Lucy Spraggan releases album number six today and it’s an album that comes from the soul. Most artists will have, at some point in their career, the record that changes everything for them. It might not be the album with the most success, or the album with the most hits but it will be that album where everything seems to come together, where the lessons learned from everything that comes previously enables something forged in real honesty, in real emotion. For me, this will be that album for Lucy; the record that becomes the touchstone for everything that will inevitably follow, the bar against which everything else will be compared.
There’s a really deep-seated reason for this. Ever since Lucy broke into the national consciousness on X Factor all those years ago, she has been developing as a person, growing, changing, fighting inner demons. Finally, with the release of this record, she seems to have come to terms with where she is in life. Whilst she may never defeat those demons; life is long and hard for those brave souls who choose sobriety, she does seem to have those demons at bay.
By her own admission, Lucy says “a whole lot of hard work, joy, sadness, confusion, growth, heartbreak and even desperation went into the songs on this album”, and she goes on to say that she has “never written anything as honest as this record”. For many years she would give off an impression of really not caring what people thought but at those times she was deeply self-critical, deeply self-analytical and did in fact really worry about what people thought. She felt “deeply, inwardly out of place”. She used alcohol to facilitate being the life and soul of the party, be the loudest person there, get the most laughs and always appear strong when in fact those days were the most vulnerable. Many people out there will completely understand how she felt, what she went through and so will cheer and applaud her journey towards the light. They will share in the losses, they will cry at the pain, they will understand the desperation but most importantly they will hopefully join her in this journey of discovery, of keeping those demons at bay. This record is for the broken-hearted warriors who have dragged themselves to their feet and battled on in a journey that moves towards health, sobriety and real self-value. That is why this record will be THAT record.
Lucy says she felt “vulnerable when (she) took away booze. Like (her) armour had fallen off mid battle” but she continued the fight, feeling stronger now than she ever has. She used to shout loudly at people that she didn’t care what they thought when inside she knew it wasn’t true; now, although it is just a whisper, she really “don’t give a f*ck what anyone thinks”. In a world of keyboard warriors, of cancel culture and illiberal liberalism she has battled on to come out the other end fitter, stronger, healthier and in control. Every step of that battle is poured into the lyrics on this record and if ever an album deserves national airplay, it’s this one because, at a time when so many people are battling their demons alone in lockdown, just the realisation that there can be salvation is a hugely important one and Lucy Spraggan’s album ‘Choices’ provides that insight in the best way; by music, by finding someone who is standing alongside us in the fight. As a love song can make the heartbreak of a split go away or the joy of a union deeper, this record gives us the armour that real affinity, real empathy can provide.
This record has been a cathartic process for Lucy and she told me: “I can’t not write about the truth really”, she says: “it feels like laying my soul a bit bare but that’s kind of what I do it for I suppose. Where do you put your emotions if you don’t write songs”. The record has been accompanied by an incredible physical transformation for Lucy as she has found discipline and joy in fitness and working out. Running away with alcohol has turned into a run towards the light and she says; “I’ve pushed boundaries, done stuff with my body that I have never thought imaginable” and it seems that physical health has helped Lucy towards a mental health too.
The record itself includes thirteen songs which cross genres but all have the common theme of honest song writing. Having spent a lot of time in America in 2019, Lucy really wanted to come at this album in a different way, rather than try to recreate her former sound. She’s changed as a person and wanted to portray that through these thirteen songs. She says she wanted “quite a lot of difference but not straying too far away” and I think she’s really achieved something special. She is very excited that people will get to hear the record after having the release date pushed back by the pandemic but is also probably quite scared to lay her soul bare. Having had the fortune to listen to the record, I know she shouldn’t worry and I hope this record garners the critical acclaim it should and I hope it is afforded as wide an audience as possible.
Run To The Hills
If I Had a God
I Spent a Night In The Desert
You’ve Let Yourself Down
Choices (Don’t Be Afraid)
Why Don’t We Start From Here