Meet Lyves, the opening act for Coldplay's European tour
Francesca Bergami, aka Lyves, is a promise of soul music, in fact Coldplay chose her to open their European tour. She is half Italian, half Australian, but she grew up as a world citizen. But, when the time came for a new album, she went to Ostra, a small town in Italy where her father and her grandmother live, to find new inspiration. Our interview. (Italian version)
Hi Francesca, nice to meet you. I'd like to know more about your italian roots.
Well, I'm half Italian, half Australian. My father is Italian from Senigallia, in the Marche. My Nonna lives there too and I have been visiting Italy every year since I was born. I feel very close to Italy. I lived in Milano since when i was 3 months until 6 years old and i also wrote my ep in Italy, in a very tiny village called Ostra, near Senigallia, where my father and my Nonna live.
About that, do you think Italy gave you some different “vibrations”? Did you notice any differences between how the inspiration came to you while you were writing music in Italy?
Absolutely! I feel that I belong to Italy - It is my heritage after all. I have been visiting that village since I was a child and I have so many memories there, also a strong sense of belonging. I travelled a lot with my family and lived in Portugal for many years but Italy always felt like "home" to me. I feel connected to my deepest self when I am there.
How was your daily routine in Ostra while you were writing the album?
I wrote for 5 months almost every single day. I used to wake up and get a coffee from the local cafè (I think they thought I was strange because I used to ask for a take away haha) then I would walk my father's dog or go for a run in the hills. Only then I would have gone to the attic where I set my studio up and start writing. I would take a break for lunch and visit my Nonna and my Zia and then continue writing. Sometimes until very late at night.
About your grandmother, is she the "typical" italian grandma, cooking everyday, feed you until you are unable to eat ever again?
Haha yes!! My grandma is very old now - she is turning 98! She doesn't cook anymore but when I would go for lunch she would make sure I was eating enough and that I never left with any space in my stomach! My grandma used to be the best cook ever! She taught me how to cook ragù and lasagna. Actually, I can only cook italian!
Let's talk about "Like Water": I read that you wrote it after some bad shit had happened to you. Writing your music is a cathartic path?
Yes. Very much so. When I wrote it I felt very broken and writing felt like rebuilding myself bit by bit. I remember feeling so relieved when I was able to put my feelings into words and music because it seemed like it was transforming the pain into something I could listen to and hold and share with others. It felt like I could breathe again and it made me feel stronger.
"Like water" it's a little bit dark but your voice sounds to me like the light into that darkness. When you are writing what does come first, music, melody or words?
Thank you, that's really nice of you to say. The process, so far, is that I start by sitting at my keyboard and I play some chords or melodies. The chords usually evoke the mood and I'm usually searching for chords to match how I feel. Once the chords feel right I sing over them I don't really change the lyrics very much after the first time. I trust the ones that arrive first time around as I think they are usually quite subconscious and I would like to keep that sincerity there.
It feels like a very intuitive and instinctive process - not always easy though.
What can be heared in your headphones? Do you usually listen to italian music?
At the moment I'm listening to a lot of Sampha - his album "Process" blows me away! I've also starting listening back to some of The Verve's early records. Richard Ashcroft's voice and songwriting is spine tingling. I need to discover more Italian music! Please send me some.
For sure, my first advice is to listen to Birthh, I think you would like her. About Coldplay, we can only imagine how exciting is to play with them. You talked with them? Why did they choose you?
It's so incredible exciting! It's a dream come true. That's the only way I can describe it. I have been listening to Coldplay since I was a teenager. Singing along to their beautiful songs in my bedroom. Their music always touched my soul and to be able to open for them on their European tour is incredible! They heard some of my songs and asked me to open for them.
San siro Stadium is considered as a kind of temple by Italian people, it's the house of two of the most important football club of the country and it is open for major events only. Did they give you any advice to rock 50k people?
Yes I know! It's an incredible stadium. I am so excited to play there! The last time I visited San Siro was when I was a child with my dad to watch a football game! The advice I received was to be myself, to speak to the audience and to connect with them. That's really the most important thing isn't it? People want to connect. That's the beauty of live music I think.
Yes, I think the same thing, expecially now that there's a lot of attention on this event because of the fear of terrorism. Is this a thing that bothers you?
Of course it's a very real fear for people but I think we must try out our very best to stay together, stay strong and keep playing live music that shines hope and love into people's lives. I was so incredibly moved by the acts of bravery and unity displayed at One Love Manchester.
You were there?
No, I watched it online, it was beautiful.
Will you spend some other time in Italy after the tour with Coldplay? Maybe a tour in Italy on your own?
I would love to! Hopefully I can do a tour in Italy this autumn or early next year when I release some new songs.