When I first spoke with Lily Moore in 2018, she told me that her discography maps out her life like a calendar, with each song marking her time in the cities she’s lived in, the people she’s loved and the ones she could have, the experiences she wants to remember forever and those she’d rather forget. Since that summer, she’s continued to make music that charts the messy growing up stuff we all go through, writing about fancying people and fantasies, falling in love and crashing out of it, heartache, self-doubt, independence and insecurity. Hers is the kind of voice you commit to memory, add to playlists alongside Etta James and the greats and send to friends in group chats, one that makes you feel every word she sings and let them seep into your own experiences. But while she’s still singing about emotions we all feel, Moore’s life seems to have tripled in pace in the year and a half that’s passed. Before turning 21, she dropped her sophomore EP “I Will Never Be”, held her own headline tour, supported artists including Tom Walker and George Ezra (at The Royal Albert Hall, no less) and, a few weeks before we met again in her local west London café just before Christmas, released her latest project: the More Moore Mixtape. Grounded by her distinctive soulful vocals, the 11-track project feels like a more eclectic exploration of the sounds she’s drawn to. Alongside the jazzy piano melodies that characterise her previous EPs there’s two skits and stripped-back demos, songs with Maverick Sabre, Tobie Tripp and Dan Caplen, a live track and a voice note, just her, her thoughts and a guitar. “It’s a bit more experimental; I’ve been more free with it,” she affirms. “It’s collaborative.” In this way, the mixtape neatly reflects the club night that inspired it — More Moore, an event the singer has put on regularly since first moving to London from Brighton at 19 — which allows her friends to perform in a space free from pressure. “I was a bit bored when I moved to London. In Brighton, that was a great way to meet loads of people and was how I met everyone I know in music now,” Moore explains, “so I thought fuck it. I’ll start my own thing. There wasn’t really any nights that were fun and laid-back and didn’t have so much pressure on them.” She strikes me as someone who easily brings different friends together, sparking connections to build a supportive and expansive community around her. “It’s really important.
Meet the soul singer championing authenticity and experimentation.
The More Moore night are just an extension of knowing how important it is to help each other out – it’s not easy to find gigs or friends in London,” she agrees sincerely, noting fellow singer-songwriter Grace Carter as both one of her best mates and her standout gig of 2019. Throughout the project and on her latest single, “Now I Know” — a nostalgia-tinged track that addresses an old friend — Moore’s lyrics spill out like a stream of consciousness, with the frankness she admires in the legendary soul artists who inspire her. “They were the pioneers in music, just saying it how it is and being brutally honest. They weren’t afraid to say anything,” she stresses. “Now, when I write songs, I feel like there’s an air of, ‘don’t be too besotted with a person, you’ve still got to be independent and strong…’ Whereas they were like, ‘fuck it. I will die without you.’” It’s only this — “not being scared to make a fool of myself” — that she says she wants to define her music: “All I really want is for people to relate to the songs I make and think ‘I’ve been there; I’ve felt that and I’m really glad she’s singing about it,’ because it means it’s OK to feel like this. Someone’s got to do it.” Moore’s commitment to echoing their honesty has attracted an ever-growing audience, the scale of which I get the sense she’s not quite comprehended. Towards the end of 2019, she started seeing her name appear on yearly roundups and ‘Ones to Watch’ lists, and appeared on the BBC’s Top of the Pops New Year Special (an experience she describes as “the first thing I’ve done that felt really surreal for me”). I ask if she feels pressure to accelerate her success and she nods resolutely, explaining that she wants to avoid the More Moore Mixtape being perceived as her first album. “If I hadn’t done the jokey things or the fun bits, it could get mistaken for my debut,” she says, “which I’m not ready for.” It’s a frank admission, but in a fast-paced industry where young artists are under constant pressure to define who they are and fit neatly into Spotify playlists, it’s refreshing. Moore’s music feels effortlessly free, unpolished and completely true to her life right now, defying reductive soundbites and asking us to enjoy whatever she puts out rather than tie her down to one sound. Our interview is her last professional commitment of the year (“I feel like I need to go get a Happy Meal and celebrate!”) and it feels like a fitting time to absorb everything that’s changing around her, so she can continue to create with vulnerability and invite us to feel those experiences with her.