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No one can ever say singer Lucy Rose doesn't care about her fans. The U.K.-based singer and songwriter doesn't just respond to their emails and chat after performances — she stays at their houses. In a mini-documentary released alongside her third studio album, Something's Changing, Rose completes an entire South American tour playing free gigs booked by her fans, sleeping in their family homes or on the floors of their studio apartments. But in the music video for "Strangest of Ways," premiering exclusively on Refinery29, she had a chance to return the favor.
The video features a fan named Zoe, who approached Rose after one of her shows and revealed that she has a Chronic Fatigue illness. Zoe was inspired by the documentary, but thought her illness would prevent her from having a similar adventure. That's when Rose decided to invite her to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the video for "Strangest Of Ways" was born.
"To be honest, my initial response was something akin to terror," Zoe said. "I also have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also known as Aspergers, and anxiety, and the idea was very far outside my comfort zone. But in many ways, the fact that it terrified me so much is what made me say yes. My illnesses have taken so much from me, and here was this opportunity to do something amazing — and more than that, an opportunity to prove to myself that I could have a crazy, wonderful adventure exactly as I am. I wasn't about to let my illnesses take that from me too."
Ahead we spoke to Lucy Rose about her experience filming with Zoe, and how her recent adventures have changed how she approaches her music — and also her whole life.
How familiar were you with chronic illnesses like this before the video?
"I would say I was pretty familiar, I’ve sadly had friends close to me suffer from chronic diseases. I think this helped me have a better understanding for Zoe and make it easier to talk about things which aren’t always easy to talk about. I was very lucky in the fact that she opened up so much to me over the days we spent together and she taught me so much."
What was the experience like filming with Zoe? How did you spend the day?
"It was a four day adventure, the first and last were spent traveling, driving and flying. I must say the special assistance services at both airports were amazing and made it as stress free as possible getting on and off the planes. When we landed in Belfast there was a snow storm, I was driving and Zoe was co-pilot. We spent two days at a hotel right by giants causeway, so we had plenty time to take in the sights and lots of rest time as well. With something as strenuous as this, we knew Zoe would need lots of time to rest in her room, which made it the most relaxing and enjoyable video shoot I’ve ever done. We took our time and did whatever felt right. It was just the four of us, Ed (who filmed), my husband Will who helped so much, and me and Zoe. We had lots of lovely lunches, dinners and hang out times in between filming and enjoying Giants Causeway."
Do you have a favorite memory or shot from the video?
"I have so many great memories, watching Zoe get out of [her] wheelchair for a few minutes to stand on the rocks at the bottom of giants causeway will always stay with me. Both laughing so much as we descended the steep hill on the way towards the causeway, as I clung onto the brakes on the wheelchair and they squealed the whole way down."
How did you feel when the day was over?
"Both days we visited the causeway I was so exhilarated when we got back to the hotel and the day was finishing. I felt a deep connection and understanding to Zoe and her feelings of being surrounded by nature, in the wild and how it makes her feel as I feel exactly the same. There’s no feeling like being somewhere as epic as giants causeway and in those moments while you are taking it in all your worries and problems leave you and you realise the true beauty of the world."
Has this experience changed how you approach your life and music?
"It’s definitely given me a new perspective that I didn’t have before. I felt like my documentary about my travels in Latin America could be relatable to anyone, I had naively never thought about how unattainable it would make someone feel depending on their health and circumstances. Something I should have known but was too wrapped up in my emotions to have realised it. I’m sure I’ll approach music and life differently now with new insight."
How important is travel to your well-being and art?
"Traveling has always been a huge part of my life since I started doing music 10 years ago when I was 18. I’ve nearly always been on the road, singing with other bands or doing my own thing so that feeling of being away and exploring the world has always had its place in my music. I guess touring in so many countries, not just in Latin America but India, South East Asia and across Europe has given me a perspective on the world and people and an better understanding for my music and why pursuing my art is important no matter what. If it’s helped one person it’s worth doing. But generally traveling is good for the soul and should be done as much as possible."
A lot of your Something's Changing documentary was about your relationship with your fans, would you say your relationship with them has gotten stronger since that trip? Do you think it will change how you make music in the future?
"For me, having a direct relationship with my fans has always been important. I’m so insecure and unconfident in my music, selfishly I’ve always needed that direct connection and support from fans to have the encouragement to continue. Whenever I feel like the path is getting narrower and harder to continue I think of a person I met to whom my music matters and reassure myself that someone out there does want to hear these songs, so keep writing. And now I’m in such a lucky position that I have friends in so many cities around the world, touring can be quite a lonely experience at times and now it never is."
Do you plan on doing anything similar in other areas of the world?
"In every place I go to, I’ll meet fans before or after the show and if we’re all free grab drinks or lunch and invite them to where I’m going so we can hang out. My next tour in North America which starts in March I’ll be living with fans for the whole month, one of which lives on a navy base so it’s always new and exciting."