Today Was A Good Day to Chat with Lucy Spraggan
At 27 years old, UK singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan has more life experience under her belt than most people twice her age. She competed on The X Factor back in 2012, trained to be a firefighter, is a five-time UK Top 40 Artist, has fostered over 14 children with her wife “G,” and is even a magician!
Listing off a person’s accomplishments is of course reductive, which is why Music & Mojitos was excited to speak with Lucy Spraggan on the day she launched her North American tour at The Mercury Lounge in New York City. We fell in love with Spraggan’s latest album, Today Was A Good Day, her fifth studio album released on May 23 of this year. Like most of her music, Today Was A Good Day is songwriting that tells a story—it’s personal, positive, anecdotal, and, well—catchy.
When asked what the driving force behind the feel-good album was, Spraggan says “I just kinda knew that I needed to write another album, and that I didn’t want to write an album that was contrived.” Going into detail about some of her prior albums, Spraggan explains that she considers them in part contrived because she wrote them to be “radio friendly.” When writing Today Was A Good Day, Spraggan said that she came to the realization that “[Songwriting] is what I do now. I’m just gonna write, and [Today Was A Good Day] is what came out of it. I think there’s an underlying message of positivity, almost defiance in it, and perseverance, and I think you can really hear it. It’s natural, and it’s exactly what I wanted to say.”
Lucy Spraggan told Music & Mojitos that in a social media driven world that increasingly hones in on the negative, she takes efforts to keep her head and her heart above water. Spending time with animals, going out in nature, and intentionally choosing to focus on the good helps her stay positive and produce such hopeful, feel-good songs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Lucy Spraggan doesn’t have a few choice words for those who made her feel less-than in her earlier days.
One song in particular off the new album, “Don’t Play This On The Radio,” is clearly a pointed mark at her experiences of trying to craft songs that were more "worthy” of the radio waves. “It’s ironic really, because all the last albums I’ve ever written, I’ve really been pushing trying to be played on national radio in the UK. I’ve never had a single playlisted on national radio, and the size of venues that I play in the UK does not reflect that. Two years ago we did 30,000 tickets in a year, and that’s quite big for England, and it was just getting no traction. And it began to upset me, and really effect the way I was writing things. I was getting feedback from radios, and writing songs trying to cater to that, which is so far away from what I actually do. With this album, it was just like…I don’t care, I really don’t care anymore. And I wrote the song “Don’t Play This On The Radio” and it’s like ‘I don’t mean to be negative, but the answer is always negative,’ that’s just how it is. I don’t care. I’m going to write songs anyway even if they’re not played on the radio. Then ironically, I got playlisted,” Spraggan laughs. “So as soon as the album came out, I went to the label like, ‘Is it too late to delete this song? Is it on the CDs yet?’” she jokes. “But it’s funny, because weirdly, that’s often the way the Universe treats you. As soon as you stop pushing for something, it just leaks into your life. It’s a good life lesson.”
So now that she’s writing solely for the sake of writing good music, what, exactly, does Lucy Spraggan sound like? Indie, folk, pop and country were all categories thrown out to describe the truly cross-genre singer-songwriter. It’s hard to pick an exact word that represents her, and that’s because her sound is changing all the time, Spraggan says. “Music is so cross-genre nowadays, you know? You have Little Mix doing a Reggaeton song, Nas doing Country…it’s kinda easy to do a little bit of everything. I know what there’s elements of in my style, but the sound itself…it’s very British, I think,” Spraggan says with a laugh. “It’s the best way to describe it. It’s observational, lyrical.” Artists as diverse as The Streets, Dolly Parton, and Joni Mitchell have all been huge influences on Spraggan, which should give some indication of what you can expect to hear on Today Was A Good Day.
Not only is Lucy Spraggan an extremely accomplished musician who defies genres; she’s also an incredibly accomplished and compassionate human. She and her wife of three years, “G,” began fostering children when they saw an article about Syrian refugees in Manchester, which was near their home in England at the time. “We went down to check it out at the town hall and asked about the process, and in doing so, found out that locally, there were 250 children at that moment in our small town that needed somewhere to be.” One thing led to another, and over the course of the last couple of years, the couple has given a home to 14 different children. Hence the song “Dinner’s Ready,” which was in part inspired by her experiences as a foster mom, and her own experiences growing up with a single working mom.
As she continues on in her North American tour, Spraggan has some big dreams of her own that she hopes to accomplish in the future. On her bucket list is to tour with a philharmonic orchestra. “I saw Sting in New Orleans in a stadium with a philharmonic orchestra, and it was just like…that’s what I want to do,” Spraggan says.
Banner photo by Andy Gannon.