WORDS CHARLIE NEWMAN - PHOTOGRAPHY EVA PENTEL - FASHION MAISIE DANIELS - HMUA JINHEE BAEK
Lily Moore has reason to celebrate her 21st birthday this September for more reasons than most. Whilst most teenagers are battling with UCAS or newfound independence, Lily signed a record deal with Virgin EMI Records aged 18. Since then she’s supported Britain’s biggest names including George Ezra, Vance Joy, and James Bay, soon afterward Moore headlined her very own first tour last year. She has continued to stand tall on her own what with BBC Radio 1 selecting ‘Over You’ as one of their Best New Pop tracks of July and with ‘Moore mixtape’ coming out at the end of the month. This is no summer fling, we can get more of Moore on September the 10th at Soho’s 100 Club where we can hear first-hand Moore’s throaty, powerful voice soaring over her punchy lyrics. You can really hear a Millenials UK Top 40 chart in her voice; a little bit Adele, Lily Allen, and Paloma Faith all bundled up into one. Nevertheless, she still very much stands tall on her own, with her own sense of sound and self.
F Word caught up with Lily to hear about her surprise performance with Maggie Rogers, the pressures of big-name comparisons, how to combat nerves and settling in in London, along with much 'Moore'. More Moore Mixtape is out 13th September! ‘In Between’ with Maverick Sabre is the second track taken from ‘More Moore’ mixtape and it’s out now.
Charlie Newman: Firstly; where do you think your love of music was firstborn? Did you grow up in a musical family? Lily Moore: I’ve always been surrounded by music because my whole family is really into it. I’ve got two older brothers and one older sister who are all really musical but I wouldn’t be able to write a song with any of them! I’ve been obsessed with singing for as early as I can remember, all throughout my teenage years I listened to a lot of soul and jazz music, especially Aretha Franklin and Etta James.
C.N: How important do you think it is to study musician further education? L.M: I think it depends on what sort of thing you want to do. I never did it because I felt like if I made an education of music I would end up hating it, so I wanted to keep them separate. I would have loved to have done it as an A level or GCSE just to be able to learn how to read music, I really wish I could.
C.N: Because that can be quite handy, no? [Smiles] L.M: Yes! And everyone thinks it’s so Rock ‘n’ Roll not to be able to read music but it would be so useful to learn how to read it!
C.N: How did it happen to you, then? L.M: Music just came naturally to me. I had an amazing guitar teacher in Brighton called Gordan, who was in Dr. Feel Good. He taught me and became a really close friend of mine, he’s just amazing and helped me write my first song.
Lily wears jeans LEE; top URBAN OUTFITTERS; shoes CONVERSE; socks BURLINGTON; jewellery ARTIST'S OWN
C.N: How did you find your band? L.M: Beau- my keyboard player- has been with me since my very first tour with Tom Grennan when I had just left school. I remember thinking ‘Oh my god this is just so weird!’ And then gradually we found Nathan who plays bass and Ally who plays drums, they’re amazing! We just got back from Switzerland, it was so good! We’re all running on two hours sleep.
C.N: You grew up on the streets of Brighton busking, partly because it was the only stage you were legally allowed to perform on what with being so young…Have you ever felt held back by your age? L.M: There’s always been an amazing music scene in Brighton but then all of a sudden they got really tight on ages. I could always sneak in somewhere and sing after school but then they got really strict on under 18s. So then as a bit of a joke, I started busking with my best friend Lara. She would sit with me and keep me company, we used to have this unspoken rule that she could take money out of the pot when she wanted to go out and buy chocolate.
C.N: That's so cool. You managed to find a way to rig and bypass the system. How did busking help or contribute to you as an artist? L.M: I feel like busking is a rite of passage if you can’t do a proper gig anywhere, or if you’re not old enough. But then again there are active buskers. I never busked that much but there were definitely a lot of people who had their road or their place, so I didn’t always feel that welcome! But once we got chatting I got along with them really well and would perform with them-although I never got to keep any of the money, but in return, they didn’t tell me off for taking their spot!
C.N: When you first moved, how did you find the music scene in London compared to Brighton? L.M: When I first moved here two years ago I had just left school at 19, I did feel a little bit lost. I couldn’t just walk down the road anymore and go to an open mic night and sing my heart out, there just isn’t that freedom.
Lily wears jacket and trousers LEE; top DOT&CROSS at URBAN OUTFITTERS; socks ELLESSE; trainers NIKE; jewellery ARTIST'S OWN
C.N: Oh wow, really? How come? L.M: Well, I guess there is but it always felt like a sort of industry thing. But me and my manager set up a little night in Notting Hill at Mau Mau because I really wanted to perform as well as having the chance to meet people. I found it very hard to meet people my own age. We’re just upgraded the night now to the 100 Club which is on the 10th of September, but I miss Mau Mau!
