With a new album currently in the works, to be released this summer, Lucy Spraggan’s return to Belfast was met with a cheery atmosphere and the sense of a loyal following in her audience.
The ex-X-Factor contestant has gone from strength to strength since her 2012 audition of “Last Night” wowed the the judges. Known for her witty, lighthearted and chirpy songs, Lucy Spraggan’s music is the kind that is practically impossible not to bring a smile to your face.
Support for the evening was local Belfast artist Callum Stewart. Not your usual generic acoustic guitar performance, Callum provided a refreshing counterpoint through piano. Performing a selection of his own songs, Callum showcased both musical and songwriting talent.
A particular highlight of his set was his cover of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” cleverly mashed with Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Not exactly two songs you would expect to work well as a piano cover, yet Callum manages nail the cover and mash the two songs together seamlessly.
Closing with his latest, upcoming single, “Parachute” Callum demonstrates real skill as a pianist but also manages to hit the high notes and showcase his impressive vocal range. Somewhat reminiscent of Years and Years’ hit single “Eyes Shut” it is a slow-paced song that leaves the audience without a doubt of his talent.
Taking to the stage, Lucy Spraggan is met with a level of enthusiasm that surpasses the modest parameters of the Limelight venue. She delves right into her hit, “I’m So High”, a sweet, soft song that immediately demonstrates Lucy’s talent as singer. Although in many of her songs she sings with her Sheffield accent prominent, as a singer she has much more ability beyond this, and this is immediately obvious.
Her ability to craft songs that are witty, relatable and simple but simultaneously clever too is the charm behind Lucy Spraggan’s music. Songs such as “Join the Club” written about having a bad day is a perfect example of this. As Lucy powers through her engrossing setlist with a modest serving of banter with the audience, the lighthearted and charming veneer of her music is shown to very much match her personality.
While the majority of her music has wit and charm that is reminiscent of Kate Nash, songs such as “Dear You” and “Paper Cuts” hit a strong, emotional undercurrent that brings a new depth to her catalogue. “Dear You” mixes rap with a more melodic chorus and as such is very much reminiscent of Ed Sheeran. Lucy reveals that this emotive number is due to be released this summer.
Revealing that she is due to get married this summer, her song “Skylights” is dedicated to her fiance. Combining her two loves together – that of music and her fiance – really makes Lucy shine out. It’s clear that she loves what she’s doing and this makes all the difference within her music.
Although she performs “Last Night” you are almost left with the feeling that there are other songs she would prefer to get on with playing – as this is her best known song, this isn’t hugely surprising. Highlights of the evening include a song about her favourite daytime tv host – Jeremy Kyle. Another simple, acoustic song that shows how well writing about relatable topics works for Lucy.
Behind each of her songs she gives a small synopsis of what they’re about and by doing this shows both her talent and a sense of how authentic her music is. Her story about performing in a blues bar, having someone heckle her about not being a blues artist and then returning with a song about being “a country bumpkin” who knows “nothing about the blues” (of course with very obvious blues influence) is a particular hightlight in this sense.
Lucy Spraggan shows herself within the course of the night to be an artist that is really dedicated to what she does and quite evidently loves what she does too. Having this shine out, really transforms her performance. Closing with “Uninspired” – a song about the show coming to an end – is an excellent choice to end an excellent evening. With lyrics such as “I thank you to no end, you’re my reason, you’re my life” – it’s pretty clear she doesn’t take her fans for granted for a second.