After a decade of popstar status, Lily Allen is back with a bang with her latest album ‘No Shame’. Considering today’s fleeting amount of candid speaking celebrities, there’s no one else quite like Lily out there; using social media and musical platforms, she speaks her mind with fearless honesty. Lily discusses re-discovering why she’s in the music industry, her mishaps, and what she’s hoping to get across with this most recent album…
Lily Allen! Thanks so much for speaking to us! Looking back on the recent No Shame Tour, what do you enjoy most about touring?
The gig! I’m not a massive fan of being on the road, but I do love the actual gig itself.
What’s your rider?
It’s not very extensive actually, it’s just Wotsits, Monster Munch, honey, ginger and mineral water.
Until No Shame, you hadn’t released any music or been in the public eye so much. What did you get up to in this time, and did you benefit from taking a big step back before you started on your latest album?
Mentally, yes. Commercially, probably not. I had lots of stuff going on; I was going through a divorce, and writing an album I wanted to get right, which is all very time consuming. I wasn’t really welcoming the distractions of the showbiz lifestyle while I was going through all of that.
We think everyone can really tell you’ve put your heart and soul into your latest album ‘No Shame’. Did putting such brutally honest confessions out into the world for everyone to see come easily to you?
I think I’ve always been honest in all my music really, maybe album three upwards was slightly contrived, but albums one and two were definitely honest, just in a slightly different way. I was looking outwardly at that time, enjoying being relatively young, having no responsibilities, no kids and stuff like that. Whereas on this record, I wasn’t in such a care-free place, and as I said before: going through a divorce, having a situation with a stalker and feeling very isolated, I think that it wasn’t hard being honest at all; it was just a different kind of honesty.
How do you feel about tabloids being so personal about your life?
I think tabloids are pretty redundant nowadays, aren’t they? You know, I’ve got more followers on Twitter than they’ve got circulation daily. They don’t really have as much pull and relevance anymore.
Do you think the album’s title ‘No Shame’ explains the open and honest story throughout the album and gives an insight to the listener of what they should be expecting from it?
It depends really, I think that if you’re like a Daily Mail reader then yeah, the title works for you because it’s like “yeah, she’s got no shame”. Whereas, my meaning of it would be more like I’m talking about things which I think people wouldn’t normally talk about in such a personal way, and I guess I’m absolving myself of shame by doing so. So I think it’s got two meanings.
So you’ve previously admitted you don’t really like your last album ‘Sheezus’. What was it you disliked so much about it? And what did you do to make sure this album was different?
Before I’d released ‘Sheezus’ I’d also taken a three year hiatus as well to have children. I think I was struggling with postnatal depression. Having been out of the game for a while when I came to write the last album and then promote it, I think I was just making something which I thought other people would want. I wasn’t really considering myself in it at all, and any of my brand so to speak – not like I actually have a brand [laughs] – but, it is about honesty and truth. I don’t think it felt real or truthful and I found it really hard to sell that. I think that fans saw that, because if you’ve made a thing out of being an honest and truthful person and then you come along as something that isn’t that, then it sticks out a mile off.
In a previous interview you said that this latest album ‘No Shame’ reflects a sadder and more difficult time in your life. Do you find you use music as an outlet for your struggles? And do you find it important to be so honest about these times with your audience?
I think it’s more to do with myself and trying to figure out what I do this job for. It’s not really about money and it’s not really about fame, so I guess it’s about the product and the music; it just seems like the right thing to do.
You’re releasing a biography later this year called ‘My Thoughts Exactly’. How was it writing this book alongside your latest album, and what should fans be expecting from it?
It’s a collection of essays about different subject matters. It’s not a straight memoir, and I guess it possibly covers my career more than what came before. Although it does cover my relationship with my mum a little bit as well. It’s sort of different subject matters like sex, money, music; lots of different things.
People love you for your fearless honesty and outspoken take on social media. Do you think these are important traits for anyone in your position?
It depends what they want. If they want to make lots of money and get lots of brand endorsements, then no. If they feel like they want to be part of a conversation about where the world is at and what they can do to help, then yes; it depends what your agenda is.
How would you say your view on fame has changed over the last 10 years?
I think it’s different now; 10 years ago when I first started in this world, tabloids had all of the power, they set the tone and the narrative, which is not the case anymore. Now you can do that on your own through your own social media channels. I think fame in itself is different to what it was then, and probably different to what it was 10 years previous to that – it evolves and becomes less or more meaningful.
What advice would you give young people wanting to get into the world of music?
Get a degree in Law or Economics first [laughs], because both of those things will come in handy when it comes to trying to get paid.
Lily Allen Interview by Lucy Rix