If the speed of Lapsley’s ascent seems remarkable — at 19 years old, the past year has seen her move from sixth form college student to recording ‘Long Way Home’, her debut album for XL — it is testament to her talent, her musical and emotional maturity, as well as to the fact that she is a young artist who knows her own mind about her music, her production, herself.
She was still studying for her A-levels when she posted her first EP on Soundcloud. Soon afterwards she followed it with the track ‘Painter’. They were songs that revealed an artist who was sonically adventurous, but also gifted with an exceptional voice — rich, soulful, but also capable of a stunning falsetto. “And then blogs started picking it up,” she recalls, incredulous. “I didn’t even know what a music blog was. I printed out every single one and showed my mum.”
Approaches from record companies swiftly followed. She played her first show a couple of months later in Liverpool. Her next performance was at Glastonbury. The following week she moved to London, and placed her degree plans on hold.
‘Long Way Home’ documents a turbulent time in Låpsley’s life — a period in which she reveled in her new-found music career as it took her from Liverpool to London to Los Angeles and back again.“It’s an autobiography of my emotions and events over the past year,” she says. “Everything that’s happened, I’ve channelled in some way into a song.”
Låpsley’s determined views on her own production have ensured her involvement in every element of these songs. For the bulk of ‘Long Way Home’ she worked with XL’s in-house producer Rodaidh McDonald. She also worked with Mura Masa for the album’s closing track, a song that gave the record its title. “That lyric about taking the long way home… has two different meanings: the album’s about a long distance relationship, but also if you walk the long way home with someone you’re trying to spend as much time as you can with them.”