Tonight was kind of a homecoming gig for Lucie Silvas given she’s half Scottish, her mum being from Clydebank. Originally from London and grew up in New Zealand, Lucie finally re-located to the music hub of Nashville in 2012 having been going there on and off for the last 10 years.
The stunning venue ‘Oran Mor’ in Glasgow was almost at capacity as fans and relatives had come out in droves to see her play her first UK tour for a number of years. If she was nervous at all she certainly didn’t show it. For someone so petite her voice is big and powerful and she makes singing anything look effortless.
Lucie and her band wowed the crowd for a full hour and a half with songs old and new including ‘Happy’, the heavenly ‘Villain’, ‘Shame’ and of course the fabulous catchy title track from new UK album release ‘Letters to Ghosts’. This was one of my highlights of the night as it’s a song I love and predict it’ll be a huge hit! A couple of other highlights were the crowd enthusiastically singing along to the popular ‘Breath in’ and Lucie singing the very beautiful ‘Pull down the stars’ as a tribute to her Scottish aunts. Her outstanding performance made it a night to remember and I hope she tours in the UK again sooner rather than later!
I was lucky enough to have a chat with her before the gig and find out a bit more about her, the new album and life on the road….
Letters to ghosts is your first album release in over 10 years, why has it been so long in the making?
I can’t actually believe that amount of time has passed you know! I think it was a number of factors, I was still making music the whole time, I was writing for other people and I was moving my life to another country. Time gets away from you but I suppose from the outside it looked like I wasn’t pursuing my career anymore, I guess with doing so many different things I didn’t really pay attention to how much time was going past. For me it’s always been about doing music that’s authentic and genuine, which has not always served me well doing it that way because I won’t do anything just because it’s expected, that’s not how I operate. I did Letters to Ghosts when it felt natural and when I really wanted to do it.
It’s always good get some insight so can you tell us a bit about the tracks you chose to include on it.
There was a few I wanted to include but didn’t so they’ll be on the fourth album. Letters to Ghosts was a song I wrote years back and at such a pivotal time in my life. I knew I wanted to call the album that and I wanted to make the concept of the album about letters to the past, you know talking to your past and the different chapters of it and all the ghosts that remain in your life that you don’t always want to let go of. Roots was a very personal song for me and was at a time that I knew letting go of pain would be easier but I didn’t want to because I thought I’d have nothing….and you feel guilty and feel a range of emotions and then feel guilty for not feeling guilt anymore so it was kind of that type of thing. Songs like ‘Happy’ are a bit tongue in cheek, talking to a past relationship of all the ins and outs that people don’t necessarily see. The whole album is very personal and there are special moments on it that were inspired by my husband john, you know we just got married last year! ‘Pull the stars down’ was very much a tribute to him so there’s a lot of happiness on the album too.
What was the most challenging song on the album for you to write?
I don’t know if anything was challenging…hmmm…maybe ‘Roots’ actually, I’ve talked a bit about that already. It wasn’t that it was challenging as such it was just it was very in-depth. I think creative people write themselves out of a storm and don’t even know they’re doing it. I’ll write something and look at it a few years later and think ‘wow I knew what was happening but couldn’t see it at the time… so how was I able to write those lyrics that were insightful in that way, and how was I not able to get out of that situation if I was able to make such sense of it…so yes, Roots, I can definitely hear the pain in that and feel when I sing it I can take myself back there.
You started out in music at the tender age of 17, what’s the best advice you were ever given that’s helped you survive in it?
My dad….he said don’t ever get yourself into a position where you can’t afford to do what you love. That was his advice and it really narrowed it down for me because this is all I’ve ever wanted. It is very difficult to be an independent musician and stay afloat but I’ve managed to do that, I’ve never had to stop, I’ve never actually done anything else and have been extremely fortunate too but wherever my career takes me at the very least I know it’ll have been down to ambition and a lot of hard work.
Given you’re in the same tough industry how do you and husband John (of Brothers Osborne fame) balance your life together and keep things grounded?
We have to navigate a lot! It is an exciting life we lead and we’re in awe of this life we get to lead but we also try to remain two people who come home together, switch off and relate. We don’t want to talk about our careers the whole time, we want to be normal people. It’s a challenge because there’s a lot going on at times and the bigger things get mean you could easily forget the other person so we are very careful to not let that happen. We love to just hang out together and go on our date nights and honestly, other than perform on stage we don’t really put ourselves out there much, we’re not celebrities, we’re just not like that. We see non music friends all the time and in Nashville people are really supportive of you but they don’t care what you’re doing or not doing, they only really care that you’re fun to hang out with and that’s the kind of friends that we want.
Your talents have led you to touring and writing with some of the biggest names in the business, Elton John, Tom Jones and James Bay to name a few, who would be top of your bucket list to collaborate with now?
Top of my bucket list….I think if I was standing next to Stevie Wonder and he was playing piano and we were singing together that would be the ultimate….. oh but also Bonnie Raitt! I’ve had this vision in my head where I was playing piano and singing and she’s up there playing electric guitar and we’re singing together, I mean, I would die, she’s my absolute favourite female singer so if I’m going to collaborate with anyone is going to be her.
You’re currently on tour in the UK and have a lot of upcoming US dates, how do you find life on the road and what’s the best part of performing live?
Life on the road, once you get used to it, is a lot of fun. Its tiring but fun. The schedules are strange, you have to get used to your body clock changing and you’re always on the go but its good. You have to live in the moment and I do because I know how lucky I am to get to go on a plane and go do a show somewhere. I was playing some festivals and I’m driving through Washington state looking at the most beautiful scenery and I’m like ‘This is amazing… I’m driving along looking at beautiful scenery and about to go sing… it just can’t get any better than that’ so I feel very fortunate. The being away from home is the hard part because I miss John, I miss my dog and I miss my bed! I also miss that normal routine. I get such an adrenaline buzz performing live and it still baffles me that people are willing to stand there listening to me sing! I think anyone that performs live gets such a kick out of it.
What do you want fans, new and old, to know about you and your music?
I think the biggest thing I want them to see is that I’m somebody that’s persevered and someone that’s never given up on something they love. I’ll continue to change and my music will change as I’m growing up and living a different life but I’m true to myself. I want people to be uplifted by my music or be comforted by it and I want to reach as many people as possible and just hope to inspire something in them. I think doing what you love is a very hard task at times but you have to fight for it and fighting for an extraordinary life is always worth it.
Download Letters to Ghosts from all the usual places & check Lucie’s website for upcoming gigs