An Interview with Lydia Luce

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Lydia Luce is a Nashville based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been around for a few years now. In 2021, Lydia will kick things off the year with a new album called Dark River and it’s excellent. Her versatile, delicate delivery really shines through, so definitely grab that from wherever you get your music today! So, if you haven’t guessed it, today, I’ve got Lydia Luce with us. Lydia is as down-to-earth as she is talented and I was happy to get to know her a bit better. If you’d like to learn more about Lydia, head over to her website here and check out some of her work. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Lydia, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a weird year, hasn’t it? What have you been doing to pass the time?

Lydia:
My pleasure Andrew! Thank you for having me. It has certainly been a strange year. It changes day to day! In the summer, my partner and I took up gardening and spent a lot of time hiking which was lovely. It is very cold in Nashville right now (currently snowing) so I’ve been reading more and doing some remote recording for violin and viola sessions. Also, attempting to learn Spanish and train a puppy! 

Andrew:
Tell us about backstory. How did you get into music? What was the gateway so to speak? While your music has settled within the genre of Folk, you’ve got an extensive background in Classical music, right? Tell us about that.

Lydia:
Well, my mother was a Classical orchestra conductor, organist and choir director. So, I grew up in a very musical home. She started teaching my brother and I piano when I was 3 years old and put a violin in my hands when I was 6. We began playing in her youth orchestra at a very young age and later played in her professional orchestra, Ars Flores. I switched to viola when I was a Junior in high school because I thought I wanted to be an orchestral violist and wanted to go to a conservatory for college. I spent one year at a conservatory and practiced my butt off. I felt that it was not as rewarding as I imagined it to be and left to pursue another route of a musical career. 

Andrew:
As an artist and songwriter, who were some of your earliest and more important influences? How did you find your voice as an artist?

Lydia:
My dad loved Folk and Rock music, so I was introduced to Fleetwood Mac, Peter, Paul and Mary and loads of other groups from the 60s/70s. In High School, I was introduced to Sufjan Stevens, Damien Rice and Radiohead and begged my mom to buy me a guitar. She did but told me I had to keep up my at-home violin practice routine. 

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Andrew:
Your first album, Azalea was released in 2018. Looking back, what can you tell us about the recording of that record? How do you feel about it now?

Lydia:
I loved recording Azalea. This was my first full length project and my first time taking part in the production process of the songs. I also got to play viola on each of the songs which felt like a convergence of my musical backgrounds. I had just moved to Nashville and was quickly introduced to so many incredible musicians through the producers Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning. 

Andrew:
In 2021, you’re releasing your second studio effort, Dark River. How did the recording of your sophomore album differ from your debut? How would you compare the two?

Lydia:
Dark River will be out in February 2021 and obviously 2020 has created some interesting new obstacles in releasing a record. Thankfully, I recorded most of the record in January 2020. One song snuck in mid pandemic and we recorded it at Jordan Lehning’s home studio. I think I have come to know my own intuition more since releasing Azalea. I felt that I knew more of what I wanted in this record and was able to confidently articulate it more which feels really good. 

Andrew:
While recording your new album, your home in Nashville was hit by a tornado. My understanding is you had a near-death experience there, and even suffered panic attacks as a result. How did this experience affect you as a songwriter? Do you feel you’ll be forever changed moving forward artistically?

Lydia:
Yes, what a year!! Well, I’m not sure I’ve discovered the change the tornado brought to my art yet. I do think that experience has made me grateful for my community and more interested in the conversation about death itself. I do think I have more to say having thought through my feelings about dying and that will probably pop out in a song at some point. What I know is that I am not in control and when I try to control my thoughts, the future, etc the anxiety comes on. So that has been a focus of my 2020 experience and it has made its way into my songwriting as well. 

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Andrew:
How have you evolved as an artist with your most recent efforts? What’s changed for you?

Lydia:
I do think I have changed as an artist because I’ve changed as an individual. Last year, I started working with a therapist who is helping me deep dive into myself. I started therapy at the end of 2019 and I can’t imagine life without it now. I’m learning so much about myself and it’s bringing up new song subjects. This last album itself is much more vulnerable than Azalea and I think I’ll continue to take this path of vulnerability in my art. 

Andrew:
Let’s talk about songwriting a bit. You touch on themes of isolation, heartbreak and more. I know often times, artists’ lyrical content can come from a deeply personal place, and other times, they are merely telling stories so to speak. Which is it for you?


Lydia:
My songs come from personal experience. Maybe if I am vulnerable and open about my life experiences, someone else will hear that message and resonate with it. We’ve all known loneliness and heartbreak.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music industry these days? What needs to change for both the betterment of the artists and fans alike?

Lydia:
I mean, right now, COVID has certainly put all artists and fans in a predicament and that seems like our greatest challenge at the moment.

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Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Lydia:
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky. Because it got me through a tough breakup.

Radiohead – In Rainbows. I remember seeing them on that tour in High School and it was just such an incredible experience.  

Richard Hawley – Coles Corner the Strings. Because of the memories I have listening to it.

Andrew:
Who are some of your favorite artists and why?

Lydia:
Adrianne Lenker. I love her poetic songwriting and her versatility as an artist.

Johnny Greenwood. Again, his versatility as an artist. He’s a multi instrumentalist, composer…just an incredible musician. 

Andrew:
Aside from music, what else are you most passionate about and why? How do your other passions inform and inspire your music?

Lydia:
I love being outside. I love hiking, camping, scuba diving, snorkeling…I think nature inspires me most of all. 

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Lydia:
Yeah, working on my vinyl collection. Grimey’s in Nashville is a great local vinyl shop!

Andrew:
Last question. In a world that’s been so confined by the constraints of big business and the alienation caused due to the internet age, how do artists find their footing these days? What advice would you have for younger artists?

Lydia:
Find your community. The Internet can be isolating and it doesn’t feel real. We need real community to exist above all…for support mentally, spiritually, and creatively. 

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Interested in diving deeper into the work of Lydia Luce? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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