INTERVIEW: Lily Brooke | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Talented contemporary pop songwriter Lily Brooke gears up to release her debut EP, Hypomaniac, this month. Lily’s masterful songwriting delivers catchy pop melodies with undertones which deal with hard-hitting subjects, including the mental health crisis in the UK and worldwide. 

I’d say my songs surround conversational topics and stem from real experiences, so the stories and relatability is really important to me,” says Lily. “I tend to use darker themes and instrumentation that put the music in the alternative category, taking inspiration from alt. pop legends like Melanie Martinez, Billie Eilish and MARINA.”

Lily is no stranger to pop legends, and she’s shared the stage with artists as varied as The Futureheads, UB40 and Atomic Kitten. In keeping with the artists of her generation, social media is where she excels in finding fans, and she’s amassed over 26k Twitter followers and a TikTok following of 31k. One video in particular is extremely compelling, as her mum reacts to the recent release of her single, The Doctor, in the car.

I was actually a bit nervous showing my mum the song,” Lily recalls. “But her reaction was just lush. One of the lines in The Doctor is “all my friends think I’m no good” and it’s about believing people have negative opinions when in reality it’s just your own negative thoughts. But she went into protective mother mode – she took it literally and wanted the names of these so called ‘friends’. Hilarious! She says ‘but, why are we in the car?’… She called out every musician TikToker who has ever filmed a car reaction video, including myself. I didn’t even have a good answer for her!”

There’s so much pressure to have everything figured out by the time you’re 21 and it’s just not realistic

Beyond the catchy hooks, it is hard to miss the lyrics. Blackjack, a single released back in March, stands out with the words: “Young, fun and under 21 / Blackjack full blown panic, panic attack-jack / no there’s no going back”

When I was leaving university and still pursuing music I was told ‘ah you better chase it quick, it’s all downhill after the age of 21’ – crazy! There’s so much pressure to have everything figured out by the time you’re 21 and it’s just not realistic. So that’s when I wrote Blackjack, using the card game as a metaphor for going ‘bust’ at 21.”

The music videos that accompany Lily’s songs are highly professional and extremely powerful. Lily produced the most recent video for Blackjack working with director Lewis Janos Pashleyo to create a very particular feel. “It was a very small production and Lewis had some extremely ambitious ideas. We discussed the story behind the song and he came up with the idea to host a sort of ‘twisted birthday party.”

Another hard-hitting video accompanies the EP’s lead track, Scream, which speaks about gender inequality in the music business. “My outfit in the music video is actually inspired by Marlene Dietrich who was known for her diverse portrayals of women, which was something we wanted to evoke. It was a big decision for me to keep the word ‘bitch’ in the song, as it instantly made the EP explicit, but I think it was important to keep in… I think the small shock factor shows how women have been mistreated and really sold a dream that is harmful.”

Lily Brooke releases Hypomaniac on 12th May.

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