Lily Allen: “Sheezus” Is Alright…Still
On Thursday evening [May 15], Lily Allen performed before a tightly packed crowd in New York City’s Highline Ballroom. She brought her traditional breed of Lily quips in between the songs she performed – which included a handful of classic cuts off her previous two works Alright, Still and It’s Not Me, It’s You plus songs off her recently released third studio album Sheezus. The miraculous part? The crowd knew all of the words to Sheezus, meaning they had to memorize all of those songs with hardly a week to prepare. That’s just the kind of fan base Lily Allen brings in. Her fluidly melodic voice layered with a pleasantly punchy “I Don’t Give A Fuck” attitude, is exactly why we love her so. We caught up with Lily Allen following her appearance at the Met Gala, and then checked in again with her following her New York City show. She discussed coming back on the scene, now as a wife and mother, along with the unexpected new school internet that has flourished during her hiatus. One thing remains in tact: She’s Lily Allen, and she’s awesome. Check out what she had to say to Life+Times, and what we can expect next from our favorite siren from across the pond.
Life+Times: So how are you doing?
Lily Allen: I’m really good, thank you! I’m very good. I’m tired, but I’m good.
L+T: Well when you first came out, which was like 2006, it’s been about right years now, right?
LA: I know! I’m so old [laughs].
L+T: Yeah right [laughs]. So, in hitting that mark, how did your attitude or your opinion change from when you first took those steps to releasing music, to now with your proverbial “comeback?”
LA: Hmm. Well, I mean I think my opinions have changed in the sense that I’m eight years older so maybe I’m just a little less angry? I feel more settled, I kind of know what my future holds in terms of family and stuff because I’m married and I have two children. So, I feel like I’m in a better place. I’m not a sort of goofy teenager anymore. I’m a mother, and I’m very happily married.
L+T: Congratulations, by the way, on your children and your marriage and all that. LA: Thank you! Thank you so much.
L+T: So in coming back out, were you mentally prepared for the shit storm of think pieces and…
LA: Not really. While I was away, I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter, but I certainly wasn’t on Hypebeast and stuff like that. I wasn’t even aware of some of the websites that exist and then when I put “Hard Out Here” out and then Googled myself, I was just like, “Whoa! The world has changed!” So yeah, the world changes, doesn’t it? And you can’t complain about it. Well, you can complain about it – and I do in my songs – but it is what it is. It’s a different landscape and, you know, I invented bitching on the internet. That’s what I did from the beginning! So it’s just now everyone has a voice all of sudden. Well, what’s annoying about it is how that one person’s opinion can suddenly become “fact.” You know? And that’s kind of tiring I think, or tiresome sometimes.
L+T: So creatively, what was your process going into this new album? I mean, the sound is different. The lyrics and the sentiment are signature you, but the sound has kind of changed.
LA: Yeah, I mean it would be weird if I wrote 15 songs that sounded exactly the same as my last record. But, I think Greg [Kurstin] and I when we work together, we sort of just listen to music. Then I usually have sort of like a playlist in my laptop and then I plug it into the speakers in the studio and we just listen to shit and go, “Oh that sounds good. I’d love to have that kind of sound or that feel.” It’s just whatever jumps out at us, or it’s usually like, “What kind of mood am I in today day? Let’s listen to some music and see if something fits and then let’s try and be inspired by that.” So that’s kind of where the sound comes from I guess, and then lyrically, yeah.
L+T: I love it. Are you excited for the live shows?
LA: Yeah, I’m really, really excited. My New York show is kind of a little nod to what’s to come. And if people do like this record and want to buy lots of tickets to my shows, the bigger the venues are, the more amazing the show is going to look. There will be lots of props and stuff and I mean, I’m not going to be like Pink and fly in on a trapeze, but there will be other stuff going on and stuff that you haven’t seen before. I’m just beyond excited. I’m working with Es Devlyn, who did the Miley tour with Diane Martel. She’s amazing! She comes from a sort of opera background and she’s just – she’s actually a fucking genius. I just love her to pieces and she’s had some amazing ideas.
L+T: Has it been hard now? Do your children come to America with you?
LA: I kind of have like a deal which is if I’m away for more than four or five days, then they’ll come with me but if not, then they’ll just stay home because they’re so little, so it’s kind of unfair. Today for instance, I flew out yesterday afternoon, I’m here for the day, so if I had two children doing that with me, I think that they would turn out to be very disturbed by that. So they stay at home with their dad.
L+T: So you’re literally here for a day.
LA: Yep, that’s right!
L+T: And so adjusting to this schedule again, did you really have to give yourself a pep talk to come back into this?
LA: You know what? I just get really excited by it. I love being busy, but at the same time, my brain can’t comprehend my schedule so I literally can tell you what I’m doing tomorrow, but I can’t tell you what I’m doing the day after. I’m just – I can’t look at it! It boggles my mind, but there’s people who know what’s going on and just hand me a coffee and tell me where to go, so I do.
L+T: So what’s next for you? After you determine the live show element, there’s a Lily tour, and are we working on the next album?
LA: Yeah, well I’m already working on the next album and like, one of my favorite tracks on this record is “Sheezus,” which I did with DJ Dahi who did some of Kendrick Lamar‘s stuff and did some stuff for Drake as well. So whenever I’m in town, we’re on the same page so we’ll get together and do more work. The same goes for this guy that I worked with in the UK called Fryars who did some stuff on the deluxe version – which was weirdly number one on the iTunes charts in England while the original, standard version was number nine. Strange! But anyway, he did two tracks on that and he comes and stays down at my house in the country. So yeah, I’m always writing. I don’t know how long it will be until the record’s out, but I would like it to be out sooner than later and just have more songs to take on my big tour.