When Lucy Dacus logged onto our Zoom call in late August, she was taking a walk through a quaint German town, the phone perched in her hand as she stretched her legs. It was a rare quiet moment for the 27-year-old singer-songwriter, who’s currently on a worldwide tour to support her 2021 album, Home Video, a record that had outlets ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone naming it as one of the year’s very best.
For all her recent success, though, Dacus is just at the onset of her career. She recently released a new single, “Kissing Lessons,” as well as a widely shared cover of Cher’s “Believe”; her work in the supergroup boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker continues to earn praise, and fans’ excitement for her work is so high that the musician’s upcoming October 3 show in Raleigh required a move from the intimate Lincoln Theatre to the more formidable Ritz.
Ahead of the highly anticipated performance, the INDY spoke with Dacus about her tour rituals, activism, and the reason Raleigh will always hold a special place in her heart.
INDY WEEK: You’re currently on the European leg of your Home Video tour. How’s it been going?
LUCY DACUS: It’s been really great. I feel like every time we come here, it’s better and better. I know the internet exists, but we played in Helsinki to a bunch of people, and it still felt crazy that people in Helsinki know my music. I feel very lucky to be able to do this.
You grew up outside Richmond, Virginia. How familiar are you with the Raleigh area?
We’ve played some shows there that I remember really fondly. Raleigh’s actually the city where I found out that Matador [Records] was interested in signing me. So I remember walking around and being like, “My life might change,” and then it totally did [laughs]. So, only good associations.
Do you have anything specific planned for the Raleigh show?
The opening band, Crooks and Nannies, are good friends of ours and are just starting to put out music, but I’m lucky enough to have heard it and know that it’s awesome.
Some members of that band and some members of my band had a quarantine band in my basement called Cars 2, and we might play some of our Cars 2 unreleased secret tracks at the shows together. I don’t know what yet, but we’ve kind of both joked and been serious about doing that.
You had to change the venue to the Ritz because tickets sold out. How did you feel when you heard that news?
Oh my gosh. I was like, “What, really?” That was so quick for a venue to sell out. And if it sold out, it means that the people are stoked, so I’m looking forward to the show even more than most.
In the past, you’ve donated proceeds from your concerts and merch to pro-choice groups. Will you continue doing that or similar activism work with your upcoming shows?
I actually have a call right after this with someone from the Working Families Party. I think that my values align with theirs a lot, and I’m gonna ask them about what the local elections are for our cities on this tour and if there are people they support. The other thing I’m really excited about is that hopefully, on every stop of the tour, there will be a local Indigenous organization there to do a proper land acknowledgment and talk about local initiatives and issues and collect money. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. So hopefully, both of those will be in place for the Raleigh show.
How has your relationship to your music changed over the time you’ve been touring?
It’s a cycle. There was a really long time where we weren’t playing “Please Stay,” because I was like, I just don’t like bringing people down like that. But recently, it’s felt like some people show up because they want to hear that song, and it feels important, so we’ve been playing it more. I also come in and out of liking “Timefighter,” because the vocal runs are a little bit not my taste anymore. Being like, “Oh, oh, oh” [laughs]. But a lot of people like it, and it’s really fun live.
You’re clearly open to letting fans take control.
My guitarist will search my name on Twitter sometimes and see if people are requesting songs, and then I’ll make a note. Because I’ve been to tons of gigs where I’m like, I hope they play this song, and then they don’t, and then you walk away a little bit disappointed. So yeah, if people have any recommendations, tweet about it.
You’ve had a huge year and a half between the album’s release, touring, TV and festival performances, and more. Looking back now, what moment felt most surreal?
Our first show out of COVID we were opening for Shakey Graves, who I’m a huge fan of, at Red Rocks, where I’ve always wanted to play. I just cried, not in a cute, dainty way, but, like, ugly cried, so much that by the end of “Night Shift,” I was like, “I can’t do this, y’all do it,” and I just had the crowd sing it for me. My band came up and hugged me, and I just went backstage afterward and wept and wept. There have been lots of surreal moments, but that was a really wild way to kick everything off.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.
Comment on this story at email@example.com.