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Interview: Lily Allen

The British pop star speaks to Graham Turner about motherhood and her massive return to the live scene

It’s been a headline-generating career spanning three critically acclaimed albums for Allen, from 2006’s Alright, Still, to 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You, and right up to last year’s Sheezus. The London lass is refreshingly comfortable in her own skin, ever affable and approachable to the point where you feel that she might ask us how our families are doing or what we had for dinner (spoiler alert: she doesn’t).

‘If I wasn’t married with kids I’d probably be writing about going on Tinder dates’

After a long hiatus during which you started a family, how has it been shifting back to music?

It’s been good. I mean, I had this very clear idea of what kind of mother I wanted to be to my kids but, in the end, that was difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my children, but I just felt like I needed a creative outlet.

Are the kids into mum’s music?

They’re still a bit young. They understand that mum sings songs and gets on stage and wears silly clothes, but they still don’t have a concept of fame.

Has time off changed your songwriting?

What I write about now is very different than my more promiscuous days. The method and how I approach it hasn’t really changed but if I wasn’t married with kids I’d probably be writing about going on Tinder dates [laughs].

You’ve always been typecast as an outspoken person.

I just try to be honest. I like writing about things people can relate to. My parents were always busy when I was growing up, so writing has always been a kind of outlet for me. A way to feel normal.

So it’s a kind of validation, maybe?

Yeah, I think you could say that. The biggest joy for me is just seeing someone who feels better after listening to one of my songs, like I’ve hit on something they’ve been feeling and given them that sense of ‘oh, it’s not just me’.

How’s the reception been to Sheezus?

It’s been good. I mean, it’s not exactly the best-selling or most critically acclaimed album of the millennium but the reception’s been mostly positive. I tend to only look at the positives.

What’s next for you?

I’m just going to really focus on my work while I can. I’d say I have maybe two years left in me before the kids start school. I’ll probably call it a day for good then…

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