- 20 Apr 23
As she returns with a new single, ‘YOU’, LYRA discusses the “bloody fantastic night” that inspired the track, exposing her vulnerabilities, headlining the upcoming Rock Against Homelessness gig, and her debut UK headline tour.
From her epic explorations of love and heartbreak, to her collaborations with some of Ireland’s top DJs and producers, LYRA’s voice has provided the soundtrack for many a dancefloor on these shores and beyond. With her latest single ‘YOU’, however, she’s drawn direct inspiration from one of her own nights out on the town, “prosecco-ed to the gills….”
“It was just after quite a bad break-up – which I think everybody and their dogs, cats and mothers know about these days, because I’ve written so many break-up songs about it!” she laughs. “But it was still like, ‘Oh, was he the one who got away?’ I say that, even though he was the one who broke up with me – but anyway! It was that ‘Will I find love again?’ kind of vibe.
“So I went out with my friends, for a great night – and I saw this guy,” she continues. “I was like, ‘Him! He is hot to trot. That’s it, girls, I’m signed, sealed and delivered here!’ It made me feel like the spark’s back – and I hadn't thought I’d find it for anybody else.”
Following that night out, the “disco-dancy” ‘YOU’ came to life in the studio.
“I went in like, ‘You know what? I’m sick to death of writing about being heartbroken, or being screwed over, or trying to win guys over,’” she recalls. “I just want to write about this bloody fantastic night – something happy.”
Like her previous singles, including last year’s reflection on the dark side of social media, ‘29 Box’, LYRA’s finest songwriting continues to come from an inherently autobiographical place.
“It’s always been very important to write from my own experience,” she explains. “Sometimes it’s a bit scary to put it out in the world. ‘29 Box’ was the scariest one, because it was so raw. It was like I was naked to the public for the first time. But as an artist, I feel I just have to do that. I thought it was time for people to see that side of me as well."
“I know that when I’m on stage, I can go into this persona that looks powerful,” she continues. “But I’m also extremely vulnerable. You don’t have to always be that strong force of nature. Sometimes we think that’s a weakness – but it’s as powerful as being confident.
“I’m not the smallest, most toned pop star,” she adds. “People think to be a pop star you have to have this perfect body shape and the perfect hair – the perfect this and the perfect that. I want people to know that you can be whatever shape or form you want to be. As long as you have the goods behind you – the music – that should be enough.”
LYRA’s own position at the forefront of Irish music was reaffirmed this year, when she was selected to curate and headline the 2023 edition of the annual Rock Against Homelessness gig – an honour that’s previously gone to Fontaines D.C. and Kojaque. Set to take place on May 26 at the 3Olympia Theatre in Dublin, the gig, in aid of homelessness charity Focus Ireland, will be hosted by Laura Whitmore, and will feature performances from emerging artists hand-picked by LYRA.
As homelessness in Ireland continues to hit record levels, it’s a cause that the star is particularly passionate about.
“Let’s be honest – we live in Ireland, and our weather is fucking shocking,” she reflects. “And you walk down the street, and there’s people sleeping in wet sleeping bags in the rain. I don’t feel like this is something that should be happening in 2023. I don’t feel like we, as humans, should be allowing another human to be homeless. It should be a basic human right, not a privilege, to have a roof over our heads. The stats for people dying because they’re homeless is catastrophic.
“I’ve heard people being like, ‘Oh I’m not giving that person money, they just need to get a job,’” she continues. “That’s not the attitude that we need to have. It’s not people’s choice to be on the streets. It’s not a mother’s choice to have no home for her and her child.”
The night also provides the opportunity to give up-and-coming artists an important platform. In some respects, she feels she’s passing on the support she received from Westlife, who she joined on tour in late 2022.
“They took me on tour with them, and opened me up to all their fans,” she remarks. “They gave me that platform, and I want to pass that on.
“Even seeing the size of the arenas that they’re playing was boggling,” she continues. “It’s such a big production. When I was watching Westlife from behind the stage, there were men that were individually in charge of the spotlight for each band member – following them with the spotlight for the whole show. You don’t even think of things like that. It was really inspiring for me, like: ‘You have to get there. You have to have that guy following you with the spotlight. That’s your goal!"
LYRA recently embarked on her first ever headline tour of the UK – the thought of which was slightly “nerve-wracking”, she admits.
“It’s testing new waters,” she resumes. “People don’t know me as well over in the UK as they do here in Ireland. There’s nothing like singing to a home crowd – you know that they always have your back, no matter what happens on that stage. But I’m excited too, because I think it’s time for me to go over there and expand my fanbase – and show them the Irish goods!”
• ‘YOU’ is out now. LYRA headlines Rock Against Homelessness at the 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin on May 26. See her full list of upcoming live dates at lyra.ie
- Film & TV
- 22 Sep 23