Lucie Silvas is back in the UK for her first full tour in years! I got the chance to catch up with her in London and have a little chat about what has been going on!
Amy: Welcome back to the UK! How is it being back here about to go out on a full UK tour? It’s been years!
Lucie Silvas: It’s been a long time. I am starting to adjust slowly because we got here last week and we went straight in to do our first TV show. I was so tired I didn’t have time to think about it because i was jet lagged! Which was probably good because I just walked in and said, “tell me where to go and we will start playing!”
It feels amazing to be back although it really does feel quite surreal having been living in the States for years and years. I have been very immersed in my life over there and so it’s something that I am getting used to but I am very pumped about the tour! I can’t wait to start rehearsals this week and get going!
Amy: And everything started for you over here as a pop artist, with ‘Breathe In’ and ‘If It’s Not What Your Made Of’. I’m sure you must still have some loyal fans from back then that still follow you over here but how is that for you coming back as a country artist? This album is very different to what many people over here remember you for.
Lucie Silvas: I am still the same person but the music has evolved like any artist’s would and hopefully because of that your old fans come back to listen to what you are doing and people that might not have listened to you before will come on board and like this music better than they liked the other thing! It’s honestly not something I sit there calculating. It has been a long time since I released albums and I did it for the pure love of what I was doing at the time. It feels like a natural thing!
Amy: That’s great! Taking the pressure off yourself means you can enjoy it more!
Lucie Silvas: It’s a hard thing to do. There are occasions where I will get very nervous and it can be a risk but… I feel like the risks have already been taken. I have already spent the money, I have already done the work and now I have no control over what happens. At this point in my life I just want to be, like you say, enjoying it. I don’t want to be sitting there stressing at night as to what the outcome is going to be and it’s not easy to do but I feel like that’s what I am doing right now.
Amy: That very much leads on to the next question! Being a female in country music… not an easy task! That has been highlighted over the past couple of years. For you at this point in your career would you say that having commercial success is the big picture for you or is it just being able to gain that respect by doing whatever you want to do with your music whether that leads to commercial success or not?
Lucie Silvas: I think for a musician, any musicians that I know and it is certainly how I feel…. First off it is you doing something that gets you going. That uplifts you. That inspires you. If you are inspiring yourself and reinventing yourself you feel really excited! The next step, if you get the respect of your peers, the respect of people that you look up to any way creatively that is the ultimate I think. A bonus to all of that is commercial success. I think commercial success is… I certainly wouldn’t say I don’t want it, it is just a bonus though and it’s something I don’t like to sit here and expect. That takes the heart of what you do away. Like I said, not saying I don’t want it because that would be amazing! But it can’t be the reason that I am going to go now and record another album after ‘Letters To Ghosts’. If this doesn’t do well I am still going to keep recording. I have been recording all this time! I just didn’t necessarily want to be in the spotlight again with it, until now. Until I was just like “screw it! I’ll just do it.”
It’s a hard thing to be a female in any genre and country and definitely proving challenging for females but I feel like there is a lot of great ones pushing through.
Amy: Hopefully there is a change coming! This is always interesting to me because there really are no rules in music to create commercial success because music is such a personal thing.
Lucie Silvas: No, I don’t think there is and you could drive yourself crazy if you think there is one. I think a magic happens or there’s an alignment of some kind, even when two songwriters get in the room. I think that if you are brave enough to stick to your guns and you know that you have been true to yourself in every step you have taken then it will connect or work. Music is a reflection of the time and the culture and what’s happening in the world and I have seen things happen differently for everybody. All the artists that I know, I have seen record labels definitely go for this particular approach, they go for the radio, they go for TV… However you don’t know what the thing is going to be. Is it the song? Is it the person? Is it the moment? You’d drive yourself mad so I think you’ve just got to keep your eye on what you are doing and maybe try and push some boundaries. Change the rules a bit.
Amy: So a few weeks ago you had probably one of the biggest moments of you career when you got to play at the Grand Ole Opry! Tell us about that.
Lucie Silvas: Amazing… The Opry was amazing! It was a very emotional moment. My parents flew in from New Zealand, I don’t get to see them very much. The last time I had seen them before that was a year previous and then the last time they had actually seen me perform on stage was 2008! So it was crazy and I was very emotional. Also I;’ve watched the Opry 10-15 times. When I first moved to Nashville I went to see it because I was intrigued and excited and I knew this was a real tradition. I wanted to throw myself into everything country. The first one of my friends that I saw do it was Kree Harrison and I was just blown away by it. It was such a prestigious thing to do and then more recently I started dreaming about being one of those people. I thought, well I am British, I’m not strictly Country, I’m really the outskirts of Pop and Americana and Country; is this something I could ever do? I asked that question but I never said it out loud. I never asked anybody, I never approached anybody. Then when we got the call saying “We’d like Lucie to do the Opry.” I was more excited about that than most other things that have happened this year. I don’t know what it was… It is such a traditional thing that I respect but also I think when you have lived in a town for so long; I have been going there for the better part of 10 years, I’ve opened for great artists, I’ve worked with great artists there…. When you get asked to do the Opry… Never before that night did I feel like I had made it in Nashville. Even without necessarily being on radio play-lists or being signed to a label directly over there. I felt like “OK this is it! I have fulfilled my Nashville dream.”
Amy: It must have been amazing. The O2 in London, Madison Square Garden, they are amazing venues but if you have the money you can just hire them out! To play on a stage where it is invitation only and you are standing where so many greats have played…
Lucie Silvas: It feels like you have just entered into a family that you hold in such huge regard. I have been thinking about it ever since, I really have. Also the funny thing is that I played my Roy Orbison cover and later found out that the drummer who played at the Opry played with Roy Orbison for years! So that freaked me out! Fortunately I found out about that after I sang or I would have fallen to pieces even more than I did!
