15 minutes with Lily Allen

The British pop starlet is heading to Tokyo on Jan 27 after an extended break to raise a family. She chats to Graham Turner about motherhood, feeling 'normal', and her massive return to the live scene

15 minutes with Lily Allen

Engaging with your audience can be tricky. For better or for worse, social media has created a platform of dialogue that has served to somewhat remove the veil of mysticism around our favourite bands, artists and celebrities. No longer are we left pondering the big questions. Everything from buying a melon to full public blowouts are now chronicled and shared.The pop stars have been humanised. And it’s partly as a result of this, as well as a uniquely solemn honesty in her catchy music, through which Lily Allen has carved out a career and a celebrity that is at once formidable as it is polarising.

It’s been a headline-generating career spanning three critically acclaimed albums for the 29-year-old daughter of British comedian Keith Allen, from 2006’s 'Alright', Still, through to 2009’s 'It’s Not Me, It’s You', and right up to 'Sheezus', released in May 2014. The London lass, who rose to fame thanks, in part, to social media, is refreshingly comfortable in her own skin, ever affable and approachable to the point where you feel that at any moment she might ask us how our families are doing or what we had for dinner. Ahead of her 'Lily Allen in Japan 2015' show in January, she tells us about her new life as a pop star mum.

Hi Lily! So you’re back after a pretty long hiatus during which you started a family. How has it been shifting the focus back on to your music?
It’s been good. I mean, I had this very clear idea of what kind of mother I wanted to be to my kids but, in the end, that was difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my children, but I just felt like I needed a creative outlet.

Are the kiddies starting to get into mum’s music?
They’re still a bit young. They understand that mum sings songs and gets on stage and wears silly clothes, but they still don’t have a concept of fame.

Has the time off changed how you approach songwriting?
Well, the biggest difference now, obviously, is that I’m married with kids. What I write about now is much different than my more promiscuous days. The method and how I approach it hasn’t really changed but if I wasn’t married with kids I’d probably be writing about going on Tinder dates [laughs].

You’ve always been typecast as an outspoken person. Is this actually the case?
I just try to be honest. I like writing about things people can actually relate to. My parents were always busy when I was growing up, so writing has always been a kind of outlet for me. A way to feel normal.

So it’s a kind of validation, maybe?
Yeah I think you could say that. The biggest joy for me is just seeing someone who feels better after listening to one of my songs, like I’ve hit on something they’ve been feeling and given them that sense of ‘oh, it’s not just me’.

How’s the reception been to 'Sheezus'?
It’s been good. I mean, it’s not exactly the best-selling or most critically acclaimed album of the millennium but the reception’s been mostly positive. I tend to only look at the positives.

What’s next?
I’m just going to really focus on my work while I can. I’d say I have maybe two years left in me before the kids start school. I’ll probably call it a day for good then…

Catch Lily Allen on January 27 at Toyosu Pit. Tickets ¥8,000; info here

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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