Lucie Silvas is one of the UK’s finest singer/songwriters who currently resides in Nashville with her husband John Osborne of ACM Vocal Duo Of The Year winners Brothers Osborne.
Having been in the music industry for the years as a successful pop artist and a songwriter for other artists such as Will Young, Lucie turned to Country Music for her current album Letters To Ghosts. Despite being labelled as country, Lucie’s music doesn’t travel too far from her sound from all her previous albums, making her music appeal to fans of all genres.
After a ten year gap since she last played in the UK, Lucie returned for a tour late 2016 and returned again alongside Brothers Osborne to be a part of London’s C2C Festival.
Letters to Ghosts by Lucie Silvas
I caught up with Lucie to see what she has been up to since we last spoke in September 2016.
Hi Lucie how are you?
I am good thank you, It’s good to be back. It feels like ages but it’s been about five or six months. When did we last see each other?
Yes, September. I have been in Nashville and doing a fair bit of touring since I last saw you. This trip, me and my husband John (from Brothers Osborne) went to New Zealand for my sister’s wedding. So when we first got here, we really struggled because we just had the worst jet lag. I am used to it more than he is, but it really bit him hard. So I think today’s actually the first day we feel normal.
Oh good, well we are just so happy to have you both here at C2C Festival, when we spoke before, we were hoping it would happen.
Oh thank you, we are happy to be here together, it’s special.
You have been on tour with Brothers Osborne, what was that like? Must be fun? Have their fans taken to your music?
I think so, I think it’s like any audience that you’re new in front of – and also I don’t necessarily make the announcement that I am his wife. The people who know, know – but for the most part I don’t say it, until maybe TJ announces ‘This lucky bastard’s married to her’, which is so sweet. It’s lovely to be embraced by their fans but I want to be embraced for the music. I am always nervous; you go out there in front of new audiences and you don’t know how you are going to be received, but I’ve never had a bad show. I’ve never felt that I didn’t have a good time; I’ve never come off stage thinking people were scratching their heads, so hopefully it was received well – but you never really know, and you’ve just got to go out there and do it.
Exactly! I have to ask about Crash My Playa , what was that like?
You know, it’s funny because it’s actually pronounced Crash My Plyer. I was calling it Crash My Playa, like it’s spelt and everyone was telling me that I was saying it wrong. That was so fun. You like to think you can play in front of any audience but with both me and The Brothers Osborne, I think our music is more geared towards specific audiences. Sometimes you feel like maybe, my music is a bit more serious at times – not all of the songs, as there are some really fun songs, so I felt a bit more at home on The Brothers Osborne tour. We were out there with our friends and loads of artists that we knew, and The Osborne’s dad and sister were out there, so we had a blast, especially with the atmosphere of playing in the sunshine.
So, the album Letters To Ghosts has been out a while now, how has the reception been since it’s uk release? Since we last spoke I have listened to it so much more and it’s actually become one of my favourite albums of all time.
Oh, thank you. Do you know what, I really appreciate that. It’s a funny thing because to me it’s old now, because I have had it for a while, but actually when I play it live I don’t ever feel like it’s old. I get so excited when I sing the songs live because they have come alive even more since you made them and you feel like you have attacked them in a different way. The last thing that I have really done where America is concerned is the Smoke video. Now I am writing for a new album; starting to get that together because I left such a big gap between albums last time, so I don’t want to leave a big gap this time.
What song off the album means the most to you and what song is your favourite to perform?
I think Roots, even though I am not actually playing that today. I am actually going to play a new song that I think I played last time – Just For The Record, which is a song for the new album. Roots is always one that has hit a chord in me because I was in such turmoil at the time I wrote it and it was therapeutic, cathartic, to write it. Every time I sing it I would feel it, and it ended up that I would have to play it on my own, mostly on piano. If I played it with a band it didn’t have the same emotion. I wanted to play it on my own, but with a tempo change – I’d go really slow, which is fine, because it’s a very emotional song and you can take it at your own pace. All of them have special meaning, like Villain, which has an element of feistiness in it. It’s a very sad song of ‘fine, I will take all the blame’. There’s an element of hurt in there, but Roots feels more loving, Villain feels a little more pissed off.
On the subject of songs from the album. You have released a video trilogy which is three videos for the songs Letters To Ghosts, Villain and Smoke which are all connected. Could you tell me a little bit of the idea behind that?
