My chat with rock mum Lulu Ash on her debut album Circles

I love soulful creatures and musicians are possibly my favourite people to interview and to be around. Here’s one of my latest chats from my interview series My mum is a rock star: Lulu Ash is a mumpreneur and a sing-songwriter who gave me some vocal coach lessons. Today, she releases new song “Never Be Mine” from her debut album, “Circles”.

Tell me about Circles.

Lulu: We have probably all had people in our lives around whom we have had to tread on eggshells. It could be a friend, a family member, a lover or even a work colleague. We bend over backwards to keep them happy. When they aren’t, we blame ourselves, questioning what we could have done differently. “Circles” is about those feelings of confusion, sadness & self-doubt within us, sometimes even resulting in a loss of confidence in ourselves. But eventually, with time, there is a realisation of our own worth & strength, and with that comes the closure of the circle, a sense of peace, that “what will be, will be”, whatever that may mean.

 

What first got you into music?

Lulu: I have always loved to sing. My father was an award-winning choirboy in Ireland and sang at home, which I loved, and I went to a very musical school. My regret is that I never learnt an instrument, although I could play the piano a little by ear. When my mother died, a few years ago, I struggled to find ways to deal with it. As she had been a visual artist, I began with that, doing a 2-year diploma in Art & Design. However, I then started to take guitar lessons (by accident really, to try and understand music better in order to help my children with their music lessons) and realised that music connected to something inside me that nothing else seemed able to reach.

 

Who inspired you to make music?

Lulu: My guitar teacher, Norbert Schek. He encouraged me to sing along to the pieces I was playing, which was a revelation to me! I had to stop the guitar because of joint problems but carried on singing in different environments such as choir and bands. Later, Norbert & I worked together as an Acoustic Duo, gigging and writing songs together. This then started me on my own song-writing journey, something I love and have found to be wonderfully cathartic.

 

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Lulu: “Cinematic soundscapes, written from the heart”. My inspiration comes from real life (either my own or people I know of or hear of on the news), so it is key to me that my songs are emotionally relatable. But I am also quite a spiritual person, a small cog in the vast universe around me, and I want to bring that into the sound I create. My producer, Niko Tsonev, totally gets this. He & I work together creating the harmonies, multi-layered instrumentation and found sounds, that give my music a full, slightly ethereal feel, allowing it to transport the listener to another time and place.

Would your child say ‘my mum is a rock star’? 

Lulu: Absolutely not! However, they are really proud of me.

 

Tell me a curious anecdote about being a ‘rock star mum’?

Lulu: I was very touched when my eldest son, who was into “Grime”  music at the time, asked to learn my first song “Everything You Are” on the guitar. He loves my music and that really means the world to me.

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

Lulu: I have huge admiration for female musicians, as I think that it is a lot harder to break through as a woman in music. I would be over the moon to open for Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, Imelda May and Bonnie Raitt.

 

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Lulu: I do. The warmth and acoustics are perfect! I tend to sing show tunes or even a little opera. No idea why, they just feel good to sing in the shower!!

 

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

Lulu: Probably writing books to help children with their mental health. I have two in skeletal form but haven’t got around to writing them.

 

What is your favourite song to perform?

Lulu: Of my own songs, “The Phoenix” _which will be released later this year. It’s very emotional and has swooping vocals and harmonies which I love doing. For a cover song, it would be a slowed down, acoustic version of Guns ‘n Roses “Sweet Child ‘o Mine”.

 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Lulu: Be authentic in everything you do. Whether it be song writing, giving a performance or even marketing yourself, always be yourself and honour your values.

 

What advice would you have for your child wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Lulu: To a child I would say, if you want to be a songwriter then learn at least one instrument and try to perform live wherever you can – school, open mics, anything. It will help you gauge your music with an audience and provide invaluable experience. But I also want to say to all the mums out there, now is YOUR time too. It is never too late to do something you have always wanted to do, but which you might have felt was outside your comfort zone. You have nothing to lose. DO IT!

 

What’s next for you?

Lulu: A video for my latest release “Circles”!

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