Singer, songwriter and sober, Lucy Spraggan talks to Dave Woodhall about life during lockdown.
I understand you’re recording a new album at the moment, or trying to in any case.
“It’s remotely being recorded in Scotland by Peter Hamilton and it looks like I’ll be able to join him soon. The lockdown rules are different there, though.”
Just say you’re going to have your eyes tested. What sort of timescale is it likely to be?
“I could do that, or I could say I was going to Edinburgh Castle. But it’ll probably be in the next couple of weeks. It’s very different to normal, this time I’ll be doing the tracks before getting into the studio.”
Will you have to be two metres away from everyone else in the studio?
“I guess he’ll be, there trying to set it up. He’ll be setting up the microphones then leaving the booth in the studio. I don’t know how it’s going to work, but I haven’t broken the rules so far and I won’t be doing it for the album.”
The last album was recorded in Newport, in Wales. Is there some sort of Celtic link between the two albums?
“It’s just coincidence. My family are Celtic – they’re all from the Highlands and Ireland, none from Wales though. I guess the album’s got a Celtic vibe about it.”
It’s been an interesting time for you lately, the full story of which has been told many times but includes sobriety, weight loss and a marriage break up.
“It has. It’s been a pretty drastically different year. I’m ten months sober this week, which has changed my life in a million different ways and I feel a completely different person. I’m happier and I feel in charge of my fitness and the health aspect of my life. I’ve lost three stone, and I spend a lot of time focusing on my physical health. I split up with my wife and we’re just going through a divorce now. Yes, a big year.”
Then there’s been the minor episode of a pandemic putting everything into jeopardy. At the end of a year like the one you’ve experienced, that must have been the last thing you wanted.
“Yes, it definitely puts a different spin on life, doesn’t it? It’s not something you’d ever expect to happen. I’m starting to think ‘What else can you chuck at me?’ It’s crazy, the world’s going rogue, and it looks like politicians are going the same way. It’s going like Germany did – it shows you that one microscopic change can have such a big impact.”
And you look at what presidents and prime ministers are saying now, and being proud of it, and the worrying thing is that you’re not surprised anymore.
“I really like being upbeat with things like politics but the things people are saying is beginning to sap my will to live quite a lot. I try to keep it all out of my life.”
The times must be doubly worrying for a musician like yourself because you’re not only worrying about you current work, but also what will be left once we can start to live again.
“At the beginning I felt quite positive about it all, but right now I feel uncertain about what’s going to become of life. Obviously public health is absolutely number one priority. We’re having to to adapt and adjust but it won’t be the first time people have had to do that.”
For someone in your position though, you’ve not just got yourself to worry about. Musicians, crew, venue staff. They’re all ultimately relying on you, which must be an added pressure.
“It is, I think about that quite a lot. I have a few people to tour with but everybody is in the same boat really, they know I don’t have any work either. Our crew is so tight, we have such a good working relationship that I think it’ll push us over the edge to be so much fun. To be back on the road is all i can think about.”
You’re touring in November.
“That’s in the UK. I’m due to be in Australia in September but I just have no idea what’s happening, what’s going to happen. It’s up to our agents and promoters to work on, they’re keeping things moving but there is a lot of insurance involved.”
Will the album be out by then?
“Yes, that’s due in October. It’s called Choices. Over the last couple of years there’s been a lot of choices I’ve had to make. Some of them have been quite brutal and you come to a crossroads in your life where you have to make a choice. That’s what the album is about.”
I noticed the other day that the Daily Star’s website called you ‘X Factor Babe Lucy’. That’s not how you’d ever expect to be described.
“No? That’s amazing. They could call me Lucy Spraggan the first female artists to headline Kendal Callling or Lucy Spraggan who’s had five top forty albums. Still, they wouldn’t call me a babe when I weighed three stone more. That’s some of the press for you. And it’s better than being called Who’s Lucy Spraggan? X Factor was almost a decade ago that was prevalent at that time but I don’t know. There are much bigger achievements than going on a TV show when you’re nineteen years old.”
For more details on the album Choices and Lucy’s proposed UK tour in the autumn, vist lucyspraggan.com