remember starting to write for it, it was never like that.”
Does that mean you end up with a lot of songs?
“Yeah. That’s why the album has ended up with 14 songs on it. I couldn’t decide between them.”
Did you have a goal of how you wanted this album to be different from what you’ve done before?
“I wanted it to improve. You never want your records to sound the same. You want the production to be bigger and the playing to improve. I also think this album is quite a happy record, it’s certainly very happy sounding.”
Was that something you wanted to get across?
“I didn’t want to do it, it just kind of appeared. A lot of my albums have been quite sad, so it’s nice to have a point of difference.”
You did the album with Jon Macguire, who you’ve worked in the past, was he always who you had in mind?
“For this record, definitely. We’ve got a great relationship and I really trust him. He’s never afraid to put across an opinion or to tell me I need to change something. You have to be able to be honest with your producer and it’s very easy to do with Jon.”
There’s also a track with Scouting For Girls on the album, how did that come about?
“We were playing a lot of the same festivals, and, one day, I just cornered Roy (Stride, Scouting For Girls singer) and said ‘Give me your mobile number!’. We wrote some songs together and then I asked him if he’d be up for a duet. ‘Stick The Kettle On’ was born.”
You’ve been very open in the past about your struggle with issues of mental health, is that still a presence in the lyrics on this album?
“Not so much. On the last album, it was huge, but things have changed a lot since then. My life has improved a lot and the album really reflects that. It’s the only way I know how to write, I have to be totally honest. I never feel like I’m addressing anything. It just ends up that. Everything I’ve written is my experiences.”
Do you work on lyrics before you find the melody?
“The lyrics are almost always first. I’ll find what the song will be about, that usually comes in one or two lines and then. Lyrics first, then melody.”
When did you settle on Today Was A Good Day for the title?
“I had to decide, the label needed a title. At one point it was going to be called ‘The End Of The World’ because of the song on the album. But I thought that was a bit negative and the world is so strange at the moment. I wanted it to be something positive and reflective.”
It’s your first album for Cooking Vinyl after two albums on your own label, how’s the transition been?
“Really good. I was in a good position, the last album did well on my own label and we were able to insist on keeping a lot of creative control. I work really closely with the label and I keep an eye on everything.”
Was the change something you were looking for? Did you need help?
“Running all the business side is stressful and it does take away from the creative side. Cooking Vinyl have opened a few doors that I wouldn’t have been able to, so it’s been well worth it.”
You’re on tour right now, how’s your live set coming together? You’ve got lots to choose from now...
“I’m on album number five now! It’s a big old mixture. A mixture of the bigger tunes and the ones that I know my fans love.”
And you’re off to America in June…
“I’ve been spending a lot of time there actually and things are moving. It’s a totally different kind of hard work, but I love it, I’m excited to go back.”
You’re not booked for many festivals this summer, was that a conscious choice or the way things have worked out?
“We wanted to let things relax this summer. Next summer, once the record is out, we’ll be on our usual form and do every festival we can. I’m in America for a lot of June so that rules out quite a few, but we’ve got Glastonbury and Green Belt, so I am doing some. “We’re back out in autumn for a big tour. That’ll be confirmed very soon. You’ll be seeing plenty of me…”
Lucy Spraggan’s new album Today Was A Good Day is out now in hmv stores.