Lucy Tun is about to hit your radar

7 mins
06 Sep 2023
Lucy Tun is about to hit your radar

The British Burmese experimental pop artist is soon to drop her debut EP Unreal

words Rhys Thomas

The British Burmese experimental pop artist is set to drop a debut EP called Unreal this Autumn. It’s been a long time coming, Lucy first started making music when she was seven, her parents insisting she learn piano. “At 11 I was probably writing the most I ever have in my life, I was writing like a song a day. And I always kept making music from there, though I’d never show anyone.” The next decade and a bit saw Lucy up at three in the morning writing songs, eventually getting to a point where she decided to release some, during her time as an Economics with Burmese student at SOAS, under the name LCYTN.

Now Lucy Tun, who thought she was a Pisces for years but is actually “an Aquarius sun, Scorpio moon, Aquarius rising, Pisces... mars? I'm trying to remember my co star” writes songs under the name Lucy Tun. Her name. The process has marked a checkpoint for her, moving from thinking about making music professionally to doing so. Externally, you could argue the name change signifies artistry going from a creative outlet to an entire lifestyle. “It’s been a push and pull between having dreams and making them reality. That change, or journey, is what this EP is about.” She says.

The journey Lucy’s been on started at the end of University. “I was in a really dark place where I felt very confused. I was doing a lot of great things, but there was something in me that felt stuck but in lots of different places at once. I felt very alone.” Lucy says. There was an irony to being stifled by being alone. Lucy had always made her music in private, save a little help from her brother on guitar in the earliest days. To this day, she finds it difficult to let people into the creative process “I find having lots of people there overwhelming” she explains, though also part of her has begun to embrace “differences, like the way the producer totally changes a song and in doing so improves it.”

Lucy’s preference for working in a more introverted manner came through habit. “The only milestone my life had been getting a good degree. Nothing else mattered. Then I was shat out and I had no idea what was next, other than music” she says, adding that she felt a sense of hopelessness due to pop artists having large teams behind them whereas if she was to make it, she would have to do things alone. Preferably at three in the morning. But eventually, the change occurred.

“I came to a realisation that if I wanted to do something in music I'd have to do it alone. I realised I wouldn't be able to survive in this industry unless I really went for it alone and forgot about what everyone else had. Changing my name really helped with that. It was like a checkpoint for me.”

In the last year or so, the rise has been rapid. She made her debut live performance at All Points East, as you do, and signed to Platoon (owned by Apple Inc.) for her debut EP project. The single ‘Kulture Klub’, released in January this year hit no.2 in the UK charts. On Spotify, there’s over 132,000 monthly listeners, and excluding remixes, only half a dozen released songs. Her family love what she does and are very supportive.

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The year has a little of a main character moment to it, and while Lucy feels like that’s done now, for fans there’s still plenty of the chapter to emerge. It’s a strange fragmentation between people who create things and those who consume it. Half of Unreal hasn’t been released, and it’s different to the songs that have been.

Though the tracklist order might still change, Lucy says this is intentional. “I released Kulture Klub and ADHD because I wanted to start off with something big, poppy, and fun. Feedback from the first few songs has been like "oh it's a bit corny, but it's cute." Or "this is like, so good for TikTok and outfit changes"’ she says, quite seriously, but not in such a way that waters down the success for her. “People see the music and me as fun and lighthearted, which I really love. I am very fun. But I think that the EP and the music will get deeper as time goes on. I wanted to ease people into it, I guess.”

Much of the deepness is evident in the journey Lucy has been on, those moments of struggle, denial, being unsure about who you are and what you want to do with your life; knowing what you want to do with your life but not being able to quite make it happen. Existential questions that whirr around the brain and keep us all up at night. For Lucy there was also the issue of channelling her ADHD into the creative endeavour.

“ADHD the song is a collection of notes I've written at points in my life where I'm really stressed. I get stressed with travelling a lot. When I'm late for something and I can't do anything about it, for example, and I just have to sit on the train and wait for the train to get to the stop. A lot of the time I write out the feelings, and that helps me get through it. ADHD the song is just that.” Sonically, the song is consciously tapping into the myriad thoughts, ideas and influences whizzing through her brain at any one time. “I try to document everything and I know I never can, plus constantly note-taking isn’t exactly conducive to ADHD” she says.

This Lucy, the Lucy who has gone through reinvention and is now on the other side, with an EP ready to drop which documents the journey, is at the face of a new chapter. You wonder if there’d be trepidation, another: I accomplished the thing I wanted to do, now what? But this time, Lucy is feeling good. “It feels great to be able to say that what I do is make music, though some people laugh at you like "oh you make music? Cute!" I get it, but like, as long as you know what you're doing and what path you're on nothing else matters.” She says.

You could equate this to the talent for having talent, the drive in someone that says, you know what? I might just go out and do this thing I’ve been dreaming of doing, and I’m going to make it happen. I am going to allow myself to let my talent shine. It would appear, Lucy not only has bags of talent as a producer, songwriter, and musician, but she’s well on her way to even bigger things. She’s reluctant to fully agree.

“I don't think I've figured everything out yet. I’m mostly taking it as it comes. But in the back of my head, I'm like, I know, I'm going to do really great things. Even if, I don't do really great things, I'm always going to have that in the back of my head. Because I feel like that is important, you have to cheer for yourself first and foremost. But in the end, whatever happens, happens.”

Lucy Tun’s debut EP Unreal will be out on Platoon November 10

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