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Lucy Dacus (Photo by: Sarah Walor)
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Lucy Dacus: a self-portrait. (Photo by Lucy Dacus)
When we talk, Lucy Dacus is at the river, Texas Beach to be exact — her favorite spot. It’s her one day off and she is spending it celebrating a friend’s birthday. The 21-year-old sounds thrilled to be back in Richmond (albeit shortly). If you live in Richmond, Dacus is everywhere; the front page of the local alt-weekly, headlining at a popular brewery or, as your luck would have it, performing at Friday Cheers this weekend with indie favorite Kurt Vile. If you’re not in Richmond, Lucy Dacus, well, is also everywhere: NPR recently did a feature on her song “Strange Torpedo” and Spin went wide on “No Burden,” her album of nine self-admitted hastily written songs. She’s consistently being compared to Jenny Lewis, Courtney Barnett and Sharon Van Etten with her echo-ridden voice and excitable lyrics, though those women have few more years behind their angst.
The Richmond-born and -raised singer doesn’t skip a beat when asked how she got on the radar of those large publications as a shiny new artist, composing a complex and well-thought-out answer together like she has been doing interviews all her life. Her steep trajectory upwards is a musical fairy tale.
“We showed the album to as many people as we could. We had the option to Bandcamp and friends, but were very careful to get advice from people who do this for a living,” says Dacus. She is quick to praise her label, EggHunt Records, saying that they are picking up some of the coolest artists out of Richmond right now and really offering them a leg up. And she doesn’t miss giving props to her publicists out of New York for their hard work in helping her.
“I don’t know anything about the internet or how journalism works. It has been really nice to entrust that sort of expertise to someone else. I used to try to do this myself, but it’s been really cool bringing people in that are really good at their jobs and I can trust,” says Dacus.
She laments about being on tour – not because she regrets it, she knows it’s necessary. But wistfully, she talks about her relationships. Interacting with friends and family, once an everyday thing, is now entirely long-distance. It’s this adjustment that seems to be the hardest for Dacus.
“I could talk about all the incredible dream-come-true aspects of this job. The hardest thing is trying to find new ways to communicate care and to keep in touch. It is a larger job that I realized it would be,” she says. “It is such a relief to come home to my bed, my roommates and my stuff. It means a lot to be reminded that I still have a home here. It is extra rewarding to come home these days.” Dacus and her band have been out on the road — New York; Austin, Texas; Toronto — for a good portion of 2016 and after their Friday Cheers show tomorrow, June 10th, they’ll be out till mid-October with few breaks.
Lucy Dacus takes the Friday Cheers stage on Brown's Island at 6:30 p.m. $10. 788-6466 or venturerichmond.com.