Independent singer-songwriter Lucy May Walker was catapulted into the spotlight after being seen busking by Jeremy Vine.
He was won over by her charm and invited her onto his radio show. A whirlwind followed and Lucy has been building on her burgeoning fan base since. Recently she unveiled new single Bad Day, which is fitting for how we’re all feeling in lockdown right now.
I caught up with Lucy to talk about her new single Bad Day, find out more about her upcoming EP, and to discuss her music influences…
Hi Lucy. How are you today and where does this Q&A find you?
Hello, hello! I’m answering your Q&A whilst looking over the canal from my shared flat in North London. (sounds more romantic than it probably is)
You’ve just released your new single Bad Day. What’s it all about?
Bad Day is a song for anybody in your life that you want to send a bit of bad karma to. It’s not like you wish anything seriously bad on that person… but a few mild inconveniences like them missing their train or stubbing their toe wouldn’t go amiss. I’ve had a lot of people relating to the song so it can’t JUST be me on this. Right?
Bad Day is the first taster from your next project. What can you tell us about that and what stage are you at?
Bad Day is one out of 5 songs from my upcoming EP. Luckily I recorded all the songs back in January, so the past few months have meant getting everything mixed and mastered ready for the release on 5th June. I am lucky enough to have an amazing fanbase who have funded the project entirely by their generous donations on my Kickstarter Campaign, so I’ve been busy getting everything ready for that. Designing tote bags, artwork, ordering physical CDs to send out to everyone… it’s all been very busy here, but really exciting! Everything is coming together now.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Where do you start when it comes to writing a song?
I know it’s different for every artist, but for me personally I have to start with a concept. Every song I write is personal to me, I always go into a writing session knowing exactly what I want to write about, whether that be – today I want to write about a specific breakup I had or maybe something specific about a friend. Lyrics are really important to me, I have to believe in what I’m saying or to me if just wouldn’t feel very authentic. I used to be terrified of writing sessions but I’ve definitely found the more you do the better you get – and if one co-write doesn’t work, don’t let it put you off trying another. All the songs on the EP are collaborations with artists I hadn’t previously written with, which is really exciting.
Your debut EP Heartbreak Songs was a success and well-received by critics and fans. How did you feel about the reception it received?
Ahh thank you! I think any success that Heartbreak Songs had came from working with my producers, Joe & David Dunwell (The Dunwells). Before that EP I’m not sure I was really confident in who I was as artist, but they were the first people who just ‘got’ me – musically, personally. They believed in me and brought out the best in me for sure. I can be a bit of a control freak with wanting things to sound ‘just right’ so it was a relief to find people to be able to put my trust in.
Jeremy Vine saw you busking and invited you to perform on his show. What was that experience like for you?
Okay so firstly, Jeremy Vine is my absolute hero. I adore him. As an independent artist, to get the opportunity to perform live on Radio 2 with no label, no radio plugger and not a huge fanbase, is quite literally unheard of. It was all a bit of a whirlwind from him seeing me busking to performing on the show, but I remember straight after the live session, sitting in a coffee shop for about an hour, seeing order after order coming through from my website. I sold about 350 CDs off the back of that show and it was one of those moments where I thought for the first time, I think this is ‘it’. That moment you always kind of hope for where you ‘make it’ (whatever that means these days). Meeting Jeremy Vine has lead on to so many opportunities I would have never imagined. I owe so much to Jeremy for taking a chance on me that day.
You’ve been on tour with a number of artists. Who has been your favourite and who would you say you learned the most from?
You definitely learn something from every gig you play – every gig is different. I love opening up a show for other people, I like the task of trying to win a crowd round that aren’t there specifically to see you. Touring with Wet Wet Wet on 5 of their tour dates felt pretty major, it was interesting to see how each crowd reacted – I think with big gigs like those, you learn not to take it to heart if a crowd don’t sit silently listening to you- and if you can get them to do that to just one song, it feels like a bigger win. I would say supporting Lucy Spraggan for the first time in Wolverhampton is still one of my favourite gigs to date. Our music seems to relate to the same kind of people and her fanbase are incredible – they made me feel very welcome!
Which artists have inspired your music?
I am inspired by a lot of female singer/songwriters like Lucy Rose, Nina Nesbitt, Maisie Peters, Gabrielle Aplin, Jade Bird, Ward Thomas… to name a few. I saw Nina Nesbitt back in the day play T In The Park with her acoustic guitar and getting the audience to sing and I just remember thinking, I want to be her. I’m a massive fan girl to both her and Lucy Rose – it’s actually a bit embarrassing.
What’s the one album you couldn’t live without?
When I had a car before I moved to London, I would listen to CDs all the time and I would have the The Beatles on constantly – they had an album called ‘Love’ where all the songs were remixed and rolled into one another, I was obsessed with it. Also one that I always go back to is an acoustic album by Bombay Bicycle Club called ‘Flaws’ – that one inspires me so much.
Lastly, how are you spending your time in lockdown and what tips can you share to help our readers get through it?
I feel like I actually have lockdown to thank because I feel like it’s allowed me to be more creative than ever. Last week my manager told me I needed a music video for Bad Day so I spent an entire day making one with hand drawn lyrics – it’s amazing what you can come up with when you can’t rely on other people to do it for you. I realised for the first week or so I hadn’t picked up my guitar at all, when usually I busk every day. For me I like to have things planned in the diary or I won’t do it, so scheduling some live streams on facebook really helped me stay productive and it’s reminding me of the joy performing live can give you.
Aside from the music and my daily walks, I’ve been spending a LOT of time playing board games (Scrabble is my current favourite).
Lucy May Walker’s new single Bad Day is available now. Take a listen to the track below: