Everything’s rosy for Lucy Rose: an interview with the former Bombay Bicycle Club singer

Former Bombay Bicycle Club singer Lucy Rose proves that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet after her rousing Clockenflap performance last month

Lauren James |

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Lucy Rose is headed onward to the next chapter of her music career.

Clockenflap veteran Lucy Rose made her third appearance at the festival last month under bright sunshine in front of a huge crowd, all singing along to her bittersweet songs. After the show, the former Bombay Bicycle Club singer told Young Post all about her year touring South America, finding renewed confidence in herself, and what the next chapter for her music will be.

How’s your tour of Southeast Asia been?

I’ve had such a great couple of weeks, going to a lot of places I’ve never been to before, like Taipei and Bangkok and Seoul. I’m not just saying it – Hong Kong is genuinely one of my favourite places on Earth. I love it here. This is my fourth time here, and I [feel like I] can show [the rest of the band] around and pretend I know what I’m doing, even though I only know the Star Ferry. I’m really happy to be here, and on this whole tour. I don’t think I’ve eaten this much good food in a long time.

Has performing at Clockenflap been the most memorable experience of the tour, or is there anything else that tops that?

Every gig has been so great, but this festival in particular holds a special place in my heart because I came and played the first ever Clockenflap with Bombay Bicycle Club. They headlined the first-ever festival and I sang with them. I like to think that I’ve seen the festival through each of its stages. I came back a few years ago to play solo, and came back this time for a third show with my full band. I hope I can keep coming back over and over again.

You mentioned onstage that you’ll be writing songs when you get home from the tour. Is that your biggest goal for the next year?

It is. I’ve done a lot this year, despite having quite an empty schedule at the beginning. I thought I needed to travel more and see more places and meet fans that have been asking me to come to them. I’ve done India, South America, and now Southeast Asia. Now it feels like it’s time to give people a new record. Hopefully it’ll be done by February.

Lucy Rose got the crowd singing along to her bittersweet songs.
Photo: Chris Gillett

You spent your summer in South America on a solo tour. Why was it important for you to fund the trip yourself?

At the end of last year, there was a part of me that was losing faith in myself as a musician and artist. I wondered whether it was worth continuing and making a third record. My husband and I wanted to go travelling in South America, and we were going to spend the money travelling anyway, but I decided to make it a tour. For eight weeks, we lived with fans. The deal was they had to find me somewhere to play and I would come.

I met all these amazing people: people who’d been tweeting me for years in their villages, lots of people who had never been on planes or left their town before. I guess I wanted to do that to try to find myself and work out what I wanted to do next.

Do you find it more nerve-wracking playing solo, as opposed to with your band?

It’s really different. I started on my own writing songs on my guitar. Then I started playing with a band and got used to that. An important things about South America was having faith in being on my own with a guitar. People would still rather I came and played on my own, because financially it didn’t work out [with a band].I feel good that I can do shows solo, then also have a band if the money is there.

Your keyboard player and drummer are leaving. Are you getting new people on-board?

The great thing about those guys is that they’ve been playing with me for nearly six years. When we walked offstage, I thanked them for the six years of their lives that they’ve dedicated to my music. The drummer is going to work with Amnesty International and the keyboard player pursuing his own solo career. I’m so pleased for them both. There’s going to be new musicians on board next year, which will be interesting.

Is your new live album, Live At Urchin Studios, the Lucy Rose version of a Christmas album?

It should be, but it’s not! With all these solo gigs I’ve been doing, I wanted to make a record that represented those gigs too, and how I write the music. Songs like Our Eyes are really big and great with the full band, but I play it stripped down on the piano, and a few fans said they wanted that version, so I decided to make an acoustic version, which is how a lot of the songs are heard around the world.

Do you prefer the experience of seeing bands live over listening to their CD?

I need to go to more gigs, but I’m never at home. The last gig I went to before leaving for the tour was [Canadian electro group] BadBadNotGood. I listen to their record all the time. The gig had sold out, so I had to do the embarrassing thing and ask them to put me on the guest list. It worked! Seeing them play live was phenomenal. In many ways that was better than the record. There’s nothing that beats a live performance that blows you out of the water.

Edited by Ginny Wong