Singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas pours her heart into her songs, and it’s paid off. Silvas, 41, will open for nine-time Grammy award-winning singer and Missouri native Sheryl Crow and rock band Heart when they come to St. Louis on July 9.
Silvas has written for artists such as Katharine McPhee and Australian singer Delta Goodrem while also making time for her own music: creating four albums and touring the globe.
Silvas, born in Kingston upon Thames, England, to a Jewish father and Christian mother, spent her childhood moving around. Her family hopped between cities and countries, living for a while in her father’s native New Zealand, where Silvas attended the Jewish Kadimah day school, then known as Kadima College. They ultimately moved back to England and settled in Surrey when Silvas was 13.
But through it all, Silvas made music. She started piano at 5 years old and wrote her first song by age 10. When Silvas was 14, she finished third in a Jewish Care Young Performer competition.
In her teens, Silvas joined fellow Jews in a band that played at weddings and b’nai mitzvot. One bandmate, Jon Green, has made it big: He’s a singer, songwriter and producer who has written for artists including Ed Sheeran, 5 Seconds of Summer and Phillip Phillips.
After attending Brooklands College in England, Silvas sang backing vocals for British singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke, who helped Silvas write her debut album, “Breathe In.” After her second album, “The Same Side,” released in 2006, Silvas moved to Nashville. where she met her now-husband John Osborne, one half of country music duo Brothers Osborne.
Since moving to the United States, Silvas has kept busy. In addition to writing songs for big name artists like McPhee, she penned tracks for NBC’s musical drama “Smash” in 2013. She also joined Miranda Lambert as a backing vocalist on Lambert’s 2016 album “The Weight of These Wings.”
And Silvas came out with two more albums: “Letters to Ghosts,” released in 2015, and “E.G.O,” released last year. Former bandmate Green co-produced “E.G.O.” with Silvas, bringing their music-making story full circle.
The Jewish Light asked Silvas about her tour, her music and her personal life.
How do you feel about coming to St. Louis?
It’s one of those cities that’s very romanticized for me because when you’re a kid growing up in New Zealand and England, there are certain cities you always hear about. The fact that I’m coming there now to play with Heart and Sheryl Crow is pretty crazy to me. There’s a real novelty to it.
How would you describe your sound?
I thought it was a little bit vintage swagger. It’s got an old feel to it. It’s got some of the music I loved growing up, ’60s and ’70s, whether it’s Carole King or Beach Boys or Roy Orbison. And then it has a contemporary feel to it. It’s my modern take on some of the older music that I grew up on. And it’s certainly what you would consider “indie pop” because it doesn’t fit in any one genre like all my favorite artists. Even Sheryl Crow was so soulful and then had that rock tinge to her and a pop tinge to her. To me, my music is just my music. It’s identifiable as me and nobody else.
What inspires your songs?
Everything inspires them. “Letters to Ghosts” was inspired by a lot of heartbreak, a lot of self-deprecation, a lot of learning about the mistakes I’ve made and finding my way out of that storm. When I look at “E.G.O.,” the current album, there’s a lot of humor in it, a lot of self-reflection on where I’m at. I’m older than I was when I put that record out. I see things slightly differently. I see myself differently.
What is your biggest challenge with the songwriting process?
The challenge is saying what you mean to say. And that sounds like it would be simple, but it really isn’t because creativity sometimes wants to come out, and sometimes it doesn’t. You can go in and write a song, but most songwriters write hundreds and hundreds of songs per year, and they can pick a handful out where they think, ‘OK, I said what I meant to say there, and I meant what I said.’ That’s those magic moments, and the challenge of it is not pushing too hard because that takes the authenticity away.”
How does your Judaism influence your music?
(Judaism has) come in and out of my life in different ways, bringing me the people that I still have to this day, Jon Green being the prime example of that. He was the first musician I ever met, and here he is still in my life. He brought me to Nashville, and I have quite a lot of Jewish friends in Nashville, and I play music with them.
Why did you want to move to the United States from England?
I sometimes check myself and go, “Wow, I feel very British today.” They do have a temperament that’s different from Americans. But one thing that really drew me to any American that I met when I’d come and visit was just this feeling of fearlessness and this unapologetic thing of going after things you want. They do it bigger and better in America. They just go for it. And that’s the impression I had when I was a kid. It felt like a long-fulfilling dream that I had, moving to the States.
What is it like for you and your husband, who is also an accomplished musician, to make music and tour? Is there ever competition or collaboration?
I’m very inspired by him. Sometimes we collaborate and sometimes we don’t, but we observe the way each other operates. We understand what each other is going through at any given moment. We understand the craziness of this industry and what it takes to stay at it. We talk each other down when things get really tricky, because this is a 24/7 business.
Opening for Sheryl Crow and Heart
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9
WHERE: Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights
MORE INFO: Visit http://bit.ly/HCA-STL