Features, Music

Lucy Spraggan: “This song has returned to show me that I made the right choice”

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Featured image: Press

Lucy Spraggan has released a new version of her song, ‘Sober’, in collaboration with Robbie Williams. She was a beloved contestant on The X Factor in 2012 and was the first artist in the show’s history to score a Top 40 single and album before the live shows even aired. Since then, Spraggan has gained a dedicated LGBTQ+ fanbase due to her genuine queer representation and her openness in speaking about gender fluidity. 

Her song ‘Sober’ is about the journey of giving up alcohol, and as she approaches five years sober, she has chosen to re-release it with one of her biggest inspirations. Speaking about the collaboration, Robbie Williams said: “I’ve been a fan of Lucy’s since I first heard her on X Factor… I loved ‘Sober’ the first time I heard it, and I’ve really enjoyed working with Lucy on this new version.” 

She is proudly an independent artist, in control of her career, and has released seven studio albums. Lucy released her memoir, Process, last year, which was a Sunday Times bestseller. Spraggan also recently unveiled on Instagram that she is getting married to Emilia Smith in June, with Simon Cowell set to walk her down the aisle. She has just finished supporting James Blunt across the UK and will perform at Glastonbury this year.

We spoke to Lucy about everything, from planning her upcoming wedding to how journaling helps her de-stress on tour.

What does re-releasing ‘Sober’ mean to you?

I wrote ‘Sober’ in 2019, a week after being sober and released the song in 2021, on my Choices album. So, this song, which I thought was done, has come back around. And of course, Robbie is singing on it as well, and he’s had his own sober journey. So it feels like the universe is like “Well done on the sobriety” and this song has returned to show me that I made the right choice. It’s unbelievable to have him on the song. 

How are you balancing planning a wedding and preparing to go on tour?

For the tour in general, I just love it. It’s my favourite place to be, so I can’t wait. Luckily, I’m very rehearsed at having a really manic and stressful life. We had a wedding meeting this morning, and I’ve got a Google spreadsheet with 12 tabs to stay on top of everything. My manager is also very good, and he takes care of the work side.

How do you look after your mental health when things are hectic?

My biggest thing is to move my body. I also wake up every day and journal. That’s the first thing that I do. I’ve got a PEMF (Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields) mat that supposedly heals you. I sit on that and journal, then I always do something physical. Today I went on a run, sometimes I’ll box, and sometimes I’ll just go for a nice long walk. Running helps me a lot with the creative process too. I’ll be running, and an idea will pop into my head. Even when I’m on the road, at home, or in the studio, I always make time for those things. Otherwise, I can’t show up as my best self. 

How does journaling help you?

Journaling is a daily non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter where I am. I was on holiday, and I still got up to journal. I started journaling in 2020, I think. Sometimes I’ll read my journal and I’m like “Who is this person? Are they speaking English?”. When someone tells me that they don’t journal, I say “But how do you know how you feel about anything? How do you know that you feel that way?”. I always tell people that the best supplement for your mental health is a pen and a book. 

Is it the same with singing for you?

Singing and writing have always been my main methods of self-expression. But for me, they’re more like snapshots in time. It’s like a time capsule and the whole thing is very therapeutic. For me, [writing songs and singing] are more like little photographs of life.

What do you do to unwind after a show?

I’m obsessed with the shop Rituals. I’ve got loads of candles, and there’s a certain scent of candles that we take on tour. We’ve got soft lighting in the dressing room with incense burning. So when we come offstage, my dressing room is a really calm space. No one’s in there, and there’s no stress. We go out on stage, bring the energy, and then we come back into the dressing room, and it calms back down. 

Many of your songs are quite hard-hitting. Does it get difficult to perform them night after night?

I’m mostly observing the audience. I know that I’m telling a story, so I don’t ever feel too emotionally attached to them. Sometimes the weirdest song, even ‘Tea and Toast’ which I’ve been playing for more than a decade, sometimes that song will catch me, and I’ll be like, “Oh, wow”. But with ‘Sober’, people always cheer when I say that I’m sober. Any kind of support makes me feel emotional. All my fans are lovely people who are always so supportive. My shows are a mega-safe space.

It’s nearly been a year since your memoir was published, how do you feel?

It was a Sunday Times bestseller, which is still wild to me. I actually wrote that every day in my journal for 18 months before the book came out: ‘Sunday Times bestseller, Sunday Times bestseller.’ The book has been amazing. To have been able to tell my entire truth and put as much out there as I did, about gender, about trauma, about alcohol, family, all kinds of stuff. I’ve definitely felt a shift in the way people perceive me. I think people can see me as a bit more of a whole person, which is nice.

Lucy Spraggan’s tour starts in Glasgow on 14th May and continues in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Leeds, Nottingham, Norwich, Portsmouth, London, and Brighton, as well as Manchester on 16th May. Sober, featuring Robbie Williams, is out on all music streaming platforms.

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Amber Bermingham

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