SITTING pensively in her dressing room a little more than an hour away from her set at Leeds Festival, the expression on Lucy Rose’s face is an intriguing mixture of apprehension and palpable excitement.
Fidgety and brimming with infectious yet reserved energy, Rose’s mind appears to be inundated with scenarios and tropes pertaining to how her evening may pan out.
On a notable upturn in her career thanks to her sophomore LP Work It Out and the series of festival ready anthems that are spread throughout its relatively lengthy tracklisting, the 26 year old singer/songwriter seems to be able to slightly alleviate any concerns for tonight’s performance thanks to how well her set at Reading felt to her: “I really enjoyed it, it was a relief to see a full tent as we were of course clashing with Metallica and out of all the bands that you don’t want to clash with, they’re definitely up there. I acknowledge that our fans may seem quite different but I had a lot of people tweeting me saying ‘I don’t know what to do I’ve always wanted to see them’ so it was good to see a lot of people watching. In terms of tonight, it’s hard to tell as to whether it’ll be the same. They’re totally different festivals but Leeds is awesome so I really hope that we get people in.
This is far from Roses’ first rodeo, taking to the twin festivals’ respective stages on various occasions throughout her short but fruitful career. In the time that she’s been performing at R&L, her position on the bill has became slowly more impressive and; as is the case with most artists, Rose utilises this trend as a good gauge of how her career is progressing: “It’s definitely nicer than going down the bill that’s for sure, but I think just being booked in any tent is great. It’s just such an iconic festival. It’s actually the first one that I ever came to as a kid so it’s always nerve-wracking and comes across as a big deal. I don’t really like thinking about anything like that to be honest, I might panic myself too much.”
Playing the festival circuit is of course incredibly important caveat in the growth of any artist and is one of the few situations in which someone can perhaps get first-hand access to your music without any preconceived notions or being burdened with the weight of monetary related expectation blighting their mind. For reasons such as this, Rose explains exactly what it is that’s so vital about them and why they’re so daunting to play: “You normally pull in a bigger crowd than you could on your own and getting that kind of exposure is very exciting. There’s something which is altogether terrifying about that though as I’m always scared that I’ll see people walking into the tent and then straight back out. There’s nothing worse than that but at the end of the day it will happen. Headline tours are special too, as it’s reassuring that people will actually pay money to come and catch my set.
Given the fact that’s she’s already made reference to an acute fear of disapproval from members of the festival crowd, imagine Rose’s horror at this year’s T in the Park in which a small error in communication led her to briefly view the set as an unmitigated catastrophe: “T in the Park was actually a rather difficult one as I was first on in the King Tuts Wah Wah Tent that day and they had to close it due to mud. We didn’t know about this and so I went on and played the first two songs to literally no-one. I thought that none of the festival-goers were coming to see me and then halfway through a song I just saw thousands of people who were running in. It was an unbelievable feeling of relief as that was one of my darkest moments ever onstage. When they did get let in it was like one of those cliché movie things, everyone running in slow mo and stuff like that.
The success and response to Work It Out has been of lofty proportions and this may be well be in part due to the progression in her sound since the broadly acoustic days of her 2012 debut. In terms of how the drastic change and the decision to incorporate small aspects from a myriad of genres is one which Rose is still attempting to get to grips with herself: “I don’t really know what sparked it but the more people are asking me I’ve had to have a think. At the time it felt as though it was just natural to be fair. I think coming and playing a lot of festivals helped broaden my influences. Due to my first album being so acoustic and downbeat, I was really nervous at the prospect of coming to play at festivals with just those songs.
“It’d make me feel really worried, being there and watching all these other bands getting people dancing and having a good time made me wonder whether I could do that. The nature of the music on my first album worked really well in some situations and less so in others. I’m sure there were a lot of things that influenced it, but now I’ve went and done this sort of electric I might go back and do more acoustic stuff.
“I think there’s a lot of fans who’ve came with me on the journey and are very open to change while there are others who’ll jut prefer the tracks on the debut as it’s a different type of music altogether. If you’re attracted to that sort of music and to me as an artist then it might be their cup of tea for me to go off and diversify. What I will say about the second LP is that it’s introduced people to my music that wouldn’t have ever heard my music otherwise.”
With Rose’s impending tour looming closer by the day, she shares her feelings on October’s return to Scotland and the show at Oran Mor: “I always get a bit nervous coming up to Scotland as I worry too much. It’s because I’d spent so much time performing in London and doing hundreds of gigs and then drive up to Scotland and expect people to come and see me, it just feels weird. I hope it’s good. It’s always exciting to play Glasgow, it’s a crowd like no other.”
Rounding off with her plans going forward, Rose suggests that she feels no pressure to follow up her second LP in quick succession: “I go on tour from September until November so when I get back I’ll just want to kick back and relax. I think the most important thing is to not worry about album three as I just want to write music for the reasons that I like to do so. I always think that if you’re trying to write for someone or hoping that people will like it, then you write a certain type of music and I wish to avoid that. I might write 20 songs this month that no one’s going to hear; sometimes the best music comes out of that sort of mindset.”
While Rose may continue to amass music during her time off, we hope it’s not too long before arrives back on the scene with the next leg of her musical journey.
Lucy Rose plays Oran Mor on the 28th October 2015. Limited quantities of tickets are still available from all good outlets. Check out our session with Lucy Rose below in which she plays tracks from her often referred to, acoustic debut Like I Used To: