Lucy LaForge is the head and lead singer behind Lucy & La Mer. Based in Los Angeles, the singer / songwriter is doing folk pop. Due to her current single Togehter, I was gifted to chat with Lucy recently. It has been a great talk about her music, but also about political and social aspects of music. She also told me why bartenders are very important on her tour life. Here is the next edition of my Spotlight interview series.
Flyctory.com meets Lucy LaForge
FLYC: Lucy, thanks for having that chat. For people who do not know you yet, how would you describe your music?
Music to make you feel better.
FLYC: When and how did you find out that you want to do music?
I’ve always used music to heal. Whether it was going to concerts with friends or listening to music alone, music creates space for us to feel all our feelings. When I first performed for someone and saw how their emotional state was changed by something I’d written, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
FLYC: Has there been any artist or song which inspired you especially during your first musical steps?
The artist Kimya Dawsom. She is so raw and real. Her music showed me that I didn’t have to be a diva personality or have the vocal pipes of Beyonce to sing. I just had to have a message and know a few chords.
FLYC: How did you finally launch Lucy & La Mer? Was there any special moment where you felt that this project may become successful?
I made a few song demos on a friend’s computer and burned them onto a CD. I was terrified of sharing it with anyone – but once I put it in the car and turned it up, I was on a cloud. That was the moment I felt like Lucy & La Mer was real and could actually be something bigger than myself.
FLYC: Your first success was Little Spoon, the EP you released in 2015. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Little Spoon encompassed a very innocent time for me. I felt betrayed by a relationship and didn’t know how to process. I sat on a sailboat and wrote out the lyrics, like a journal. I used humor and playful instruments (ukulele, harp, toy piano, etc) to create a fun and carefree sound that juxtaposed with the sardonic storytelling. It helped me grow.
FLYC: A song I loved when I listened to Little Spoon is a very unique cover of the Soft Cell classic Tainted Love. What does that song mean to you?
For me, the song is about accepting your reality. You can’t change people. But you can change how you react to them and how you allow yourself to be treated. It was empowered for me to identify that I was with the wrong person and acknowledge that I had the power to leave the relationship. Also, it’s just my favorite 80’s song.
FLYC: I feel this is a good point to look at your engagement in the LGBTQ scene and that you are living openly bisexual. Your song Blue Dress is about that as well. Tell us more about it, please.
I wrote Blue Dress after coming home from a first date. I wasn’t out at that time, and I had SO many feelings I wanted to share. The song is about celebrating that nervous excitement you feel meeting someone new, having a “crush”. Instead of thinking of “curiosity” as bad thing and shaming ourselves (and each other), I feel we should celebrate it. Everyone deserves to enjoy a crush, and the binary pressure to define that you’re either straight or gay doesn’t leave room for that joy.
FLYC: I recently chatted with UK gay country singer Tommy Atkins, who said he was pretty nervous before his first US shows due to the very traditional country fans. I guess the people listening to your music are more open-minded?
Most of my fans are wonderfully open-minded. But not all. I’ve definitely felt that same nervousness that Tommy speaks of- especially when playing in the Southern states or in conservative countries. It’s such a tragedy that expressing your most true self comes with such a risk. However, the country scene is becoming more and more accepting of queer artists. I actually grew up listening to country music, and there’s a growing niche for LGBT country and Americana music.
FLYC: In summer 2019, you toured in the Love Is Gay tour. When touring the States / through the world and being on stage, do you explore that people still act differently due to your sexual orientation?
I can usually tell from the venue how the audience is going to react. If the audience is there for me, or for Love is Gay, I know they’ll be supportive. I’m very intentional about the places I perform at – the Love is Gay Tour was predominately at venues that included “Safe Space” in their descriptions. Abroad, it’s a different story. I usually don’t speak specifically about my sexuality unless I know the room is safe. When I’m traveling in new places and I don’t know how safe the area is, I ask the bartenders. On my recent Philippines tour, the bartenders were indispensable sources of knowledge for what I could say and do safely.
FLYC: Is there maybe a special place during your recent tours you especially enjoyed to be?
There’s a church in Portland that was converted into a recording studio called The Hallowed Halls. It’s a magical place with high ceilings and a very diverse, accepting crowd of art lovers. I really enjoyed singing in that space.
FLYC: Going back to Blue Dress and the EP on which it is published, I Feel Better Now (2019). What was the story behind that EP?
My mental health was struggling and I wanted to create something that would pull me out of my depression – or at least, give me something to look forward to. The EP is full of energetic, positive songs. When I perform them, I have to match that energy and it helps me to stay positive. I thought about making a sad, ballad type album to match what I was feeling. But this idea seemed more me.
FLYC: For Discover, you travelled to Paris to record the music. Quite some effort for that, ain’t it?
We actually recorded in LA, but filmed the music video in Paris. A great french director, Fabien Hameline, reached out to us when they saw we were performing in France. We spent a day running around the most iconic streets in the city and took frequent breaks to try local pastries. It was an adventure!
FLYC: One track on that EP is Got That Thing, which has been used by personal care company for their international ad campaign. How is it like to listen to your own song in that context?
It’s fun! I’m so glad my music can reach so many people in different ways.
FLYC: Your current single is Together. What is this song about?
This song is about joining together to reach a new reality. It’s not a forced togetherness though (You can come along if you want// You can do whatever you want). It’s meant to encourage people to share their similarities and find power in that.
FLYC: You showed quite a bunch of people in the video to it. How did you get to that idea?
The current Stay-At-Home order has challenged creatives to think differently. I knew I wanted to make a music video, but what’s the point of making a Together music video all about yourself, alone? I reached out to fans and friends and they sent in their own video clips.
FLYC: By the way, your Facebook page states “We just wanna sing until you feel better.” How do you manage to do that when I visit one of your concerts?
You’ll have to come and find out.
Finally, if you could wish for any act you can open the evening for – who would that be and why?
I’d love to open for Brandi Carlile. She really values her crew and family, and her heartwarming songs have been a huge source of inspiration for me. I remember she allowed her 2 year old daughter to come on stage and hug her goodnight in the middle of her set at the Hollywood Bowl. I’d love to perform next to songwriters like that. People who really have their priorities straight.
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