The Basement meets Scottish-Chinese DJ LVRA, winner of 2021's Sound of Young Scotland award.
Scottish-Chinese DJ LVRA (real name Rachel Lu) has had a good year. Having made her UK festival at Reading & Leeds this summer, she was also awarded the prestigious Sound of Young Scotland award at the Scottish Album of the Year ceremony in Edinburgh for her striking blend R&B, trap and modernist neo-soul. A self-sufficient musical powerhouse who is equally as comfortable on a mic as she is on the buttons LVRA’s eclectic range of talents will certainly make her one to keep an eye on in 2022. Here, we catch up with LVRA for the latest instalment of our Future Plays series. In her words, “this is a bunch of photos of what has been pretty much my routine for the last 6 months – travelling long ass distances playing shows. Thought it would be nice to show you some pics on the road, my routine, and my family home in Edinburgh where I was born and raised.”
Give us a brief introduction to yourself: where are you from and what do you do?
I’m Rachel, and I’m a 22 year old singer, writer and producer playing under the name LVRA (pronounced loo-rah). My family are Chinese but I was born and raised in Edinburgh, and I moved to London just under a year ago to pursue some new adventures.
Talk to us about what you're working on at the moment.
I just released a track called “IN YOUR BLOOD” which really is part of the same batch of songs I produced with my latest EP TWO – the sound is pretty hard-hitting electronic/hyper pop, and is a step up from the stuff I had been making previously. It’s a document of my experience of living in the big city and retaining my sense of self and authenticity in a place that can turn superficial pretty fucking quickly. TWO is about understanding where my younger self – a pretty shy and nerdy girl brought up in the suburbs of a very white town & city – really fits into the louder and more confident person that I am now. It was a project of self-acceptance and understanding for myself, but for others I wanted these songs to feel cathartic.
How do you feel your background has influenced your music?
I sing about identity a lot. Identity penetrates through every piece of music that I make because as artists we are constantly trying to find the sound that feels most authentic to us. When everything is changing around you, moving to a new city and meeting new people, you learn more about yourself and your past; when I moved away from home from the first time, I really came to understand who I was and how I fit into society, how society treats people like me and how I was perceived by others. I’m still coming to terms with that, there’s still anger and there’s still a lifetime to be observed. I’ll always be writing from the perspective of a BBC.
Where does your name come from?
LVRA is this random name I came up with when I was 15 – it’s my surname (LU) and the first two characters of my first name. LVRA as in CHVRCHES 😉
Who or what are some of your biggest sources of inspiration - not necessarily just from the music space?
Music-wise I can trace specific artists that really opened my mind to new ways to create and perform music. Back in the day I’d listen to a lot of Flume – he was like the first electronic artist whose sound blew my mind. Then it was Grimes’ albums – my live set wouldn’t be as it is without me watching Grimes creating sounds so freely and expressively on KEXP. She was the first proper female producer I fangirled over – she made me believe that I could fucking do it all myself. More recently I’ve been able to see some amazing east-Asian female artists like Rina Sawayama and Yaeji take shit by storm and that’s been super inspiring for me. Non-music-wise? My mum – kindest, most selfless person I do and will ever know. Love you mum!
What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing you personally and also the scene currently?
The challenge is to preserve what I have now that I love – artistic freedom and pure enjoyment from what I do. I’m still in my comfortable space right now, fuck knows what will happen if something pushes me out of it. The music out there right now is amazing. I feel like there’s so many artists I want to work with and am inspired by, both musically and visually. Been getting loads of love from the friends back home in Scotland – never imagined that this project would connect with so many people but its been a blessing.
What does the future look like for LVRA?
Busy. Writing & producing shit tons, performing shit tons, shooting visuals, working with artists across all mediums – just exploring the potential of this little world I’ve been creating and hopefully sharing that with people who feel like they need it like I did. <3
- 8 minute read