Growing up near Remuera — where carefree Kiwi summer holidays were spent eating ice-creams at Mission Bay, strolling along the beach, and playing in the great outdoors with cousins — Lucie Silvas’ chosen career path couldn’t have seemed further from reality.
The way the dream has evolved is not something she would have even considered, let alone believe was a possibility.
Raised between Auckland and England, the singer-songwriter is now taking America by storm as part of a new generation of musicians succeeding in the tough world of the country charts.
While she was first launched onto the British pop scene in the early 2000s, selling more than 1.5 million albums in Europe, she’s spent the past few years writing and learning.
After a break from the spotlight, she’s now back firing on all cylinders with the release of her third studio album, Letters To Ghosts.
Drawing on the blues, country, pop, Motown and rock vibes that surround her new home of Nashville, Tennessee, she has developed a sound that’s captivating the world of roots music.
With an army of famous friends championing her talent, radio play on US stations, and support tours lined up with industry chart toppers, this is her time to shine.
She’s hit the road with everyone from Kacey Musgraves and Tom Jones, to Daughtry, James Bay and Skrillex.
She’s writing with country queen Miranda Lambert, is married to John Osborne (one half of Grammy-nominated, Brothers Osborne), been named by CMT as a Listen Up/Artist to Watch for 2016, and included as a spotlight artist on Spotify.
“I never saw myself as a country artist, but it’s a really huge and exciting genre that deserves to be seen around the world, not just in America.”
The 2012 decision to move 4000 miles away from London was not made easily, but one that certainly changed her life.
“I ended up going for four weeks and thought, ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I didn’t know anyone, and then when I got here, I didn’t want to leave.”
After trips backwards and forwards to the UK, she made the move to Music City permanently.
“It just opened my eyes to so many things. You’re in the thick of it around all this new music and I got to see so much heart and soul.”
But while America is fuelling her creativity right now, she remains forever inspired by the special years of her youth, growing up as a Kiwi.
Her father was born in London, but raised in New Zealand, so it was family and work opportunities that first brought the Silvas’ to the other side of the world.
Settling near Remuera at eight, she was enrolled at Kadimah College, and has the fondest of childhood memories.
“It felt like freedom growing up there, it felt special.”
The dream sadly didn’t last long, however, when the family relocated back to the UK. For a girl just hitting her teens, this proved to be a distressing experience.
“I had a hard time with my first school. My Kiwi accent was really strong, and I felt like an outsider. I missed Auckland, and the more laid back way of life. Time helped though. You adapt and make friends. As kids, it made us open-minded, adaptable people.”
Lucie’s family is still in Auckland, providing magnificent homegrown support as they champion her career from afar.
Her down-to-earth attitude has meant her approach to Letters To Ghosts, has been solely built around passion, and a very real desire to produce meaningful and authentic art.
Without label support, the album was born thanks to friends lending their musical talent, a dedicated manager, and a distribution contact.
She refuses to get caught up in the hype of the industry, rather choosing how she releases her work and carefully managing her media exposure. She focuses on what’s important, rather than seeking fame for the wrong reasons.
“I let go more, and feel the joy of it again. I do things because I want to, they feel right, and make me happy, nothing more.”
In February, Lucie had the proud moment of accompanying John to the 58th Grammy Awards, as his band was nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
While just pipped at the post by country super group, Little Big Town, the couple certainly valued the experience.
A tight unit, they provide much-needed support for each other, as both had long careers preceding success in the mainstream.
“This business can be demanding and inconsistent. We’re just enjoying our lives and keeping our heads in the right place, as best we can.”
As her career blossoms in a world so far removed from the lifestyle she grew up in, Lucie remains refreshingly grounded, approaching her career with authenticity and grace.
This can all be attributed to her close family, friends, surroundings and upbringing.
From the richness and sweet southern inspiration of her adopted home in Nashville, and the foundations of the UK, to the carefree and spirited days of her youth in New Zealand, it has all had a major impact on her current success.
“New Zealand, to me, is still a place where it’s a little separate from the world and a very peaceful place in my head. We weren’t in New Zealand that long, but because of my big family over there, and the experiences we had it felt like a lifetime. It feels like a second home, to this day.”