Depending on the kindness of strangers has never bothered British singer-songwriter Lucy Rose. At 18, she was ushered into London’s thriving folk-rock scene by benefactor Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club renown. She fit right in. After releasing her 2012 debut “Like I Used to Be,” she overheard Jam/Style Council founder Paul Weller praising it on BBC radio; the two gradually became such good friends, he picked her as the opening act, and encore duet partner, for his recent U.S. tour. But before she cut her latest third album — the chiming “Something’s Changing” — she found surprising new friends she never knew she had.
In 2016, you made an intriguing career move, right?
At the end of my second record, I was a bit lost. There was all this press and hype, and I toured it in the U.K. and Europe, and I remember the label going, “All right, that’s it — better get ready for the next one.” And I thought, “Is it just dead? Did it not get anywhere or mean anything to anybody?” So my husband Will and I just wanted to go traveling to South America and Mexico. But then I started noticing all these tweets from fans in places we were thinking about going, asking me to come and play. So I thought maybe I could do both.
But there was a problem?
Yeah, I couldn’t get any agent to book a gig. So I thought, “Surely there are bars and little cafes that I could play. I just need help finding them.” So then I did the call-out, saying, “I’m traveling anyway; if you want me to come to your town, find me some venue that’s free admission, and also let me stay with you.” I got this crazy amount of kind responses, from all over Latin America. So I plotted a rough routing and organized the whole thing myself, and was living with my fans for the next eight weeks.
Did you travel light?
Will and I had a backpack each, plus my guitar and a camera so we could film it. And we expected real small-timey gigs, like one person and their friends and family. But at my second show in Lima, there were 900 people lining up to get into a 300-capacity venue. And Brazil was similar — they shut down a whole street in Sao Paolo because 1,200 people came to see me playing in a shop window. I went back for a properly booked tour; after my new record came out, the first place I wanted to play was Latin America. All the people I met there gave me the courage to believe in myself again.
IF YOU GO
Where: Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. March 7
Tickets: $16 to $18
Contact: (415) 431-7578, www.eventbrite.com
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