“People think I’m just Bombay Bicycle Club’s backing singer deciding to go solo,” sighs Lucy Rose down the phone from Dublin. The singer is across the Irish Sea supporting, and performing with, that very band on some of their last dates of the year. Originally from Warwickshire, the strawberry blonde singer first moved to London aged 18, taking a year out, to “do music”, before intending to go to university and study Geography. The plan to study, however, never quite came off. Instead Lucy hooked up with BBC and hasn’t even thought about so much as a long shore drift since. Now 22, Rose finds people’s assumptions frustrating: “I’ve been doing this for four years now and I only met and started working with Bombay recently, really.”
That meeting took place at Islington’s Old Queen’s Head, where she got talking to Jack Steadman and accepted his invite to sing with the band. From there, she says, it’s “just naturally grown.” Audiences across the world now recognise her as a regular fixture of BBC’s live setup but, in between her on-tour duties, Lucy has been quietly working away on her own music – enchantingly tender acoustic pop that’s been discreetly garnering fans through word of mouth. So discreetly, in fact, that when embarking on her first headline UK tour last summer, Lucy claims she, “had no idea if anyone was going to turn up.”
Since then, she’s found herself being pegged as the next Laura Marling, something she can’t entirely comprehend. “I can’t believe people are even going to compare me to her because she’s so talented and her songwriting is amazing but I’m not sure how similar our music is. She might be a bit offended if people start comparing us, because it is a bit different. We are both girls who sing and play acoustic guitars, but other than that…” Although she shares a similar narrative style to Laura’s, Lucy’s songs are more straightforward, more honest, each song an intimate confessional of her most tightly-clasped secrets. Her next single, ‘Red Face’, even gets its name from her reaction to singing it in front of an audience: “It’s a little difficult to come to terms with what you’re telling all these people about so much personal stuff. Whenever I write a song I don’t understand what I’m writing about until it’s down on paper,” she explains. “When I do realise what I’m singing about, I’m almost immediately embarrassed because of how much it is to do with my
feelings at that moment.”
With a whole album of candid truths to be recorded in January – a mix of old and new songs – Lucy might be blushing for a while yet. She’s best known as a backing singer right now, but by the end of 2012 she should be firmly in the spotlight.