Lizzie Reid’s recently released debut EP, Cubicle is a testament to the Glaswegian singer-songwriter’s skill for storytelling through music. Written and recorded in her home in March of last year with producer Oli Barton-Wood, the EP re-tells the story of the end of Reid’s first same-sex relationship, the heartbreak born from it, and the newfound revelations she discovered about herself once the dust settled.
In Reid’s music, you’ll hear inspiration drawn from artists like Big Thief and The Beatles. At the same time, listeners point to connections between her sound and Laura Marling’s. One of the most amazing things about Reid and Cubicle, however, is that all of the above and more are evident through the artist’s voice, lyrics, and sound. She brings soul to acoustic rhythms and daring experimentation to songs that often need a lively push. Her truthful, openhearted, and introspective songwriting sounds exactly like the buzzing streets of Glasgow where they’re derived from. Reid preserves stolen moments from the simplest of life’s romances and turns them into songs that paint images in listener’s minds. Her voice and lyrics prove, song after song, that her honesty and vulnerability are a source of strength for the artist, and while she sits down to write and discover her whole-self through her music, she consequently also becomes an inspiration to others.
Having just released her latest single, “Been Thinking About You,” which serves as an appreciation song for a friend, Reid spoke to The See Through about the inspiration behind her EP and how she approaches her songwriting.
You describe your songs as “microcosms of love, loss, and heartbreak.” Can you tell us in more detail a little bit about what that phrase means?
What I take from that description is that maybe I have been touching on a universal experience through telling my own story. Even though it’s specific to my experience, it’s something I assume many can relate to.
What was it like to write and record this EP from your own home? Was it healing or cathartic for you in any way?
The process felt very natural. I’ve never enjoyed singing in a studio, so the process of recording vocals at home was far more relaxed. Writing, recording and performing are all very cathartic and healing processes for me. Being able to do some of that in my home feels very emotional. I’ve lived here nearly my whole life, so I have a lot of feelings attached to this place, and it’s lovely to have been able to create something I’m so proud in the house where most of these songs were written.
I love the way you’re able to make an acoustic track like “Company Car” so unique. Sonically, how did you come up with this song, especially when it comes to layering harmonies?
Thank you, that is so nice that you like that track! Well, I wrote this song just on my acoustic guitar and I liked that it felt quite old timey, in terms of melody and storytelling! It took a while to get the final version because for a while I wanted to take it away from the old fashioned sound. But I decided that it was more emotionally impactful to let the song be as it is. I’ve always loved adding vocal harmonies, to the point where I often need to hold myself back before I overdo it! When I was young, I loved bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles, who filled their music with backing vocals and harmony. I think that’s where my love for that started.
Can you explain the lyric, “My feet don’t hurt, but it feels they always do,” and what you meant by that on the track?
The whole song is predominantly about struggling with the reality that I am a lesbian. The chorus is about feeling like I am not able to function in a world as the person that I am. I was struggling with society’s (and my own) expectations of women. In the chorus, I’m really saying that I don’t feel like I can’t support myself. I need a taxi to come pick me up, rather than using my own two feet. Metaphorically, of course!
I know a lot of your music is inspired by your experiences in your hometown of Glasgow. What is the music scene like there and does it influence your sound today in anyway?
The music scene in Glasgow is great! It’s a lot of fun watching everyone progress and I can’t wait to be able to go out and see live gigs when the lockdown is lifted. I think naturally we are influenced by those around us, but I think it’s also really lovely that everyone is doing their own thing and owning that.
“Tribute” is the first song on Cubicle, and also the first song you ever released as an artist. Why did you feel like that track was the one you wanted the world to meet you with?
It was a bit of a scary move! I was worried that people would perhaps be underwhelmed by an iPhone recording, but it just felt right. Most of my songs start with a phone recording, so it seemed appropriate to have that track at the beginning of the record.
Who are some artists that inspire you that we might hear influences of on future Lizzie Reid music?
I’m really inspired by artists like PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Big Thief, Alison Mosshart, so I’m hoping that someday soon I’ll be able to show off that side of me. I love beautiful music, stuff that moves me and makes me want to cry, but I also love music that makes me feel powerful and a bit menacing!
Who or what do you turn to when you’re experiencing a creative or artistic block?
I tend to try and listen to new music when I’m feeling a lack of inspiration. I love finding stuff that makes me jump up and go get the guitar. I tend to just let it happen and not worry too much when I haven’t written in a wee bit. There’s no point worrying that you’ll never write again, because you just do. You just got to trust it.
Why was it important for you as an artist to release music that would “offer solace and hope” after this past year?
Music and art have a role in society that I think is often overlooked. For me, music isn’t about changing the world or solving the world’s problems. It’s about making day to day life more bearable. It takes all the shit stuff and turns it into something beautiful and that people can enjoy or find release and comfort in. The music that has been released over the past year has done that for so many people, me included. If my wee EP has provided even a little bit of comfort to someone during this madness, then I’ll be so happy and I have done my job.
What’s been one lesson you’ve learned about yourself while making your debut EP?
I’ve learnt that being honest and vulnerable makes me stronger. It’s scary and I’m still struggling with that, but it’s a process.
Lizzie Reid’s debut EP, Cubicle is available for streaming on all music platforms today. You can also catch the artist on the cover of Spotify’s Official Scotify Playlist – a collection of music from budding artists and the best new sounds from Scotland.
Photography by Chris Almeida