Writing this intro, I realised that this is the third time a Lu’Ami interview has appeared on TMMP over the past ten months. I’m pretty sure that at some point soon, I’ll end up running out of questions – but fortunately, Lu’Ami has a lot to talk about.
This time around, we’re discussing something one-of-a-kind – and seriously cool…
You’re currently working on a Kickstarter campaign to raise £2,500 for something you call “The Better Project”. What’s it all about?
It’s an immersive EP installation and launch, based on the concept of growth, incorporating a fully sustainable fashion show, with the purpose of raising awareness about climate change.
You’re crowdfunding an event that’s also an EP launch. I’m assuming that Better, the track you released last year, will be on it – but what else can we expect to hear on the full EP?
It’s all sort of the same style, but you know me – it’s a bit mental!
The track order is Precious Love, Rise, Loveliness, and Better.
Precious Love I played live on BBC Radio 4, but that was maybe a year and a half ago, and it’s been completely remade since then. But some people might know that.
The EP is basically based on a growth story. Each song has a story, in the order that I wrote them. And that’s what the event is about; it’s an immersive event about growth.
How would you explain the story that runs through those four tracks?
I’ve grown a lot as a person, during the about two years that the Better EP was written over.
Precious Love is kind of about…the lyric is “You’re my precious love, I want to keep you in a box,” so it’s about being full of fear of losing someone else, because I wasn’t happy with myself, essentially.
Rise is about anxieties; I suffer from a lot of anxiety, so [Rise] was about anxiety and getting over that; and then Loveliness is about the music industry, but also about people staying lovely when they kind of get to the top instead of screwing people over, basically.
All we have is our personality, our creativity, other people, and loveliness.
And Better is pretty self-explanatory; I just want to be better [laughs]!
So Better is the optimistic climax of the EP, if you like?
Yeah. The EP cover is actually my sister, who’s a dancer, and it’s not really supposed to be a person, more like a form, going from one stage of growth to another.
So Better is about getting ready for the future, and at the end of the EP it’s like reaching a growth point.
Awesome! So you’ve already partially answered this, but how would you say you’ve evolved, as a musician and as a person, over the course of writing the Better EP, over those two years?
Well, however cheesy it sounds, I’ve just learnt to love myself! [Laughs] I think that’s actually why I’ve done this EP, attached a story to it, and why I’m doing this event – because I feel like there’re a lot of people who don’t love themselves.
That’s definitely true.
And I’m very sad about that.
I’ve been through counselling twice in my life; I’m like a cheerleader for counselling. I think everyone needs counselling, no matter what their problems are, but it’s just that people are scared – I’m only saying “people” because that’s how I felt, but I know other people feel the same – and I want to send a positive message out to people that change is a good thing, and we can only get better.
Whatever happens, happens, and change, even if it’s bad at the beginning, it can end in a good way.
Makes sense! I totally get what you’re talking about. In terms of something where I’m not sure what I’m talking about, your event also includes a fashion show. I’m not quite in the target market for women’s clothing or beauty products, but what can you tell us about the fashion aspect of the show?
I’ve always wanted to connect fashion and music. When I left school, I loved both of them the same; I just said to myself that I would do more of one while I was on my break from education, and I ended up writing songs, so I picked music.
It was a great decision, but I always wanted to connect both. So that’s why I invented this event, but the more I looked into it the more I found out about sustainable fashion and climate change. And now, I’m so sold; I told my mum not to buy me anything new for my birthday, and get something from a second-hand store or something that was sustainably made, because I’ve done so much research, and I’m so shocked!
For example, 98% of America’s clothes in the 1970s were made in America; now it’s only 3%, and stuff that’s happening in our world is absolutely catastrophic. Not even to the Earth, necessarily, but to the people making the clothes who aren’t getting paid anything and sweatshops, etc.
People throw out clothes without realising what the [large-scale] effect of that is. I had no idea until I watched a documentary about it called The True Cost. When we chuck out our clothes, they get sent to Haiti, where they used to have a kind of in-country [setup] where they’d make the clothes and they’d buy them there and they didn’t ship from anywhere else. But they’ve now gone out of business because we throw away so many of our clothes – and only 10% of what we give to charity shops actually gets used. So the rest of it goes to Haiti, so a lot of people over there lost their jobs because they’re all getting our clothes. Plus all the harmful gases that come from clothes waste [contribute to] climate change, which is scarily rapidly increasing.
So the fashion aspect is about sustainable fashion – but yeah, I wanted to connect [music and fashion], and now it’s turned into something bigger, which is raising awareness of climate change. That makes me feel really good!
Cool! You live in Brighton; to what degree would you say that Brighton’s culture has influenced the way you think and the music you make?
Brighton has a very accepting culture, so I don’t necessarily think that living in Brighton would push me to be one way or another.
It’s a very accepting place to be; I think you just become who you are when you live in Brighton. That’s what most people I’ve spoken to feel, and that’s what I feel. So just the chance to express myself and actually [The Better Project] is a full expression of myself. That’s why it’s exciting for me; it’s essentially what’s always been in my noggin [laughs], but I haven’t been able to set up a whole immersive event [until now]. All the visuals and videos, and the catwalk’s being designed by a garden designer, and also all of our artists are women, which is quite cool.
And there’s loads of stuff in Brighton, like International Women’s Day – I don’t know if many other cities celebrate it [like Brighton does]. I’m going to a couple of events for International Women’s Day, to help promote those events.
But yeah, Brighton’s wicked! It’s just a really accepting place, where you can become who you’re supposed to be.
Yeah! That’s all the questions now. Do you have anything else you want to talk about?
Well, we are at the halfway point with our Kickstarter right now. We’ve done 15 days and raised over £1,000, which is amazing.
The goal is £2,500 – which I think is doable – but there are some really amazing prizes. I’m doing a gig for someone in their garden, or their house, or you can send me a song subject and I’ll sing about it. There’re loads of amazing things on there; you can also buy tickets to The Better Project’s launch event, and a copy of the EP. I would just like to encourage people to [get involved] before our time’s up, because it will help make our event extraordinary.
Besides that, it’s not only going to be an event; we’ve also decided to turn the event into a campaign called The Better Project. We haven’t finalised the exact details yet, but it will be a brand. So the money we raise for this event will obviously help us get the press coverage and scope we need to go further and raise awareness about important issues in the future. So even if you can’t come to the event, you can still donate and get something sent to your door, and you’ll be helping toward saving the planet!
If you enjoyed this interview, head to Kickstarter for more on The Better Project via this link, and follow TMMP via Twitter and my brand new Facebook page for more from the world of world-class music.
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