Amy: Do you remember where you were when they called you up to offer you a slot to play?
Lucie Silvas: I was just at the house. I’d come home from writing that day and John was in the room and I said to him “Oh my god, I just got a call to say, does Lucie want to play the Opry.” Even he couldn’t believe it! Not that he was not proud of me but even he was just pumped and surprised by that. Then we figured out that no dates that they gave me as options he would be here for! I tried to work around him so he could somehow be there and possibly play with me but we couldn’t so…
Amy: There will be other times for that I am sure!
Lucie Silvas: I hope so!
Amy: So has the album had a lot of good feedback from the industry in Nashville so far?
Lucie Silvas: It really has, I’ve felt such an overwhelming amount of support over there and everyone knew that I was independent with it. Everyone has known that nothing was paid for by anybody else, nothing was arranged by anybody else. Me, John and Ian Fitchuk sat there figuring out how can we make this work for so little? How can we pull in favours from friends that just wanted to be part of it? I think the town followed suit from the writers, the agents and all that, getting on board trying to help me with this body of workers saying “you should be proud of this and we want to get it out there, with or without a label.”
So that really warmed my heart and I have spent a lot of time there but there are a lot of artists there and I have felt very very lucky to get the support that I did for this album.
Amy: That says a lot about you, too. The fact people are willing to help you out so much.
Lucie Silvas: Thank you! I would do anything for anybody and Nashville is a community I feel anyone would do the same for me and I think you make friends there for life and people that musically connected with. We are there to help each other. Nashville is one of a kind like that. You bolster each other and you root for each other; it’s a family town. We are all trying to come up together.
Amy: So. what took you out to Nashville in the first place? Was it just after your music career over here did you just want a change of scenery, a new take on the music industry?
Lucie Silvas: It was that and it was that I was going through such a hard time in my personal life, it had been a rough few years. Everything was kind of coming to a head, I was trying to find some inspiration and change in my life. I was really quite lost and my friend, John Green, was going to Nashville and said, “Why don’t you just come with me?”. I said “to do what? I don’t know anybody there and I would love to see it but… I could come for a couple of days and watch some shows?”
I knew Country music but I really didn’t know about Nashville. I didn’t know Nashville was what it was, you know? So I went and I ended up staying 5 weeks and met so many people. At first I thought, this is changing my life. This is so incredible, everyone here is so nice, everyone here is so talented. I thought it was a novelty for a while. I thought surely it’s going to wear off at some point but it didn’t! Eventually I moved there but it took me a long time to really make that leap because I was doing it alone. I knew it was a big step. To go in to an industry where my music fitted in better but didn’t necessarily fit in. So I was like, OK I need to find my own way here.
Amy: Thats great, so obviously you are married to John Osborne, that must make for quite a musical household! I met you a few years ago now at a show that Kree Harrison and Maren Morris were playing for Halloween out in Nashville. You have surrounded yourself with some incredible talent how do you feel all these influences have shaped where you are now with “Letters To Ghosts”? With regards to the songs you wrote for the album, the way you went about recording the album, the production?
Lucie Silvas: I think it’s true that our house is a very creative place, it is a revolving door where there is lots of people staying and coming in. Not just in country but friends from LA; Fancy comes and stays with us. He is pop and John Green comes from London. There is aways people staying and Maren and Kree are two of my dearest friends. Maren was actually one of only 4 people there the day that me and John got married! She was the ring bearer…. the Jelly Pop ring bearer! We all influence each other, a lot of my album was done before I got to know Maren a little bit more but Kree I have known for a long long time. It goes without saying that those girls, and everyone of our friends, and John and TJ and Kacey and Natalie Hemby out there… They all inspire me a huge amount. Not only as people but honestly when you meet human beings that you can be yourself with… That influences what you do more than anything because we are still having to find our own musical path. We are inspired and we are like “We want to be THAT good. I want to learn from them, to work with them or just admire them. To take in their work ethic, their talent but you still have to do what you have to do. You don’t copy other people, you just find your own thing. Being in a place where I found people that could become my family made me confident and inspired me to be myself and to not try and be anything else. Not be scared of who I was. So that is going to come out in your music. Along with your environment of all the Country music, all the Soul and Motown I was hearing. The Americana, the Rock bands I was hearing. Everything influenced me. The sounds probably came into my head sublimely but also it’s that confidence. I have never felt so fearless in my whole life with the company of those people. Part of it is watching them do what they do so fearlessly and part of it is just the way they support me. Whatever your faults are, you quirks are, your attributes. Just be them and that is going to make you.
Amy: That is so true, an audience can tell a mile off when that person on stage isn’t being true to themselves.
Lucie Silvas: I agree and you just can’t judge yourself. You have just got to do what you feel is right for you and what is true to you musically. I am not good at bulls****ing, I’m not good at sitting there and pretending something is one way when it’s not. I am just not that kind of salesperson. It is what it is. When it’s good its good, when it’s bad it’s bad. That’s it.
Amy: So finally for any of your UK fans who maybe haven’t heard the album yet, haven’t bought tickets for a show but are thinking about it. What would you say to them and what can they expect?
Lucie Silvas: I would say come and see a really fun show and keep your mind open to something you definitely haven’t seen me do before. Even if you have, come back and be part of the family again! I always had such a great relationship with fans. We kept in contact over the years and that is what kept me going a lot when I thought “will I ever release albums again? Will I just be a songwriter?”
I felt that support. For new fans, this is something different, fun and natural. It’s not an industry thing it it just people coming together from Nashville playing music. Bringing a little bit over there, over here!