WHEN?: Thursday 4 March 2021
It’s the afternoon before Lucy Spraggan finds out whether her new album will fulfil its midweek chart position of number 5 and she’s understandably nervous.
- Read on for reasons including what Spraggan thinks of her fellow X Factor graduate Ella Henderson’s top 30 hit Let’s Go Home Together
Asked how she’s feeling as 6th album Choices our February album of the month is about to chart, she says: ‘It’s f*cking awful right now. There’s some imposter syndrome. I’m just assuming the worse. It’s hard.’
She describes it as the 1st album she didn’t set out to write but that the songs that came out were her way of processing a period in which she broke up with her wife and gave up alcohol.
Of lead single Flowers, she says: ‘I’m in the middle of a divorce at the moment so I’m newly single, and I’ve never been single my whole life; I’ve always been attached to another person since I was 15. I’ve always been quite overweight my whole life and I’ve just lost three stone and I’m really conscious about my body. It feels like a real success to look after your own self, and I’ve never really put myself entirely first.
‘After doing that, I found my new bit of confidence and with that I thought ‘I might write a bit of a sexy song!’ and that’s where Flowers came from, wanting to introduce another side of me that people haven’t seen before. People think I’m always being funny and I wanted this to be a bit more provocative.’
One of our favourite album tracks is the Motown-type classic Heartbreak Suites of which Lucy says: ‘When I first started breaking up with my ex I decided to leave the house and I was just staying in a lot of random, side-of-the-road hotels, sitting on my own and trying to fill up my time and avoid having to sit and think about what was happening.
‘It was a new kind of solitude. I think everybody should learn to be on their own before thinking about being with anybody else, and I feel like I’m there, kind of. It’s like ‘find someone to make you better’ – it’s bullshit! Be better, and if someone comes along who compliments you, that should be how it works. It shouldn’t be merging into this one person, this one dynamic, this one unit that revolves around each other.’
She wrote If I Had A God in appreciation of her keyboard player Josh’s faith. ‘I wasn’t raised around religion, and at the beginning of my sobriety I thought about ‘can I get into it’, but I don’t have that innate ability to trust what is happening for me. I have to control that myself. I would love to have that, but it’s just not something that I can see happening to me. I admire [Josh’s] radiant positivity in the really dark times and I wish that I was able to know, in my heart, what he knows. Instead I’ve found the power that’s within me, I’ve decided what I can do with my physical capabilities and my mental capability.’
Lucy gave up alcohol and penned Sober. ‘I wrote it with my friend Joe and I said to him ‘I think this is something that I’m going to do for the foreseeable [future] and wanted to put the reasons down in a song. Some people are alcoholic, some people are just in a sober mood, some people just don’t drink, but a lot of people have said ‘that’s exactly how I’ve felt, I needed to improve myself and remove alcohol from that situation’.
‘So it was a pretty deep song to write, to assess my entire life. [Having others relate to the song] makes me feel less alone in the way that I felt about my relationship with alcohol and in turn, for people to hear a song that hits the nail on the head for them too. I hope that does the same thing for them.
‘I think that a lot of people were aware that I had a problem, with the states that I would get myself into. If I had a friend that was like me, I’d be like ‘dude, what’s up?’. There are certain people that you have around you that just kind of let that stuff go on. You have to be [your own] person to tell you to stop. So, I always knew that I had a problem.’
The album’s title track Choices is about a new lease of life. Says Lucy: ‘I feel good, I feel happy and I feel like I’m on the right path, regardless of all the stuff that’s gone on.
‘I was gonna call the album Zero or something about starting completely fresh, but it needed to be about the fact that I’d made a lot of choices and this is what I’ve chosen and where I go from here.’
Lockdown hasn’t been as difficult as it might have been because she has been able to focus on her fitness and the release of her new album which was originally intended to be released in October.
She’s determined not to tour until it is completely safe to do so and this has posed its own problems. ‘I’ve been performing since I was 12 – for two-thirds of my life – and 2 broken legs haven’t stopped me but this is completely out of my control. Financially it’s been an absolute catastrophe, there’s no 2 ways about it.’
Lucy starred in the 2012 series of the X Factor with Ella Henderson currently in the top 30 with Tom Grennan duet Let’s Go Home Together which couldn’t be further in tone from Lucy’s own Sober. Says Lucy: ‘It’s a great song. Not everyone in the world has a problem with alcohol like I do.’
Asked whether she would like to appear on TV again, she says: ‘Maybe a true reality television show. I’d love to go to the jungle.’
Lucy’s new album Choices is out now on Cooking Vinyl