Yes, the trilogy came about because I had this character that I played in Letters To Ghosts and she was a villain. It was a fun character to play and I thought, I wonder how far we can take this story. You know people have done concept albums and I wanted to do a concept video, so they would all be joined. They would all be this one story of this girl who is a socialite and she has her ex boyfriend in the trunk of her car, then she goes to prison. She’s obviously got this other guy who can’t seem to tell her to get lost and he visits her in prison in Villain. Then it comes to Smoke, where we are assuming she has to go to this place, this rehab type meeting, as a condition of getting out of prison.
It really is like internally the things that we go through as humans with love for ourselves. It’s a constant learning curve and really for me, it’s been being the good guy, being the bad guy, learning, having to face my demons and having to understand what it is about myself that makes me repeat these mistakes. You see at the end of the Smoke video she’s obviously all these characters; she didn’t realise it’s her doing it. I have really come to that point where I realise, well, maybe it was me doing all that, maybe no one did these things to me. I think there are subliminal ways; we do things even in songs as artists that we don’t even realise that we are doing. It was fun for me to play that character and to have a bit of a sinister undertone to these videos. It’s fun because I can do what I want with these videos, I’ve got no one really telling me who I can play and who I can’t.
You are on the yamaha stage on Sunday. Was it hard to select just two to three songs?
I still don’t know what I’m going to play. I think once we get up there on the stage, we will definitely play Letters To Ghosts but the other two I think we’ll just gauge. I’ve been playing this Jackson Five cover in the past few shows, which is a really fun cover to do as it’s soulful, it’s Motown and it has that blues element which totally fits with the Country world as well – so I think I might play that.
You will also be doing one of the bluebird sessions. What have you got planned for that? Will fans hear your version of Smoking Jacket?
I think I will – I really want to and I want to ask Miranda and say ‘Hey, do you mind?’ Because you know it’s her song but I love that song and it’s what songwriters do in Nashville, they sing the songs that they co-wrote. I think would be a shame not to do it tomorrow.
The Weight Of These Wings is such a great album
I love it! Tin Man is actually one of my favourites
In the US, country artists rely heavily on country radio to be heard or known. The UK have very little country radio, just one hour a week on mainstream radio and the others are all internet stations. How does it feel that your music is heard here without the help of radio and purely, as it often is in the UK, word of mouth amongst each other.
That is so amazing to hear and you know what, it’s a funny thing because you always wonder, well the record company does, what will be the tipping point of an artist – how will people get to hear about them? I think you can’t predict that, which can be quite challenging. With radio in America there is such a separation between genres that it’s very hard and you end up having to fit in. They do play a couple of curve balls, but over here, everything is very multi genre on Radio 1 and Radio 2. To me it still feels challenging to get on the radio and I have not had that radio play with Letters To Ghosts, so to hear people knowing the songs and finding them is an amazing thing. If you can get your music in the huge pool of artists that we have in the world, the huge pool of talent, if you can get to your fans and find fans and they can find you without the usual routes that record companies have to go, then you’re winning even the tiniest bit.
Your husband is of course one half of Brothers Osborne. Do you have a favourite song from their album and is there a song they perform live that just gets you every time you see it?
It’s funny, I watch the show every night because I love the songs and there are a couple of songs in particular that always get me going, like Down Home for example. I always love singing Loving Me Back with them, and It Ain’t My Fault and Stay A Little Longer, which is so anthemic and so beautiful that the crowd goes nuts; it’s always been one of my favourite songs. I really love the way they do 21 Summer in the show because it’s really beautiful and John plays his guitar, at the beginning of the song. Their show is so amazing, it’s not just Country, it’s old 70’s rock and all the things they grew up loving, like the Allman Brothers; it’s amazing.
So you said you are working on new music but are we going to be seeing a lot more of you in the UK now?
I’m hoping I can. I go on tour again and the great thing is Chris Stapleton is taking out about five artists on tour with him and I am one of them, which is amazing. 16 of the dates are with Brothers Osborne. We want to come back – but the hardship of it is that I live in the States, and I need that support as much as possible to be able to afford to come over. I am going to try my absolute best.
Well thanks so much for chatting to me today, was so lovely to see you again and as part of C2C Festival. I hope you come back soon.
Me too and lovely to see you again too.