The evening before Lucie Silvas released her own lush pop project, E.G.O., she was in the audience for Beyonce and Jay Z’s headlining show at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.
But unlike many attending, Silvas decided to take a few photos, then put away her phone and let her self be immersed in the pop and R&B melodies.
“I decided to just stand there and watch, and I can remember every single element of that show,” she recalled the morning of her own E.G.O. album release on Aug. 24. “Our memories of things actually get worse the more we use our phones.”
For Silvas, like many artists, whether independent or major label-affiliated, she depends on social media as a key marketing component. Like her fellow artists, Silvas relates to having moments of struggle when it becomes easy to measure artistic worth by way of clicks, likes and retweets.
This idea of feeding off of attention is the central muse of the album’s title track, “E.G.O.”—an acronym for “Everybody Gets Off”—penned with Elise Hayes and Natalie Hemby.
“We all get caught up in this idea of ‘We have to be seen and heard.’” Silvas shared. “The platforms have opened for people to say things that people need to hear and listen to. But the flip side—and there is a flip side to everything—is the darker side of needing attention, of feeling like you are invisible if you don’t have it. That’s a very dangerous thing that I buy into a million times a day. And I hate that I do that. So this song, it’s a wink, a tounge-in-cheek thing, saying, ‘I don’t get hungry because I’m always full of myself.’ That’s how I feel when I post in Instagram. It’s so conceited and yet I’m laughing at myself at the same time, because this world is about the appearances of things. I think it’s good to lighten the mood and say there is a very funny look at this.”
Silvas calls the album, recorded at Battle Tapes, a few streets over from Silvas’ home in East Nashville, a true community effort. Natalie Hemby, Tenille Townes, Kate York, Keelan Donovan and John Osborne (Silvas’ husband and member of duo Brothers Osborne) are a few of the artists and writers who contributed to the project.
“After making the album, I realized that I made this record mostly with artists, which is eye-opening for me, because they know my heart and I know theirs.”
Donovan contributed both writing and vocals to the at once self-recriminating and pining “My Old Habits,” penned with Silvas and Daniel Tashian.
“His voice felt right for that subject matter, of falling back into terrible things you might have said you are done with. There is a very longing tone in his voice that is very rock ‘n’ roll.”
Engineer Jeremy Ferguson was brought on board after Osborne suggested she listen to new albums from The Brummies and Steelism, two projects Ferguson previously worked on.
“He was a big fan and I listened and I was blown away by the sound and the general landscape. Jeremy was this very understated and extremely knowledgeable producer and engineer and I knew that combo of him and Jon Green from the UK was going to be great.”
Silvas and Green are both UK natives that have known each other since they were teenagers. Green first introduced Silvas to the Nashville songwriter community in 2007.
“It’s a full-circle moment,” she says of having Green produce and co-write on the album. “He’s seen me go through a lot of things both musically and personally. It just brings me to the edge of tears thinking about it because it’s just friends making music. We had no constraints, no rules, just a great town with great support.”
Silvas’ voice is bold and sultry on the driving groove of album opener, “Kite,” which is also the first song Silvas penned for the album, alongside Hemby and Gabe Simon. If you got to keep her steady/She’ll blow you off like cheap confetti, she admonishes on the track. Maybe you’re down to earth but she’s gonna own the sky. “We wanted the song to be about this woman who was so fiery and ambitious and couldn’t be held down. She didn’t want her spirit to be dampened by anybody.”
The vocal Silvas recorded for the demo was so unadulterated and bold that they kept it on the final project. “It just felt so free, like ‘Ok, the record has started now.’
That self-assurance presents itself more subtly even in the breezy, soft ‘70s vibe found in “Girls From California.”
“When I’m recording a song, I like to visualize when you are. I think of it on a Santa Monica pier as the sun is going down. It’s a reflective song, saying, ‘I’m not going to necessarily be everything you want, whether it’s music or a person, but this is me and if I had the inclination to change, I would, but I won’t. It feels like a peaceful way of saying that.”
The timelessness of the track set a standard for the album. “I wanted this to be a pop record that wouldn’t age. I don’t want to copy someone who has made a beautiful record in the past—the Jackie Wilsons, and Ray Charles and Roy Orbisons. They have made perfect records that can’t be replicated so all I can do is take those influences and try to make a modern record. “Girls From California” definitely set the tone of those things.”
Following 2015’s entry Letters To Ghosts, which was largely inspired by a past romantic breakup, Silvas explores a lighter nuance to her music this time around.
“I’m at that age where I’m over trying to control or imagine where I’m going. I feel closer to my family than ever before and I think this album is a message of ‘This is what I’m doing, because it makes me happy.’ I think there is empowerment in that.”
Silvas will join Dierks Bentley’s Seven Peaks Festival in Colorado this weekend, followed by an opening slot for Cam at the Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 26. The BMG writer’s E.G.O. will be released by Downtown Music Group.
- CMA Honors Robert Deaton With Chairman’s Award - December 4, 2020
- Nashville Symphony, Nashville Musicians Association Reach Agreement - December 4, 2020
- Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” Is Most-Added On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart - December 4, 2020