The singer-songwriter talks love, loss and nudity

BY ROXY BOURDILLON

I’ve seen Lots Holloway captivate a crowded pub with her sublime vocals, I’ve watched her win over a worse-for-wear Sunday rabble at the DIVA Women’s Music Festival with her rock star charisma, but I’ve never heard her sing like she does on her new single, Be Naked. The thing with Lots is she’s always had the talent and the magnetism, but now she’s offering rapt listeners something more, a piece of herself she’d previously kept under lock and key. This new willingness to be emotionally vulnerable and heartbreakingly honest means her latest track isn’t just brilliant, it’s blinding. She’s finally ready to share herself with you, and – trust me – you’re going to want to listen.

DIVA: I love your new song, Be Naked. It feels much more personal than your previous releases.

LOTS HOLLOWAY: In the past, I’ve avoided writing about me. I know why I do it. I wrote a song when I was 14, the first song I’d ever written. I played it to some friends and family and everyone asked, “Is that how you feel?” I felt incredibly exposed and vulnerable. I thought, I’m not gonna do that anymore.

So what changed?

All these songs started to come out. I was churning them out like a fountain. Then I was like, maybe I should just blow all the boundaries I’ve ever made for myself and put out music that speaks from the soul. It’s a new chapter where I’m just breaking all my boundaries and giving myself completely. It actually feels really good.

What was the catalyst for your new approach?

I didn’t realise the catalyst until it was too late. My girlfriend and I recently broke up. I started writing those songs in this period. I don’t talk about my emotions; that’s not ideal in a relationship. She was going through some stuff she couldn’t put her finger on. The combination of those two things ended up with us pushing each other apart.

I’m really sorry to hear that.

She didn’t know what it was to begin with. The symptoms of depression: you’re uninterested in things you used to be interested in, you’re quite cold, you’re tired all the time, you’re very closed. You push away people close to you, because you don’t want to hurt them. She explained it as a horrible grey fog where she couldn’t see me. It’s really sad looking back, because I could have dealt with it in a different way. The moral of the story is, from my point of view, you should talk about the way you feel. From her point of view, there’s nothing wrong with feeling a certain way. You should talk about it to save a relationship and, more importantly, save yourself.

How long were you together?

Just shy of eight years. Our anniversary would have been in March. 

Was she your first love?

She’s been my only love. I didn’t have a partner before her. But I’m a very optimistic person. Life is good now. Everything happens for a reason.

You’re releasing your new material independently. How difficult is it to carve out a career as a singer without the backing of a label?

I feel like I have no rules. I feel like Dua Lipa right now – she had new rules, I’ve got no rules! I can do literally whatever I want when I want, release something, put out a video or a contest. There’s all these ideas.

You seem to have a very direct relationship with your fans on social media.

Yeah, I do. On Twitter earlier I said, “Shall I delete it, or how should I utilise it?” And someone said, “You could always send nudes.”

Haha. You do post a fair few topless selfies.

I don’t often wear a top when I’m in my house. I like being free.

So apart from liking selfies, what can people do to support independent artists like you?

Spotify plays a massive part. People putting songs in their playlists and following independent artists is a huge help and a stepping stone.

You’re in a really exciting new phase of your career. What’s your ultimate dream?

It used to be, when I was younger, being signed to a label, having a number one song. I don’t have those dreams anymore. Not that I don’t want a number one song, but what I really want to do is travel. I want a fanbase strong enough that I can travel the world and have a decent sized crowd. I love a small crowd. I love 50 people. I love 5000 people!

Last question: what advice would you give your teenage self?

Stick to your damn guns! My gut instinct has always been right, but I’ve betrayed it a lot of times. I’m not doing that anymore and I feel great.

Listen to Be Naked now on Spotify and see Lots live at The Camden Chapel on 25 April 2019 – tickets available here.

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