An Interview with Lucy Dacus

LucyDacusWhen her debut album, No Burden, came out in February 2016, Lucy Dacus made her grand entrance into the music realm with authority. Her bluesy and soulful indie rock style immediately impressed folks and she caught a buzz overnight. She has become a sought-after live performer with her fan base growing every time she takes the stage. The Richmond, Virginia, resident has been one of the many shining lights for an emerging local music scene. Dacus is a breath of fresh air musically and her future is very bright.

She’ll be performing at the Boston Calling Music Festival, taking place on the athletic grounds of Harvard University from May 26 – 28. Ahead of the festival, I talked with Dacus about being pursued by various record labels, her unique take on music, what’s been going on musically in Richmond and staying on the road.

Rob Duguay: When your debut album came out last year, you had a bunch of labels reaching out to sign you and you eventually signed with Matador Records. What was that whole experience like for you? Was it nerve-wracking at all?

Lucy Dacus: Certainly nerve-wracking. I have a bit of a fear of acting out of naïvety, and it’s intimidating to be approached by people who exude some sort of power and influence. I wanted to be excited, but I was also a bit guarded. You hear too many stories about people signing deals that are bonkers unfair. I didn’t want to be that person. I will say, nobody wants to be the first bite. It takes a lot of luck, after a lot of work, for one label to be interested in you. After two or three, it makes sense for everyone else to follow. Labels are largely interested in trends. Not to say that taste isn’t involved.

RD: Your music has this interesting style where it’s a mix of indie rock, blues and roots music with your voice adding warmth and vibrato. What do you consider to be your main musical influences?

LD: I’ve found that if I try to emulate anyone, it comes out disingenuous and feels wrong. I don’t really know how to track my main influences. My mom listened to show tunes and my dad listened to Bruce Springsteen. So maybe there’s something to be said for all the storytelling I was exposed to. I tend to prioritize lyrics and that could be because I was raised to see music as a communicative tool rather than just an art form.

RD: Your hometown has had a lot of great music coming out of it in the past few years with yourself, psychedelic prog act Night Idea, hardcore punks Iron Reagan and metalheads Windhand, just to name a few. From what I’ve heard, Richmond is still lacking in venues for it to have a sustainable music scene. What’s your opinion on what’s going on in your hometown?

LD: There is so much good music in Richmond; keep an eye on McKinley Dixon, Spooky Cool, Wester Green, Blush Face, Angelica Garcia, Antiphons, The Trillions, and many more. There are a couple good venues, but I think Richmond’s major issue is a lack of music infrastructure but that might be on the mend. More people are starting to take on the role of management and booking. There are a couple of cool labels that are starting to understand the value of publicity and distribution outside of the local realm. I’m excited that people are looking outside the city and seeing potential, and even more excited for everyone outside of Richmond who will finally see some of my favorite bands in whatever club or basement they tour to.

RD: What can fans expect from you for the rest of the year and when can we expect you to put out a follow-up to No Burden?

LD: We’ll be touring a lot, come to the show if we’re in your city. We actually just finished mixing the second album a few days ago! Don’t know when it’ll come out, but I think it’s better than No Burden, personally. Horrified and ecstatic for the day everyone can hear it!

Lucy Dacus’ Website:; Boston Calling’s Website:


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