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It Was A Good Day: Chatting with Lucy Spraggan

Lucy Spraggan Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Last month, folk-pop artist Lucy Spraggan released her fifth album, Today Was A Good Day. Currently midway through her North American tour promoting the album, on Sunday, June 16, she performed in Washington, D.C., at the Songbyrd Music House and Record Café.

i99Radio chatted with Lucy at a local restaurant/bar called Pitchers where we learned more about her latest album, her musical influences, how she stays motivated, and more.

A key thing where it comes to Spraggan’s music is that she is very much a storyteller. Many of her songs reflect upon hard times, but there are also songs about happiness, such as the title track on Today Was A Good Day.

“I think all the albums kind of reflect where I’m at in my life, and I guess without knowing it, I was in a very positive place [for this one],” Spraggan says regarding the more positive vibe compared to her past releases. “Like I felt quite defiant and happy, and that came out in my music. I guess I was in a darker place for the other albums.”

Lucy Spraggan performing
Lucy Spraggan performing at Songbyrd Music House and Record Café in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Spraggen not only finds inspiration in everyday life but also through teaming up with different charities.

“All of my songs are inspired by different things,” she admits. “’All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ was about dementia, and I worked with Alzheimer’s U.K. on that. With ‘Stick the Kettle On,’ we conjoined with CALM [Campaign Against Living Miserably]. I have quite a lot of songs about mental health. ‘Papercuts’ is about self-harm, so is ‘As the Saying Goes.’ When people want to use them or pick up on them, I think that’s a cool thing to do.”

Each song that Spraggan creates touts its own narrative where a listener gets a full understanding on what inspired each song. As she describes, it’s honestly like listening to her own diary or journal in song form. She’s inspired by artists like Dolly Parton, Kirsty MacColl, and Joni Mitchell, and also expands on her listening by drawing inspiration from rappers such as Biggie and duo Blackalicious. In fact, one of her dream collaborations is to work with rapper Watsky. All of these artists, Spraggan feels, tell their own stories, which is exactly what she’s trying to do with her music.

Lucy Spraggan i99Radio
Lucy Spraggan holding the i99Radio sign
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

She describes how another song on her latest album was inspired by her home life. Spraggan and her wife, Georgina, were foster parents before they recently moved. That experience plus her mother inspired one of her songs.

“I wrote a song called ‘Dinner’s Ready,’ and that was because we had kids in our house,” Spraggan explains. “It just kind of showed me how hard my mom worked as a single parent. It’s hard to look after kids, and she had three. That’s kind of what inspired it— it’s about my mum.”

Aside from her home life, Spraggan reflects on how some of her odd jobs before becoming a musician have helped her with her current career.

Lucy Spraggan playlist
Infographic by Jenna Kauffman

“I used to be a magician, and I think that helps a lot with learning how to deal with people and being a performer,” she notes. “I was a cave tour guide as well, and that’s good with making stuff up on the spot when you don’t know what you’re talking about. I think all of the jobs I’ve had have had an influence in some way because that’s what I write about: life.”

Compared to the U.K., Spraggan has a relatively smaller fan base in the United States, but she doesn’t mind it. She feels that the smaller shows still keep her motivated as an artist.

“It’s tiny here, but you’ve gotta start somewhere,” she says. “In the U.K., I used to play shows this size, and now I play like 3,000 people every night. I know if you give the lower part of it an opportunity to grow, then it will.”

While the show at Songbyrd was a smaller crowd, Spraggan definitely brought her A-game. Beforehand, she described her shows as “inclusive, a bit like a story, and fun,” and all of this was on display during her performance. She played an hour-long set that included songs from her latest album such as “Lucky Stars” and “End of the World,” but also played throwbacks that put her on everyone’s listening radar including “Tea & Toast” and “Last Night (Beer Fear).”

Between songs, it was almost like an improvised comedy show with Spraggan’s various stories that made the audience laugh. During songs such as “Lightning,” she made sure the audience got involved by singing along with the harmonies and had them chanting “We are unsinkable!” during the appropriate parts in the song “Unsinkable.” During the interview, she mentioned this is the type of vibe she goes for in all of her shows.

Spraggan has been performing for many years now, citing that she started writing songs when she was merely 10 years old and began performing at 12. She offers some advice for anyone seeking to be in the music industry.

“I’d say to keep that perseverance about you, and take on constructive criticism,” she says, “but if it’s any other type of criticism, just tell them to bug off. Because there’s no point— you cannot change yourself to suit other people, because you know what’s right.”

Lucy Spraggan
Spraggan gets into her performance
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

And if you’re feeling unmotivated? Spraggan offers some insight on that too as she herself has been very candid and open about her own mental health issues.

“I promise that it gets better,” she says. “It’s not that it gets better with any kind of time or age, but if you can make it through that really, really shit time, to be honest with you, the only place is getting better from there.”

Spraggan is thankful to her fans for giving her the platform she has now.

“Just, thank you; your support is so amazing,” she says emphatically. “Especially when I come to the [United] States where I’ve really never played before, and there are people singing my songs. It’s really amazing. I really, really love it.”

Lucy Spraggan concludes her North American tour on June 27. Check out her upcoming tour dates on her website. You can also support her latest album, Today Was A Good Day, here.

Lucy Spraggan facts
Infographic by Jenna Kauffman