The Festival Experience with... Lucy Rose

Henry Lewis caught up with one of the UK's finest singer songwriters to talk brews, Latin American adventures and not getting too drunk at festivals.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 30th Jun 2017.
Originally published: 29th Jun 2017

Image credit: Daniel Alexander Harris

Lucy Rose's musical journey is one that has twisted, turned and meandered ever since she decided to use money she had saved up to purchase a guitar from the only shop she walked past on her journey from a train station to her school. At just 16 she taught herself how to play it and after a couple of years, once she had moved from Warwickshire down to London, began performing at open mic nights.

In doing so she became good friends with Bombay Bicycle Club's Jack Steadman, and ended up signing a large proportion of backing vocals on BBC's second album Flaws, and went on to perform on the following two releases from the indie outfit. 

Her own records have exhibted an ethereal ambiance, with beautifully finger picked acoustic guitar and candid lyrics - not least 'Middle Of The Bed' and 'Shiver' from Rose's 2012 debut record Like I Used To, while sophomore effort Work it Out showed off her 'development as a person'.

Her latest ventures have seen her travel to Latin America to pay back her loyal legion of fans in that corner of the world, and with just a back pack and a guitar, traveled around Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, and Mexico playing free shows whilst documenting everything she experienced. On her return, she recorded her third studio album Something's Changing in just 18 days and the record is slated for release on 7th July.

Ahead of this, and a heap of festival dates including Latitude and Bestival, we caught up with Lucy to find out more about her adventures, views on festival season and much more.

Tell us about your trip to South America and Mexico and the importance it has had in terms of you as a songwriter.

It honestly was one of the best experiences of my life, it gave me a fresh perspective on not just music but everything. I realised what was trying important, I learnt how hard life has been for so many, I understood exactly the type of music I wanted to make.

I wanted to make music that helped comfort people and make them feel something. For the songwriting for this record I've dug so much deeper into myself, I worry sometimes too much but it was important for me to let everything out on this record. 

Work on your third album was carried out in your “own sweet way”, how important to you was that? What benefits did you find from recording in such a manner?

Well you could say I'm a control freak but really for the first time I had no-one in my ear telling what I should be, I'd truly found myself after the trip and I knew exactly the record I was going to make. So yes making this in my 'own sweet way' meant that I could be myself and it meant that the actual recording process was one of the happiest experiences of my life. 

You have talked about some of the “nonsense” you’ve experienced within the music industry, could you describe that in depth a little more? Do you think being a female artist caused issues with the way you were expected to behave/sound in the eyes of the industry?

Generally I never want to be negative, especially about being a musician as I think it's the greatest honour and job in the world to be given a chance but of course like in everyone's lives there are annoyances and opinions which frankly should just be ignored. The pressure to have a stylist, makeup and hair, to be made to look so perfect you're not human anymore and then apparently people will be impressed enough to buy your music.

That's an example of some of the nonsense I was probably referencing. I felt that sometimes being myself wasn't good enough and I should try to be something different but that just made me feel unsatisfied and lost. It's hard to know if these pressures are worse being a woman than a man but I think of one more person calls me feisty because I know what I want I might explode. 

Moving on to festival season, where have your festival shows taken you so far this summer?

So far I've just played Glastonbury. For me this year I didn't want to play too many festivals and I only wanted to play those that felt like they really fitted me as an artist.

I've had some of the best shows of my life at festivals but at the wrong festival it sometimes feels difficult to play the slower, more meaningful songs and often I ended up just playing the upbeat songs I had but I don't think that is what my fans want from me really. This summer I'll be playing all the songs I love the most and mean the most to me.

The new record is out in July, I bet you can’t wait to show it off in front of festival crowds?

I am extremely excited about the record being out there in the world and I'm looking forward to that moment when hopefully I'll have a crowd singing some of the words to the songs with me. I also love my band that I'm playing with as they recorded my new album with me and they are such a positive group of people to be around. 

Do you think fans of yours seeing you this festivals season will immediately notice the liberation you have experienced in recording this newest batch of songs?

Yes I think so, even at Glastonbury I think they felt the growth but it's definitely going to be a transition. To be honest I may lose some of my fans that were more into the pop side of my music but I think for my core fans they will love this record. 

What was the first festival you ever attended as a fan? What were the main highlights/ who did you watch?

Reading and Leeds was my first ever festival I went to, my neighbour Andy Gray got me tickets. I was 17 years old and it was like no other experience. I loved it! Think my highlight must have been watching Cold War Kids, I loved that band so much. 

What are your tips for first time festival goers this summer?

Don't drink too much because being hungover in a hot tent is nothing I would wish upon anyone! 

What is the best festival show you have ever been a part of?

That is honestly such a hard question as I really do have great memories from so many festivals. I was really keen to play Bestival again this year because I had such a great time there when my first record had just come out and also Latitiude festival, headlining the second stage with Bombay Bicycle Club was such a dream. 

You have some amazing festival slots this summer, not least Latitude where the likes of Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes are playing - you must be looking forward to that?

Absolutely! Again I really wanted to play Latitude this year, especially once I found out that Mumford and Sons were playing along with Fleet Foxes because I really feel that my music finds it's home among artists like those. And then to get a slot on the main stage, wow it really was one hell of a shock to get that email. 

My best mate has a tin of your brand of tea - what is the story behind that? You must be a brew fanatic!

Well firstly, your friend sounds great! I had a small obsession with a blend of tea I made at home which was English breakfast and earl grey tea but then every time I made a cup of tea I needed two teabags which felt so wasteful so I decided it was time to make the blend - Builder Grey. Just placing a new order today so should have some more for your friends at my next gigs!

Lucy Rose has festival dates this summer at Latitude and Bestival.

Festivals 2018