There were over 6,000 entries in to Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition with the prize of a slot on a main stage waiting for the winner. Pretty much every genre had a representative and after music tastemakers had narrowed these down to a longlist of 120 acts, the final eight are set to produce the live performance of their lives to see if they can land a slot at the festival.
The finalists range from the stripped back rapping of MoD Music to the euphoria of Ghanaian ensemble K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade but it could be the delicate voice of Southampton’s Lucy Kitchen that trumps them all.
It has been a rather meandering journey to this point as she look to return to Glastonbury as a performer, some 16 years after her only visit as an enthusiastic punter which Kitchen reckons “shows her age”.
Lucy had been performing for years but it had drifted to the point where she got, what some like to call, a ‘proper’ job. “I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked,” recalls Lucy, “mainly because my job was sucking all my energy, and then I had a baby. After having my daughter I decided not to go back to my job but to re-start and focus on working in music.”
Then came a light through the clouds when Charis was nine weeks old. “I played the small but lovely Pulse Festival, which really re-kindled my desire to play and make music and so slowly I started getting out and performing again.”
Lucy’s friend Toby opened the next door as an invitation to have time at his recording studio gave her the opportunity to develop a group of songs that blossomed into her album ‘Waking’ which Lucy released on her own label Bohemia Rose Records.
“With my sound I really hope to make something that sounds beautiful and hopefully moves people,” says Lucy who is a trained multi-instrumentalist, “I grew up playing classical flute and piano and I think that has an input – I put flute on a few songs on my album and wrote the cello part for Blue Eyes.”
So armed with a voice that would melt the hardest hearts and the gentle backing of her acoustic guitar, Lucy hopes this will bring her the success she craves with a sound that harks back to the country lilt of Nanci Griffith that grabbed her when her librarian Dad brought home an album when Lucy was 15.
“I’ve always loved American folk/acoustic music and I guess that’s been an ongoing influence for me. I guess I was also influenced growing up with Dad listening to lots of Bob Dylan and Neil Young.” This blueprint certainly forms the basis of Lucy’s offerings.
Winning the Emerging Talent Competition would be a fantastic achievement but 2015 is already shaping up to be a big year for Lucy Kitchen. A second album has almost finished being written and there is the possibilities of shows across the UK and maybe further afield. After that though, what next? Of course there’s only one way to go for an acoustic singer-songwriter, a collaboration with drum ‘n’ bass outfit Technimatic.
“I had a release last year with Technimatic called ‘Looking for Diversion’ which has done really well and off the back of that I’ve been working with a few different acts.”
So it looks like Lucy won’t be pigeon-holed too quickly and this weekend’s final could see the start of Kitchen becoming a household name.
Watch Lucy Kitchen’s ‘Blue Eyes’ right here: