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Q&A with Lucie Barât

01 November 2017

Meet the woman who can do it all. 

After just finishing her run supporting her brother's band, The Libertines, on tour, we managed to catch up with poet / songwriter / singer / actress / screenwriter / guest journalist (phew) Lucie Barât in Old Spitalfields Market. With an endless CV of incredible creative music / TV / writing experiences, it was fascinating to find out more about Lucie's processes. If you're a budding artiste of any kind, you'll definitely want to read on.

 

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What was it that first drew you to poetry?

I always liked being able to be economically descriptive. From a young age I started reading plays, so I was really into quality dialogue and colloquialisms; plays are so artistic so usually there'll be a message that's very poignant and that's the same as poetry, I guess. I read very contemporary poetry growing up as a teen, and just expressing myself and playing with words was what I found fascinating ... and then that all ties into the art of songwriting. I've realised now, with music, people are different. Your ears can be drawn to the beat or the melody, but I always used to assume everyone else was drawn first to the lyrics, like I was. I'd get distracted listening to music I really loved because I'd be listening to it like a story or a film and losing myself in my head. It's always been lyrics and words for me, before anything else. 

 

Lucie Barât | Colston optics in clear

 

How do you begin your artistic writing process?

It's totally varied! Sometimes I just feel like I need to sit down with a piece of paper and my thoughts will come out in the form of a load of prose or a combination of lines or something. Other times, i'll have a beat in my head and i'll want to play with the words against that rhythm. On other occasions I'll have a melody or a bass line that will appear out of nowhere and i'll figure out the words afterwards once I've worked out the type of melody it is ... so every time I do something it starts off differently, which is great. A lot of my solo stuff is spoken-word, so I work a lot with the drum and rhythm section to build it from the ground up. I never know where my next piece will come from! Sometimes songs turn into poems and vice versa, so it's always a journey.

 

Lucie BarâtLexington suns in pink

 

You come from a very creatively talented family, with your brother, Carl, being a member of The Libertines. How close are you and how do you inspire each other?

We are very close actually. When you're younger you want to be independent and different. I went to drama school and he went into the band stuff. As we've grown older we've kind of had a swap of interests, so he's now really interested in going into acting and i'm heading more into music, so we've been able to guide and advise one another and that's really lovely. I've written a short film that we're going to act in together so that will be cool. We've actually got several projects that we're working on together, one of which is a TV series that's based on our childhood that we'll co-write the score for as well. We're also going to do an acoustic set where we perform a combination of his songs and my songs with just our guitars, so I guess I'll be Pete for The Libertines stuff!

 

Lucie Barât | Lexington suns in pink

 

What's the best piece of advice you've either been given, or would give, to a budding artist?

I remember at drama school, one of the key things they told us was, "never put all your eggs in one basket" and at the time when you're a student you're like, "why would I ever want to pursue anything other than acting?!" But that's nothing to do with how successful you are, it's more to do with your sanity as a creative. I mean, everyone in the business dabbles in more than one area. A-list actors are now also producers or directors, writers or singers etc ... because if you're a true creative then you'll be drawn to all avenues of expression and that's what's natural. So, I think it's very wise to spread your focus actually - the 'all or nothing' approach can not only be extremely stressful, especially if things aren't going so well for you, but you're also limiting yourself and potentially hiding away other talents you may have that might be better suited to you as you grow ... what works for you at 16 isn't what necessarily works for you at 30, so be open to everything.

 

Lucie Barât | Faraway suns in brown

 

What's the one piece of clothing you can't live without?

I always wear hats! I always wear them and they really mess with my hair! I don't know what it is, I always used to wear my hair up but somehow I've turned into a hat hoarder, and they're something you can wear throughout the seasons. I'm always in jeans. I'm also loving trainers right now, especially these ones, these gorgeous silver vegan trainers by Po-Zu! They've actually just collaborated with Star Wars to do a capsule range of rebel alliance boots, which are SO awesome. But these ones are so comfy as well, so it's a win-win. 

 

What do you love most about London?

I love the Southbank, Brixton, Waterloo .. all areas where I visited family growing up! And the city on a Sunday when it's sort of shut down, all the buildings around St Pauls, all the cobbled streets and old chop houses, all that history ... it's actually really lovely. 

 

Lucie Barât | Faraway suns in brown

 

Where do you think is more creative ... London or Brighton?

I think Brighton is how London was about 10-15 years ago, you know. London is fantastic but it's forever growing and changing and you could almost be in any high street when you're walking around. However, in Brighton it's still very independent and authentic. For music, a lot of the venues in Brighton haven't yet been as abused as the PA systems in London! And a lot of Londoners are now venturing south to Brighton or other seaside hotspots like Margate for that sense of freedom and authenticity. But I love London, I'm from there and that's never going to change, but Brighton has adopted me ... it took a few years but I'm now definitely a child of both cities.

 

Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

Oh god .... Excitable, ambitious and I'd like to think generous. I try and bring people with me wherever I can to spread the love.

 

Lucie Barât | Lexington suns in pink

 

Missed our last blog story? Catch up with our 'Q&A with Molly Rainford'

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