Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Music Waits For You: LoneLady’s Favourite Albums

From singing along with Neneh Cherry on her way to school to a lockdown obsession with Durutti Column, Julie Campbell, aka LoneLady, takes Elizabeth Aubrey through the thirteen definitive records of her life

Photo by Jay Mawson

LoneLady’s third album is an exciting about turn. For starters, it’s the first album she’s made outside of Manchester. Unlike debut Nerve Up and follow-up Hinterland which were made variously in her home studio or around abandoned mills and factories in the north of England, Former Things was made in the basement of London’s Somerset House.

Awarded a residency at the venue which she describes as “part nightclub, part art-installation”, LoneLady, aka Julie Campbell, could, for the very first time, lay all her equipment out in one place and play her music as loudly as she wanted, without fear of annoying the neighbours. “As much as I have loved my time in various crumbling mill spaces around Manchester, it does get a bit tiring to keep dragging your studio around,” she laughs. “This basement bunker studio gave me the space to stretch out and turn the volume up loud. It just energised the album so much.”

Former Things sees Campbell channelling the 80s pop music which lit her imagination as a child. “I must have been watching Top Of The Pops or something and I remember starting to ask for cassettes for Christmas at some point,” Campbell recalls of her youth. “I distinctly remember the snazzy little cassette cases I had for Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson’s records and I ended up going down a pop road for many years. It just reminds me of joyful, carefree times, all the things that I love.”

Indeed, Former Things is poppier, and much more upbeat in style than any of her previous work – both in instrumentation and lyrical delivery. “There’s a lot of fun in this record,” Campbell adds. “I always loved trying to make things catchy and playful, but I really went for it with sound and the more direct pop lyrics too.”

Campbell says she enjoyed the chance to look back making this record, specifically to a time in her teens when you could spend more time with records and not be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music to hand. “We have access to millions of songs instantaneously now, but I find that overwhelming and awful,” Campbell says. “I don’t feel I missed out on anything because I didn’t have that growing up. There is such a thing as too much music I think. Even in my twenties, I would buy one CD and that would sustain me for months.”

Now, she’s looking ahead to setting up her own permanent studio space so she can put out records more frequently and also to her upcoming live gigs this autumn – although the continued uncertainty on restrictions is proving frustrating. “It’s been appalling, the lack of support from the government when you consider how much revenue the music industry brings in and how much joy it brings to people’s lives, how much people have missed going to gigs,” she says. “It can be very hard to take at times and I often bury my head in the studio just because I can’t take it. I have to shut off from it. For now, I’m doing my absolute best to do shows in Europe, here, and I really hope they can all go ahead.”

Here, Campbell takes us through thirteen of her favourite records, many of which inspired her latest album. From teenage pop favourites Neneh Cherry and Janet Jackson to more recent discoveries of Cybotron and Micron, it’s an eclectic mix of 80s pop, electro and funk…

LoneLady’s new album Former Things is out now. To begin reading her Baker’s Dozen, click the picture of her below.

First Record

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