"JUST FEARLESS," A Conversation with Lucy Liyou

Who are you listening to currently that inspires you?

Cecil Taylor, Ginastera, and Sunik Kim. There is such an irrefutable musicality/virtuosity that exists and thrives in all of their works. They also have these moments and passages that I guess you could call humorous. I find humor to be so difficult to achieve in music. It requires you to ask a lot of questions about intention, the self, and abstraction. It also requires skill. Thankfully, all of these artists possess that.

How do you deal with writer's block or creative slumps?

You stop, let life take over as usual, and wait. Writer’s block, for me, is always a pointless battle in forcibly finding inspiration. I think it’s okay to just wait. That can be a month, a year, or a decade. But I think it’s better to wait than to loop yourself into this exhausting and, at times, disingenuous cycle of having to put out a record every handful of years. If that cycle comes naturally, great! If not, listen to some Mariah Carey. Watch Saiki K. Go outside!

What fun rituals do you have before you sit down to create?

I think it’s important for me to have no set process or ritual before creating. I just need things to happen kind of naturally or else I feel the music being coerced into existence. Sometimes that sound can be deliberate and exciting, but more often than not I’m disappointed. I do have fun rituals after creating though! I turn off all the lights, listen to what I have so far obsessively, and feverishly move. I don’t know why. I just think it’s fun and embarrassing in a good way.

What’s the most special moment you have had recording? That sort of “ah ha!” moment.

I’m singing more in my music! And I’m really understanding how powerful and singular my voice can be as an instrument. I always thought that was reserved for the greats like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston,  and Brandy. But pretty recently I was recording by myself at home and realized that my voice could also have depth and strength. Not quite like the greats but good enough for me to feel at home with what I can deliver. But I can’t pinpoint a single moment because I’m having these “ah ha” moments with my voice almost everyday.

Why do you create?

I used to genuinely think I created to make sure I didn’t kill myself. To get my thoughts, ideas, and emotions on a “page” instead of letting it all consume me inside. But I don’t feel that way anymore. There are things I want to explore and music just happens to be my favorite way to do just that. It makes me feel fearless. Not unstoppable, not invincible, not like a rockstar. Just fearless.

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