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Blues star Lucy Zirins is in the pink
John Anson meets Burnley singer songwriter Lucy Zirins who at just 21 has been voted Best Young Artist in the British Blues Awards
LUCY Zirins’ pale blue eyes sparkle as she recalls the moment that could have changed her life forever.
Last month, at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne, hometown girl Lucy was voted Best Young Artist in the British Blues Awards.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I got up to go on stage and I just went all wobbly. To know that so many people had voted for me was amazing.”
As well as taking the young artist award – shared with Dan Owen – Lucy was also nominated in the album of the year category for her debut release Chasing Clocks and as female vocalist of the year.
At just 21, the former head girl at Burnley’s Shuttleworth High School, is determined to forge a career in the music industry.
“I am under no illusions,” she said. “It is a hard business and there will be setbacks, but this is what I want to do. I am very determined, Music is my passion, it’s my focus and it’s who I am.”
But for a picking up a serious knee injury, it could all have been so different.
“I always wanted to be a swimmer and compete in the Olympics,” laughed Lucy. “I was a member of Rosegrove swimming club and went to a few national squads, but then I got injured.”
Swimming’s loss was music’s gain and again fate stepped in and lent a hand.
“My real interest in music began thanks to my uncle Chris’s guitar.
“He died when I was 12 and I inherited his guitar. I started to teach myself how to play using books he had and it all really started from there. I still have the guitar, but it’s too precious to me to take on the road.”
At 15, Lucy was performing her first gigs around Burnley and Colne.
“One of my first was at the Derby Arms,” she said. “I think I played for 90 minutes. It was from this time that I became associated with blues music as I’d play a lot of blues covers. I started to write my owns songs and gradually got the confidence to play them too.”
After Shuttleworth, Lucy went on to take A-levels at Nelson and Colne College as well as an advanced music studies course.
“I did well academically, but I knew I wanted to be musician,” she said.
To many parents, an academically talented daughter announcing she was going to be a musician might be a nightmare, but Lucy’s mum and dad, Linda and Ian, have backed her every step of the way. “I think my mum was a bit apprehensive at first, but we are such a close-knit family. They support me, but also keep me grounded at the same time,” said Lucy.
“My dad often drives me around to gigs. It’s my only diva-esque tendency - I’ve got a chauffeur!!”
Although making a name for herself in the blues world, Lucy’s own music is harder to define with probably just two tracks on her album genuine blues numbers.
“To me, I’m just Lucy the singer and songwriter. If people want to put descriptions on my music that’s fine – I just hope they like it.”
Now officially one of the brightest young musical talents in the country, Lucy is ready for the next step.
“Clearly the award will make more people take notice of me,” she said. “It will hopefully open a few doors, but I won’t take anything for granted – I have to put the work in.”
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