With Belles and Gals ambassador Lucy Grubb about to showcase music from her next EP this coming Thursday 24th October at a hometown show in Norwich ( tickets available here https://norwichartscentre.co.uk/events/lucy-grubb-ep-preview/ ) what better time to ask this insanely talented artist a few questions? She looks back at what’s been a brilliant year for her and told me more about what lies in store, in particular when it comes to her new music, and it all sounds very exciting!
1 LH So, 2019 is drawing to an end and it’s been another busy one for you hasn’t it? What have been your highlights so far?
LG I’ve had quite a few highlights this year which makes me a lucky gal! Playing Scarborough Blues Festival with my band in March was a really great experience, although I’d have to say playing Cambridge Folk Festival was my personal highlight of the year. We played as a trio, with my band members Piers and Rich, and we just had the best time. No better feeling than headlining a packed out tent. I also stayed the whole weekend to watch other artists too and it was fabulous.
2 LH The country music scene in Norfolk isn’t one I’ve experienced first hand, but with you and the likes of Morganway and Sam Coe all hailing from there I’m assuming its thriving?
LG I think I’m quite lucky to live in an area with such a ‘scene’ – Morganway were around when I first started and I got to support them in a tiny venue called The Birdcage in 2015. It’s really nice to see talented musicians get rewarded and they’re certainly doing very well now. Similarly with Sam Coe, she very kindly asked us to support her on her debut EP launch at Norwich Arts Centre in 2017. She’s now releasing solo material which is exciting.
LH Are you all good friends and supportive of each other’s music?
LG I’d say so! I really enjoy seeing both Morganway and Sam go on to do bigger and better things, and equally it’s nice sharing a stage with them every now and then and having a catch up.
3 LH And you have chosen Norwich Arts Centre for your EP preview show next week …..what is it about playing there that you like so much ( apart from the fact it’s near for you and your family and friends !)
LG Well, for one I work behind the bar! Everyone who works there is super supportive and creative, and it’s just a really nice space. They’ve supported me from the start through their talent development programme Sonic Youths, and they also guided me through receiving funding so I’m just very grateful for their support. They’ve also recently updated everything so I can’t wait to try out the new sound equipment.
4 LH I recently mistakenly referred to the show as a launch for your EP, not a preview…..what stage are you at with actually getting your new music out?
LG I find the more musical options I have, the more difficult it is to make decisions and to put music out! I’m grateful to have funding from the Arts Council which means that I have more money to spend on this EP, but honestly it just means the opportunities are endless and I don’t have any restrictions – which can sometimes be a bad thing. We had chosen the singles and got close to choosing the songs for the EP, but I went ahead and wrote 2 new songs so now they’re in the mix. For those who are coming to the show they get to experience some completely unheard material, and re-workings of some older material so it’s really special. The EP is coming – it’s definitely not far off!
5 LH Your previous EP’s ( 18 Miles and Dear Walter) saw your sound develop considerably, what can we expect sonically this time round when we finally get to hear the finished product?
LG It’s going to be different again! But in a good way. I want every EP to sound different because they each have their own story to tell, and I’m still very much developing my sound. There is definitely a classic sounding Lucy Grubb song in there, a folk-ballad shall we say, something a bit more chilled (a friend said you could imagine it in a coffee shop) and a fun, upbeat Country song. Oh and maybe another.
6 LH You’ve spoken in the past about looking to co-write more ….. has this been happening, if so are you enjoying the experience and will there any collaborations on this release?
LG To be honest I haven’t had the chance to collaborate with any other artists yet, but I have been writing with the band which hadn’t really happened before. In the previous EPs I’d given them fully formed songs and they’d play around with them. But this time around we’ve definitely been working as a team, and the new songs have been formed with everybody’s input which is nice.
7 LH And subject wise……you are definitely someone who delves deeply into personal experiences when they write, which I love. What can you tell me about the inspirations behind the EP’s songs?
LG Each song is a little bit of me on this EP, and they’re all very much subjects that I’ve dealt with personally or those around me have. I don’t know if I can say I’ve gotten even more personal on this record but I feel like I have.
8 LH Is one of your greatest influences, Johnny Cash, getting a nod again like he did on your previous releases?
LG I was going to say no but now that I think about it there are a few subtle references to Johnny. In one track there is reference to a ‘ring of fire’, and in another track there is the line “do you still have Johnny on your bedroom wall?”. That one’s a fun track to play.
9 LH “Women supporting women” live is becoming quite a thing on the country/americana scene these days, and you have chosen two female artists for your show on 24th. Was that a conscious decision ?
LG Yes, although I’d say that I chose them both (Demi Marriner and Annie Dressner) first and foremost because I love their music. The female thing was kind of an afterthought, but they’re both super talented and I can’t wait to watch them. Girls are killing it at the moment and I’m here for it!
10 LH How is 2020 shaping up?
LG 2020 is looking to be a good year. I’ve got a few things that I can’t talk about yet, but they set the precedent for what is shaping up to be a really good year. I’m looking forward to working on my live set with the band and to continue playing shows inside and outside of the UK.
LH Thank you so much for your time, have a blast next Thursday and I really can’t wait for the EP to make its way out into the world!
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)