UK folk-pop singer Lucy Spraggan was the most Googled musician of 2012 beating out Will.i.am, Spice Girls, and One Direction, quite a feat, due to her performances on The X Factor singing original songs such as “Last Night (Beer Fear)” winning over the crowd and garnering fans across the globe. Although she dropped out due to an illness, her career took off and she was signed by Columbia Records.
Fast forward to today. Spraggan has over 50 million YouTube views, 240 million streams on Spotify, performed at SXSW and on the Melissa Etheridge Cruise, and is now signed with Cooking Vinyl Records. Her fifth studio album, Today Was A Good Day, was released on May 3rd and produced by Jon Maguire (Callum Scott, Kodaline) with whom she has worked with in the past. The album has 14 songs featuring the single “Lucky Stars” which Spraggan recently released a thought-provoking music video.
“I thank my lucky stars for my family,” says Lucy about the new single. “I’ve been through some incredibly dark times and although I’ve made many steps forward, I still get anxious and paranoid. This is how I came up with the idea for the video for ‘Lucky Stars ‘- when I feel anxious, I feel like people are staring at me as if I’m from outer space… So I donned an astronaut suit for the entire video.”
Spraggan talks about the songwriting process behind her new album.
Today Was A Good Day is your fifth album that was just released. It was produced by Jon Maguire whom you’ve worked with before. How did you and Jon meet and begin working together?
We actually met at a writing session in London; we wrote my song ‘London Bound’ from my third album We Are. We got on straight away and the rest is history!
May is mental health month and I know your songs touch on that topic and your own struggles. For starters, your song “Lucky Stars” deals with your anxiety. Share with us the inspiration for that song.
Lucky Stars is about being grateful for supportive people. The video is of me wearing an astronaut suit walking down a busy high street – that’s how being anxious can feel and I wanted to highlight that. Sometimes it can feel like I’m from outer space and that everyone is staring at me (even though they aren’t). In the video that’s exactly what we captured. Lucky Stars is about thanking those that stick around and help you feel grounded and a little more attached to earth.
Another example is “Stick The Kettle On.” You’re working with a charity called CALM on this particular song. Tell us about that song and CALM.
“Stick The Kettle On” is a song to remind us that sometimes we can’t do everything right and that’s OK. It’s about being a friend and offering support where you can. CALM is a charity called Campaign Against Living Miserably and they want to end the epidemic of male suicide in the U.K.
I saw an Instagram post where you said that “Lightning” was one of your favorite songs on the album. What is it about that song that makes it one of your favorites?
It’s just a positive song. It’s about taking life and running with it; ‘be brave, don’t be afraid.’ It reminds me that tomorrow isn’t given and we should live like each day could be your last.
Are there any other songs on the album that have a particularly special message?
I think ‘The Waiting Room’ outlines how difficult it can be to lose a pet. It can be brushed off sometimes but when I lost my dog, I had never felt heartbreak like it. Grief is very real, so I wanted to write a song that tells that story.
How was the Melissa Etheridge Cruise?
It was amazing! Melissa is the kindest person I’ve ever met. She has taken me under her wing and has offered me so much advice. It’s quite something to have an insight into her career. She is iconic in American music.
Let’s talk about your background, songwriting, and guitars. When did you first get involved in music?
I used to play at ‘club acoustic’ from the age of 11. It was in my local pub and I’d go to test out my new songs. I was the only person under 50 but it was great to have advice from the wonderful people that attended. I still love Open Mic nights.
Is the song “Love is The Best Revenge” about your early career in music?
Yes, it is. It’s about how throughout my career there have been different elements of negativity from certain people. At one point, I didn’t know if I wanted to continue in music, but now, as the song says, ‘I’m in love with it all again.’
Who were some of your early musical influences that inspired you to play guitar?
My brother! I always wanted to be better than him at something, so when he picked up a guitar, so did I! (He’s still better).
What’s your process for songwriting?
Lyrics first generally. They come with a melody in my head. Then I sit down with a guitar or piano and get to writing the parts.
What guitars are you playing?
I play a Gibson J135 and a Freshman at the moment.
Did you play guitar on Today Was A Good Day?
I did. My favorite to play was ‘Connie’s Bar’. The tuning is pretty awkward.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
We just keep running until we get it right. Normally I record in parts.
Any other artists that joined you on the album?
“Stick the Kettle On” is a duet with the British band Scouting For Girls. That was a lot of fun to write.
What artists are you listening to today?
Watsky, Lana Del Ray, and Black Honey.
Since we like to encourage, inspire, and empower young women to pursue their goals in music, what’s one piece of advice you would offer?
Be you. Don’t be afraid of saying no. Trust your instinct.
What’s next for 2019?
Finishing up my UK tour, heading to the States for June, and then festival season in Europe! I guess I’d better start writing another album too!