She auditioned for The X Factor in 2012 and became the first contestant to perform her own composition on the show. However, when illness forced her to quit the show she soon bounced back and launched a successful solo career. We caught up with singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan to talk about her latest album “I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing”.
For many people – those perhaps who consider themselves “music purists” – the idea of X Factor is often met with scepticism and derision. But this much-maligned show does offer an opportunity to undiscovered talent that might otherwise never find an audience. For Lucy Spraggan it was an opportunity she could not ignore.
“I loved being on the X-Factor,” Spraggan tells me enthusiastically. “It was a great experience and a unique one. It helped me learn a lot about people and the industry. Of course, there’s an element of snobbery surrounding it but I grabbed the chance with both hands because I was quick to realise what it could offer me.
“Opportunities like that rarely come along and if they do you have to make the most of them. It gave me the chance to showcase my abilities to a huge TV audience and that was partly why I wanted to perform my own songs throughout the show. I wanted people to realise I could write as well as sing.”
As she moved through the heats Spraggan was recognised as one of the dark horses but as she made it to the final twelve, she fell ill and though the organisers agreed to give her a pass to the next round, she sportingly declined, saying she didn’t want to deny someone else a spot.
As a child, Spraggan was always interested in music and she started writing at a relatively young age.
“I was about 12 when I first began writing and because I was a very showy person I loved performing my songs as well. I was quite a naughty child and music helped me focus my mind.
“However, as I moved into my teens, whilst I continued writing, I did focus on my career. I studied to be a firefighter but once I completed the course I flew out to the US on a 3-month tour with just my guitar. I ended up playing in 32 states!”
When she returned to the UK, Spraggan picked up a job in demolition but following an accident working on a Cherry picker she moved away permanently from that field of work.
“I guess it was fate in a way but it gave me more time to focus on my music.”
After her appearance on X Factor her debut album was released.
“I already had a body of songs, many of which I had been performing on X Factor so we were able to get an album out quite quickly after my time on the show finished. Working with a big label was a little odd.”
Odd and not quite what Spraggan was looking for and eventually she decided to launch her own label.
“The new album has been launched on my label – Control Records – and it was a lot harder, without the muscle of a big corporation behind you but a great deal more satisfying. It’s also a struggle to get any radio play. BBC Radio 2 played my new single once. “I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing” is a very personal album for me. I used it to vocalise some of the important issues in my life and I have a tour set up in March around the UK and Europe.
“Performing live is my favourite part and I’m particularly excited about this tour as it is the biggest I have ever done.”
Does she utilise social media to connect with her fans?
“I use it all the time and it is so important for me to communicate with my fans. I’m more of a Facebook user and I like to engage with my audience whenever I can. The day my album came out I posted a video of me hiding a copy and then one of my fans posted something up when they found it.”
So what does she do to occupy herself outside of work?
“I like fishing and camping. I’m a big fan of the outdoors. I also love cooking – Thai food is my speciality – and cinema.”