Rated as one of the top new bands of 2013 in UK MusicWeek, we caught up with Frankie and Sera from Unsung Lilly and asked them a bunch of questions, here's how it went….
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence…. Frankie: Hello! We are Unsung Lilly and our music is quirky/pop with a pinch of almost every genre from our many influences. We have even been likened to a modern day Fleetwood Mac.
How did you come up with the name Unsung Lilly? Sera: Well I am really into ancestry..and a while ago I was trying to research into my family history. I wanted to find where my creative/musical side came from as most of my family on both sides are more business-orientated. I discovered my great-grandmother, Lilly, who was an artist and musician, and was very talented but didn’t really do much with it as she was committed to being a wife and mother. One day she found her husband cheating on her and she was so hurt and upset that she died there and then of an asthma attack. People say she ‘died of a broken heart’...I just thought that was such a sad story and wanted to use the name in tribute to her.
Can you explain the ‘Just Be’ Campaign? Sera: Well a while ago we released our song ‘Just Be’ and its all about overcoming the pressures from the media about the way we look, and be in general. We had a great response from people all over the world, saying they were inspired by the song...so we decided to launch an indie gogo campaign to crowdfund us travelling across the US doing ‘self-esteem’ based music workshops. Using music to build people’s confidence.
We have just found out that Stevie Wonder’s charity ‘Better Vision For Children’ want to team up with us and will be getting involved too, which is so exciting!!
We’re trying to raise the funds to do it though so we need everyone to contribute, even if its just a few dollars/pounds! www.JustBeCampaign.com you can buy all sorts of things on the site.
How does INDIE GOGO actually work, what does a band or musician need to do? Frankie: It's really easy to get involved with indiegogo. As long as you have a project you believe in and you think others will believe in too then there's no stopping you! Just head to their website and it is very clear where to go from there. They are really great at keeping in contact to try and help push the project. But you have to work for it! Its not just a website that gives you money, you have to be committed to your project and work hard with indiegogo in order to succeed :)
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Sera: We all love classic stuff… We constantly listen to stuff like Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison, Carpenters etc… so anything like that would be awesome.
Frankie: I can't really pick one although I would love to go back to the days when the only way to record was onto tape, Such an amazing, real and live sound was created.
Who would you recommend that Musicmuso readers should look out for in 2014? Sera: We did a gig with a very cool rock/blues band called The Temperance Movement last Summer, and have now got their album and its awesome! They were really really great live...Also we have some great friends in the industry doing fantastic stuff at the moment - check out Alex Louise, Steve Rodgers, Paul Diello, Tigerlight....
First gig you ever went to?
Sera: I’m proud to say it was Take That!! I loved them when I was a kid... I know its nothing like the music we do now, but I did learn loads from their live shows - in my opinion they put on the best live music shows I’ve ever seen. It was quite hard to be satisfied seeing anyone else after that when I was used to Giant Robots, Huge walking elephants and crazy dance routines! :) Sometimes I make Frankie watch the live DVDs with me, and it makes me cry because its just SO good!!
Frankie: If we glaze over Blazin' Squad...remember them? Then the first big gig I ever went to, like Sera, was a boy band called Westlife, you might have heard of them. I didn't know Sera at the time but it must have just been popular to go and see boy bands back then :) I would like to find out one day how they influenced the songwriting.
Do you have a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Frankie: Of course ;)
Sera: Well we went through a stage of buying loads and loads of old vinyl, so I have some pretty crazy albums which I just bought because it was cheap but looked cool...But you know what, each and every one has its place and if I get drunk enough I’d probably enjoy listening to any of them! hehe
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before? Sera: They all rock :)
‘Happy’, your first single was played worldwide, can you explain the feeling to hear your work being played to a worldwide audience? Frankie: What an amazing feeling, to have people from the other side of the world getting in contact about the song, saying how much they love it and how much it's effecting their lives in a positive way. That is what we set out to do and to know that we wrote a song which is having that effect around the world is priceless :)
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from? Sera: Well, the thing about the music industry is everyone has their opinion about how you do things, so you get a lot of advice! I think the advice I liked the best is to just be ourselves and when the music industry tries to fit you into a ‘box’, stay true to ourselves. A music lawyer we met in Hollywood told us that, I don’t even know his name but it came at a time when we were getting pulled this way and that and it was a good reminder to just do what we do and feel good about it!
You are signed with Bentlys records, how did this come about? Sera: Bentlys Records are a small and new label who have invested in our first album and our development! We’re so grateful and they have been so brilliant - such a fantastic support! They are run by people who just love music and wanted to be involved in making it, which is the best kind of label I think!
First record you ever bought?
Sera: Hmm. This is awkward. I think it may have been Right Said Fred.
Frankie: Ha Shania Twain...love a bit of Country/Pop
Explain what an Unsung Lilly live performance is like? Frankie: Just a great feeling to be onstage, big or small, surrounded by your best mates having fun doing what we all love doing. We're very lucky.
What does music mean to you? Sera: Music is what words sound like :) Also we were talking the other day about how music is just ‘in’ you… it's a little bit like being Gay, Bi or Straight, being a musician is not really a choice but its just the way we are, and we couldn’t really be anything other than musicians without feeling very unfulfilled.
Have you had any ‘Spinal Tap’ Moments? If yes, please share! Sera: Always!!! Being a musician is like one long Spinal Tap movie....
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned? Sera: We believe that everyone has the right to cross a road, or do anything for that matter, without being harshly judged or criticised. Sad times for Chickens right now but we live in hope that things will get better for them ;)
We gave the girls a much needed rest prior to rattling on with the all important 'Quickfire' questions….
Coffee or Tea? Both of us drink neither actually! Its vodka all the way... haha.... or maybe water? ;)
Coke or Pepsi? Both are very successful brands and given the way the music industry is going lately (most of the money being funded by big brands) we wouldn’t want to choose between such fine corporations!! (and are willing to be endorsed by either - call us Coke/Pepsi reps and we’ll discuss!!)
Mac or PC? Mac, always
Fry up/Sunday Roast? Roast!
CD or Vinyl? VINYL!
Car or Motorbike? Tricky....car?
Shower or Bath? Depends what mood
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos!
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? De Niro
God or Google? Both are probably just as powerful as each other ;)
So there you have it folks, all the information you could possibly wish for about Unsung Lilly, we especially liked the fact that Frankie admitted to seeing Blazin' Squad as her first gig (I can't talk, my first gig was Gary Glitter at Cornwall Colliseum), anyway, you've read this far, please spend a few minutes checking out their social media pages….
Tues 1st April 2014 - Online gig - Stage-it! 10.30p.m
Sun 6th April 2014 - Sunday Sound Lounge Festival - 3p.m - Merton Abbey Mills
Mon 14th April 2014 - Sync Summit Paris - venue TBA
Wed 16th April 2014 - Proud Camden, London - Free entry if you go on our guest list - email us!
Sat 19th April 2014 - Brighton - venue TBA
Sun 20th April 2014 - London - venue TBA
Fri 9th May 2014 - Seven Stars Brighton - (Acoustic set)
Fri 16th May 2014 - Seven Stars Brighton (full band set)
Interview by Mark Wincott.