Lucy Spraggan is a bit of an enigma. Having graduated from the X Factor it would be all too easy to dismiss her as Cowell-approved pop-fodder, yet she remains the only act to have achieved top 40 status even before the show aired. We catch up with her in the midst of festival season and a few short months after the release of I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing – her fourth full length.
“Things are great!” Spraggan enthuses. “It only feels like a couple of months since we finished the last tour.
It’s been a crazy festival summer – I played so many cool shows – Glastonbury and Isle of Wight were definitely highlights!” But with the highs come some more ‘complicated’ shows. A matter of days before we speak she performed at the ill fated Hope and Glory Festival in Liverpool – an event beset with overcrowding and organisational issues. I ask how it was from her perspective. “It was a badly organised festival and a lot of things went wrong – but no one was hurt” she explains. “It was a great shame for the people who had bought tickets and had planned the day around it. I think a lot of people wanted a slice of the pie when the festival was shut down on the Sunday, but I don’t really see the point, what’s done is done.”
Spraggan’s fans are obviously hugely important to her, and it’s apparent that they’re helping overcome some of the conventional music industry hoops that are usually jumped through to ‘guaruntee’ an album is successful, as she explains; “It feels great to know that pure fan power got I Hope You Don’t Mind… to number 12 in the Official Top 40. We haven’t been so lucky with national radio play so it’s been a huge feat.”
Given her success even without The X Factor, I wonder whether the mainstream fame that has come with her appearance on the show has felt like a curse. Spraggan is very matter-of-fact about it. “Of course it has. But it’s also been a blessing. People often ask if I’d have ‘done it differently’ and the truth is; probably, yes, but who knows where I’d be now. There’s a lot to be said for being thankful, and that’s what I am. Thankful for all of it, even the bad bits.”
New single All That I’ve Loved from her most recent record is accompanied by a video that makes it clear that the song is aiming to raise awareness of dementia, and Spraggan has been promoting the Dementia Friends organisation along with the release. “My wife’s grandma, Barbara, inspired me to write this song” she explains. “She has dementia and I met her when she had deteriorated quite a lot. I’d heard so many fabulous stories about her and it is very difficult to imagine how hard it is for my wife’s family to deal with such a cruel condition. Becoming a Dementia Friend opens up the opportunity to help people suffering with dementia and to help end the stigma attached to it. It takes 5 minutes.”
This autumn tour, following off the back of her busy summer, is entirely acoustic, which Lucy explains gives her an opportunity to try out new things and bring back some old songs. “It’s going to be a very inclusive show, hopefully with a lot of audience participation. Bring your singing voice with you and leave your inhibitions at the door.”
Get tickets to Lucy Spraggan at O2 Academy Leicester on Sunday 8th October here. You can get involved with Dementia Friends at dementiafriends.org.uk