Lucie Diamond is a truly exceptional and gifted country singer. Her amazing voice and song-writing abilities have catapulted her into a league of her own. Since early 2005 Lucie has achieved what many country singers can only dream of. Her debut single ‘That’s what I like about you’ went to number five in the European CMA chart and launched her into the country music scene. Since then she has had five major hits and world-wide radio airplay. She visited Nashville where her shows were packed out and she had the opportunity to work with some highly respected songwriters. In 2006 she won three awards from the European Country Music Awards, which included “Future Star Award” – a fantastic achievement for a British country singer.
She has been described as a cross between Joss Stone and LeAnn Rimes, which can only be taken as a huge compliment. Lucie is a star in her own right and I look forward to hearing about what she does next.
Lucie Diamond has her debut album out called ‘I Wanna Be Rich’ and you can listen to the tracks on www.myspace.com/luciediamond <http://www.myspace.com/luciediamond> or her website www.luciediamond.com <http://www.luciediamond.com/>
How did you get into music?
I have been singing since I was six. I had classical vocal training as a youngster, and my teacher wanted me to go into opera, as I was a little girl with a big voice. I did all the major talent contests across the UK, and won many of them; holidays, cash; recording; management contracts etc. I got onto the radio and TV as a young singer, and into the press. I was offered a major record deal when I was fourteen, but had to finish my schooling. I saw a video of Olivia Newton John in concert when I was really young, and told my family then that was what I would do one day; be up on stage singing. My sister had a Dolly Parton record when I was about twelve and I fell for country music, and the storytelling aspect of song-writing in country songs. I used to spend all my lunchtimes at school in the music room, writing songs. I performed in musicals and sang anywhere and everywhere I could. Then I got into session singing in studios to learn my trade.
Are any of your family members musical?
Not really. My sister did a drama course at college, and was in a musical. My brother and parents are not at all musical. But we all love music and there was always music playing in the house. My sister and I went to an audition once and I got it. That was with my current producer and manager, but over twelve years ago. I sang backing vocals for him and vocal coached some of his artists over the years, and signed to his management in late 2001.
You won 3 awards at the European Country Music Awards, how did you feel when they called your name?
Well, I was thrilled to be nominated, but my manager and I thought I had no chance of winning against such star-studded competition as Dolly Parton, Faith Hill and Gretchen Wilson.
So we agreed it would be a waste of time going to the awards ceremony in Spain. It was held on a Saturday in July 2006. I was in my manager's office for a meeting on the Monday afternoon and the results came in on an email. At first, he thought he was misreading it or it was the original nominations and not the results, as my name kept appearing. When he told me I had won European Artist of the Year; Female Vocalist of the Year and the ECMA Future Star award, I thought he was playing a joke on me. When I read it for myself, I actually burst into tears like a big baby! But I was overwhelmed and honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as my heroines like Dolly and Faith. I was the only British artist to win anything, and I won more awards than any other artist, including the big US stars. So it was unreal, and a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work we all put in to my music, on stage and in the studio. I am so grateful. In fact, I heard this week that I am nominated in the Song of the Year category in the 2007 European CMA awards. They have not announced the other categories yet, so I may even get other nominations. Fingers crossed. And, if my current single ‘I Wanna Be Rich’ stays at number one in the British Hotdisc country chart for an 8th week I will win an award in the UK Country Radio Awards in February next year. That would be so cool, as I am also headlining the awards ceremony event with my band.
You have spent time in Nashville writing and performing, where did you perform and who were you writing with?
I have been to Nashville three times in the last seventeen months and I am due back there again in February and March next year. I have performed at the world famous Blue Bird Cafe three times, last time a special guest of legendary songwriter Kent Blazy who is Garth Brook's main co-writer. I was invited by the CMA to be the only British artist to perform at the CMA festival this year. I have done shows and writer's rounds at most of the major venues in and around Nashville. I am performing at the annual CRS (Country Radio Seminar) in February to all the top US radio people. I co-write with some of the biggest names in Nashville, too many to list here. Several Grammy winners. My favourite co-writer is my close friend there, Joie Scott. She wrote ‘Shoes’ for Shania Twain, which was on the Desperate Housewives soundtrack. And she has had number ones including ‘Not That Different’ for country star Colin Raye. I am lucky to have some great writers asking to work with me and we come up with some cool stuff. But sometimes you just do not click with your co-writers and it either works or it doesn’t. But it is a great system in Nashville and hit songs are sometimes written literally in minutes, if the chemistry is right with the co-writers. I wrote four of the songs on my current CD and three were with Nashville writers.
You do a lot of work with the charities you are involved with, please tell us about them?
I am a "Celebrity Supporter" for BLISS, the UK's national premature baby care charity. I was a very premature baby myself, at 10.5 weeks early and weighed less than 3lbs. I was very ill and my parents were told I had a 50-50 chance. When I did survive, I was tiny and was in dolls clothes at a year old. Doctors said I would have a special gift as a premature baby survivor. I am an Ambassador for the humanitarian organisations The Mineseeker Foundation and Sole of Africa. I have just come back from South Africa and Mozambique, where my fact-finding visit was being filmed for various US and Canadian TV documentaries. I also do the occasional show/appearance for other charity causes, privately.
When you are on tour what are four things you always take with you?
My band. Ear plugs for the hotel. Lemon tea bags or I have fresh lemons in my dressing room, and hot water. Dictaphone for recording song lyrics or ideas.
If you had to organise your ideal line up for a concert featuring any musicians/artists who would be your top five?
That is a tough one. There are many. Gospel great Mahalia Jackson. Aretha Franklin, who I had the honour of meeting in her dressing room last year in Milwaukee after a show. Stevie Wonder. My friend and the legendary guitarist Albert Lee. The Tower of Power rhythm and horn sections. Then the greats of country like Dolly, Faith, etc. It is impossible to choose just five.
What do you like to do when you have time off?
Chill out by an open fire. Pyjamas on. Listen to music, but not mine! I cannot listen to my own stuff outside of a recording studio. Cold glass of white wine or better still champagne if it is a special occasion.
Scruffy hair and no makeup. Peace and quiet in the English countryside. Read the papers. Watch movies or the soaps on TV. A nice hot bath and candles. Just try to switch off and forget everything. But I travel a lot and rarely get time at home to relax. If I am at home I am songwriting, practicing my vocals, catching up on emails, calling friends and family, preparing for the next trip.
Was your debut album ‘I Wanna Be Rich’ recorded in the UK?
The album took so long to get right. We recorded eight tracks in Nashville and four in the UK for ‘I Wanna Be Rich’. It includes a duet with the wonderful Delbert McClinton and a track with my friend Albert Lee playing on it. Plus some of the biggest A-list musicians in Nashville. I am very proud of the album and thrilled I got some of my own songs on there.
What are your plans for next year?
I am going to be very busy. Lots of touring overseas and the UK. Writing new songs for the next CD. Lots of media promotion of the current CD. Going back to Africa to help a children's mission and a big charity concert there for the landmines cause. Developing my vocals and song-writing. I have some great shows, next year including a stadium gig headlining a festival in Lithuania in August, with national TV filming it. There are negotiations for a US tour opening for a major artist, and shows in New Zealand. I am longing to visit and perform in Australia, where I get good airplay on the radio and I have many fans who are always asking me when I am coming. My management deal with all the business stuff and what I am going to be doing with my time. I just get told where I have to be, turn up and sing!