People say, “why would you ever go on the X Factor?” “Because I’m fucking working class.”


It’s been 10 years since singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan made her debut on acclaimed TV show The X Factor. Merely 21-years-old, Lucy brought northern, lesbian visibility to millions of living rooms across the country: she’d made a name for herself as a musician before then, a rarity amongst contestants, scoring a Top 40 before she was cast. Ever since, she’s been producing album after album of fiercely out, queer pop and now, she’s gearing up for more. Her new single Everything Changes lands on 26 August, narrating her experiences with sobriety, weight loss and her mental health. All of Lucy’s music has been curated with her fans at the heart, but this track is a truly heartfelt manifesto proving that – in the end – things change, but it’ll be okay. 

DIVA: Your new single Everything Changes lands on 26th August, congratulations! Could you tell me a little bit about it?

Lucy: It uses a sample of the first song the public was introduced to me by, and that’s the Birthday Song. It’s been 10 years since that song appeared on television and I was looking back on it, and I thought “everything really does change.” I’m three years sober and that song is about going out and getting absolutely smashed. Life changes as you get older and you get perspective.

It reflects on some of the inner changes you’ve endured during your career. How do these feelings manifest in the track and what do you hope fans will take from it?

I want young people to listen to it and anticipate that their futures will change for the better, and be like “yeah, nothing really is forever, and everything just keeps on changing and that’s okay.” You do lose friends, but that’s alright. I’ve released an album every two years since 2011. I have OCD so I like things to be symmetrical, but it wasn’t intentional. It’s the circadian rhythm of my writing.

How does this album differ from your previous work?

After you turn 30, you just don’t give a shit. I turned 30 and I started doing the record. It’s so important to me that I’m only doing what feels good. This album is different because other times, I was trying to write something but wanted it to sound a certain way or I wanted to impress a straight white man at a record label. Fuck that.

You got your big break on The X Factor. Could you tell me a little bit about this experience?

I realised that if you’re working class, you wouldn’t know about that stuff [the industry]. People say, “why would you ever go on the X Factor?” “Because I’m fucking working class.” There’s no other way in unless you have roots in it already. I had sensational fame overnight and it was life-shattering, but it was also quite traumatic. 

You’ve been out as gay since you were 14, so the visibility you provided on The X Factor was nothing short of incredible. What was this experience like for you?

I was raised in a small town in Derbyshire. I just gave it all back as much as a small-town lesbian need to. I carried on doing my own thing. There’s never been any option for me to be in. I did a performance of Gold Digger and I wanted female backing dancers, and I remember the choreographer – Brian Friedman’s – face lit up. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only out British lesbian in the last 20 years to have a top 10 album. And that’s not because I’m great – that’s because there’s a lack of lesbian visibility. 

What’s your favourite fan interaction been, perhaps at a show or on social media?

To have an army, a family like my fanbase is amazing. I don’t know if it’s my favourite because it’s really weird, actually, but there’s been lots of my face being tattooed on people recently. People get my signature too. My fans would kill a man for me, I think.

You won the Musician of the Year Award at the DIVA Awards this year! Congratulations. You’re a very special figure for DIVA readers in particular – what was this moment like for you?

I don’t really win stuff. I think that’s partially to do with the fact that I do get ignored. I’ve never really contended for anything unless it’s something gay. I was invited as a special guest to a ceremony for having shown long-term commitment to the LGBTQI community, and I thought “I’ve just been gay my whole life.” I remember when DIVA was on the top shelf and I felt such shame in buying it. That’s memorable for me, so to be standing up there taking an award from that magazine is so lovely.

Could you tell me about your book?

My book is a memoir of the last 10 years of my life – my whole life, actually – and all the traumas I’ve endured. Trauma can break you. It can kill you, and I’ve been really close to that. But you can use it as a platform to become something you’ve always wanted to be. When I had less control over my brain and I wasn’t in touch with my body and my physicality, it was hard. That’s why I had a problem with drugs and alcohol – I was trying to subdue the noise. But now, I would never want to turn off my ADHD or my OCD. What’s normal?

Super important question: could you tell me about your tattoos?

The lighthouse was one of the first – I got that when I was touring America. Whenever stuff went wrong, I’d see a lighthouse, and everything would start getting better. It’s a good omen. And then I wrote the song. My whole arm is inspired by stuff from all different places in the world – I played a game of noughts and crosses with a guy in Dublin, and I nearly bet all of my first record label advance in London. My tour manager convinced me to just put £1000 down in the end.

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