C.N: You’ve clearly achieved so much success in such a short time, having already supported James Bay, Geroge Ezra, and Vance Joy. Please, can you tell us about this amazing experience and what you learned from it? L.M: It was crazy, I hadn’t done a gig any bigger than Koko for Tom Grennan before and then suddenly a year later I was doing Brixton Academy twice in one week at aged 19, it was mad! I learned a lot from it, all the people I’ve ever supported are hard working. I think being on tour with people like that really early on gave me a grounding of how hard it is and how disciplined they are. Don’t get me wrong, we would all occasionally let our hair down when we had a day off. I always thought it was going to be really glamorous and wild but actually, it was 7 am call times and waiting around for 7 hours, so it was very different from what I expected! They all really looked after me though which I really appreciated, even now if I have someone supporting me I always make sure they get a soundcheck and somewhere they can get ready because I’ve done so many gigs where you’re getting ready in the disabled loo, trying to dodge getting wee on your socks and then you don’t even get soundcheck! [Laughs] So yes, I’ve definitely learned a lot.
C.N: Do you get nervous before a gig? L.M: I get quite annoying! I think excitement and nerves are the same- just one big feeling for me. I can’t distinguish between being really anxious and overexcited. I have to do ten deep breaths before I go on stage and say some little magic words to myself. The band all have to high five twice and Beau has to check I don’t have any snot in my nose as that’s a weird phobia of mine! He’s never said yes, it’s just my paranoia! But yes, I do get nervous, but then afterward I’m so elated, it makes the nerves always worth it.
Lily wears jeans LEE; top URBAN OUTFITTERS; shoes CONVERSE; socks BURLINGTON; jewellery ARTIST'S OWN
C.N: You frequently get compared to Amy Winehouse; how does this make you feel? L.M: I feel flattered by it. I think she’s amazing. I think we definitely grew up listening to the same music.
C.N: When did you first sign with Virgin and how did that first come about? L.M: I was 18 at the time and I still had another year of school left. I feel like I can’t really do anything else, I’m that obsessed with writing songs so there is no other option.
C.N: What is it like being signed with such a huge record label? Do you feel like you have to go down a certain avenue, or that you have to fit their prescribed mold for you? L.M: I feel like I have a strong enough idea of what I want to do and who I am. I guess that was the good thing about being still at school when I signed with them because I got my management contract with them when I was 16, but everyone wanted me to finish school first which I’m grateful for. I think that’s the thing, at that age, you don’t really know who you are. But from 16 to now I’ve changed so much, it was really important to have that waiting time. Everyone’s been really patient with me and my sound. I was being so creative at the beginning and finding my feet, writing within so many different genres, I even wrote a bloody House song at one point! [Laughs] So it’s great that I’ve had the time for my sound to develop. You’ve got to have fun when making music, most of what is being released now I wrote when I was 18 and having so much fun. I needed that time to be a teenager else I would have gone nuts.
Lily wears jacket and trousers LEE; top DOT&CROSS at URBAN OUTFITTERS; jewellery ARTIST'S OWN
C.N: You did your first solo tour last year, what was that experience like? L.M: I’d done so many support shows by then it was a completely different feeling for your own show. You've really got to win everyone over. I’ve only really ever supported men, apart from Freya Ridings, so I feel like the audience I know from experience has been mainly women, apart from George Ezra, he had a huge range, but they were all fucking great!
C.N: You shared the main stage at Barn on the Farm in Gloucester this summer with no other than Maggie Rogers, singing ‘Alaska’ acoustically with her. What was this incredible experience like? L.M: I got a bit star-struck. Jade Bird had pulled out which is why it all ended up happening and Josh who runs the festival is also one of my managers so he was desperate for me to take her place. I’d been there since Thursday night because I bloody love it! We literally had one rehearsal and all I could think was, ‘this is fucking bizarre, this is so weird.’ There was me thinking I was going to be having a nap in the sunshine and I was performing on stage with Maggie Rogers! I’ve played there 5 years in a row, I started on the floor and then moved up to the balcony and then to be up on the main stage, it was a symbolic way to see my performances grow.
C.N: What has been your favourite gig thus far and why? L.M: I did a show for Tom Walker recently in Newquay having had a break from gigging recently because I had some time off to gather some inspiration. Once I did it, it just felt so great to be back on stage and the crowd were great and we could see the beach, it was beautiful. Tom Walker is amazing, he’s so lovely.
C.N: Where would be your dream venue to perform and why? L.M: The Royal Albert Hall. I feel like that’s just the crème de la crème, or I would love to do my own show at the Brixton Academy, that would be so cool.
Lily wears shirt ROKIT; jewellery ARTIST'S OWN
C.N: Who are you listening to now?
L.M: Bakar. He’s really good and Easy Life, I saw them at Barn on the Farm and haven’t stopped listening to them since and Maggie Rogers obviously too!
C.N: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be? L.M: I’ve got a couple of mates jointing me on a mixtape I’m releasing soon and Maverick Sabre’s coming on a song with me and Dan Caplan, he’s amazing. So I’m excited by all of that. I think that’s coming out around the 26th of August.
C.N: Lastly what’s your favourite F word? L.M: Fuck, there you go! Does anyone not say that? It’s got to be fuck!