Lucy Spraggan became an X-Factor sensation when she performed a self-written song called ‘Last Night’ in the live arena auditions; the response was a huge standing ovation and a rare yes vote from all 4 judges. That performance has had over 25 million views on YouTube and she was the most Googled UK artist of last year. She released her debut album for a major label ‘Join The Club’ in October, and comes to Cork in support of it this week.
I asked her to sum up her career so far and she puts in very simple terms, “I started off playing in clubs and pubs at open mike sessions and acoustic nights, I entered loads of competitions, trying everything I could to make it. I always kept gigging and then I ended up on the X-Factor.”
While she went through to the latter stages of the TV show, she ended up withdrawing from the competition due to illness, I wondered has she kept up with this year’s edition, “I haven’t watched the X-Factor this year, but in all truth I never watched it but when I had the opportunity to get onto something so large and high profile I took advantage.”
The show, or any reality show route to success, has never been the most credible for performers but Lucy has taken the criticism she had received on social media sites in her stride, “my friends, who have always known how much I wanted to succeed, haven’t criticised me but there is a lot of jealousy in the world. I’ve worked hard my whole life to do this so I deserve this success.”
Lucy, while only 22, has worked hard for many years to get to where she is now, I asked her when she decided to focus on a music career, “I’ve always loved performing, at a really early age I saw musicians on TV and I thought I want to do that”, and like many singer-songwriters she used the open mic circuit as a stepping stone, “I think they are really important, to be able to test out your music in such a welcoming environment. The primary element is getting to work out what people enjoy and also meeting other people who know about song writing and gigging. I think it’s quite a fundamental part of becoming a musician or performer.”
She still attends open mic nights, but in slightly more glamorous environs than her hometown of Sheffield, “I was in New Orleans a few weeks ago and I went along to some and got to play a few songs. It was really nice to be just one of the people on the list and not be recognised from being on the X-Factor and see that people really enjoy my songs.”
On the subject of America, her current single ‘Lighthouse’ which was co-written with Sam Preston, the former lead singer of The Ordinary Boys, and James Flannigan, was inspired by Lucy’s 3 month tour she did across America at the age of 18, couchsurfing and playing every gig she could get. Lucy explained the lyrical connection, “lighthouses are my good omen. When I was in the US and stuff went wrong, when I’d miss the last bus or I’d run out of money, I’d always see a lighthouse on a piece of paper, beer bottle or in real life then things would start getting better.”
Her six week tour to help publicise her ‘Join The Club’ album, finishes in Dublin the day after she plays Cork, “there’s times you’d like to be at home and be able to relax with your family and friends but I’ve got my dog with me which makes it better, we can’t bring him over to Ireland unfortunately”, but that hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm to come here, “I’ve been in Cork before and it was a great laugh, I can’t wait to get back there! I just love Ireland, it’s one of my favourite places to be, everyone is so friendly and into music.”