Lucy Dacus on the sale of the Ritz, her tears on stage and why she feels connected to Raleigh
When Lucy Dacus logged on to our Zoom call in late August, she was strolling through a quaint German town, the phone perched in her hand as she stretched her legs. It was a rare quiet moment for the 27-year-old singer-songwriter, who is currently on a world tour in support of his 2021 album, home videoa record that had outlets ranging from The New York Times at rolling stone naming it as one of the best of the year.
Despite all his recent successes, Dacus is only at the beginning of his career. She recently released a new single, “Kissing Lessons,” as well as a widely shared cover of Cher’s “Believe”; her work in supergroup boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker continues to earn accolades, and fan enthusiasm for her work is so high that the musician’s upcoming show on October 3 in Raleigh has necessitated a move from intimate Lincoln Theater at the most fearsome Ritz.
Before the highly anticipated show, the INDIA spoke with Dacus about his touring rituals, his activism and why Raleigh will always hold a special place in his heart.
INDY WEEK: You are currently on the European leg of your home video round. How is it going?
LUCY DACUS: It was really great. I feel like every time we come here, it gets better and better. I know the internet exists, but we played in Helsinki in front of a group of people, and it was still crazy that people in Helsinki knew my music. I feel very lucky to be able to do this.
You grew up near Richmond, Virginia. Do you know the Raleigh area?
We played concerts there that I remember very well. Raleigh is actually the city where I discovered that Matador [Records] was interested in signing me. So I remember walking around and saying, “My life could change” and then it totally happened [laughs]. So, what good associations.
Do you have anything specific planned for the Raleigh show?
The opening band, Crooks and Nannies, are good friends of ours and are just starting to release music, but I’m lucky to have heard it and know it’s great.
Some of that band and some of my band had a quarantine band in my basement called Cars 2, and we could play some of our secret unreleased Cars 2 tracks together at the gigs. I don’t know what yet, but we both joked and got serious about it.
You had to change venue to the Ritz because the tickets sold out. How did you feel when you heard this news?
Oh my God. I was like, “What, really?” It was so quick for a venue to sell out. And if it sold out, that means people are thrilled, so I’m looking forward to the show even more than most.
In the past, you’ve donated concert proceeds and merchandise to pro-choice groups. Will you continue to do this or similar activism work with your upcoming shows?
I actually have a call right after with someone from the Working Families Party. I think my values align a lot with theirs, and I’m going to ask them what the local elections are for our cities on this tour and if there are people they support. The other thing that really excites me is that hopefully at each stop on the tour there will be a local indigenous organization to do proper land recognition and talk about local initiatives and issues and collect money. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. So hopefully both will be up for the Raleigh show.
How has your relationship to your music changed during your tours?
It’s a cycle. It’s been a long time since we played “Please Stay”, because I was like, I just don’t like putting people down like that. But recently, it feels like some people are showing up because they want to hear this song, and it feels important, so we’re playing it more. I also like “Timefighter”, because the vocal tracks are a bit more to my liking. Be like, “Oh, oh, oh” [laughs]. But a lot of people like it, and it’s really fun live.
You are clearly open to letting the fans take over.
My guitarist will sometimes look up my name on Twitter and see if people are asking for songs, then I’ll make a note. ‘Cause I’ve been to tons of gigs where I’m at, I hope they play this song, and then they won’t, and then you’ll walk away a little disappointed. So yeah, if people have any recommendations, tweet about it.
You’ve had a huge year and a half between the album release, touring, TV and festival performances, and more. Looking back, what moment did you find most surreal?
Our first show out of COVID, we were opening for Shakey Graves, who I’m a big fan of, at Red Rocks, where I’ve always wanted to play. I just cried, not in a cute, dainty way, but, like, cried horribly, so much that by the end of “Night Shift,” I was like, “I can’t do this, you do. all.” and I just asked the crowd to sing it for me. My band came over and hugged me, and I just went backstage afterwards and cried and cried. There were a lot of surreal moments, but it was a really wild way to kick it all off.
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