EP Walkthru: Lyves - Change
The independent London-based artist unveils her genre-defying sophomore EP, taking us through its makeup track by track.
British-born Italian Australian singer, songwriter, and producer Francesca Bergami a.k.a Lyves is a genre-defying artist, who although has her foundations rooted in alt-r&b and progressive soul draws inspiration from jazz, trip hop, breakbeat, UK garage, psych-rock, folk, and New Age, showcased in her delectable new EP Change out today.
Meticulously crafted over the past two years, Lyves at the helm writing, performing and producing alongside Mercury Prize nominee Dave Okumu Dave Okumu (Amy Winehouse, Jessie Ware), Syed Adam Jaffrey (Tom Misch, Michael Kiwanuka) on mixing, and Grammy Award winner John Greenham (Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga) mastering, Change bears the depth of a classic masterpiece inside a polished, modern sounding surface. “Creating this EP helped me navigate my way through loss to finding joy again.” explains Francesca, elaborating “It captures that process for me, and by the end, there is a sense of relief and acceptance; of seeing more nuanced colours and shades in life, of deeper awareness and understanding the embedded beauty and vulnerability in all things - how they shape and change us, ultimately helping us evolve into the best of ourselves.”
“Through creating this EP, I felt like I found my voice again, I also stopped hiding.”
To celebrate the sophomore EP’s release and to get some insight into what went into its makeup, we asked Lyves to give us a track by track walkthrough - so be sure to hit play on Change, as you take a read of what she had to say below.
21 Days was written and recorded on my living room floor. I had this beautiful guitar sketch my friend Atu (Sonder) and I had started working on in LA in 2019. I knew I loved it but hadn’t ever found the right words or melodies so just kept coming back to it. On this particular day I remember messing around with the key of the track and then beginning to thump a beat to it with my foot on the floor. I ended up recording this “foot stomping” beat and suddenly the melodies began flowing. It was written and recorded in about an hour and a half from start to finish. The lyrics just spilled out almost like a stream of consciousness. I imagined it was about this woman at sea - a modern mermaid of sorts, awaiting her long-lost love that never returns. This track was one of the first written for this EP and looking back I now see how it foreshadowed what was to come both sonically and thematically.
21 Days feels especially visual to me and is probably one of my favourites on the EP. The bassline was written and recorded by the incredible Tom Driessler. Watching him play it live in just a couple takes was an incredible experience, it felt like everything about this song was easy, fluid and spontaneous. Dave Okumu’s additional guitar parts and co-production elevated the track to a whole new level for me, drawing out its power and embedded vulnerability.
Shame was written in a late evening jam at my former studio. I spent a lot of time sampling at the time and found this great drum loop then very quickly played a few ideas over it to create a vibe. It felt reflective of the mood I was in - I remember wanting to create something fierce that represented a side of me that I don’t often express musically. I imagined how this record would sound live and performed the vocals off a stand, as if performing it for a live show. Those initial takes are the same ones you hear in the final version of the song. It just feels raw and unfiltered and somewhat chaotic, which I love, but the lyrics behind it are very meaningful to me.
Again, Dave’s bassline just completely elevated it. I had something in mind for a bassline for this track but hadn't spoken to him about it. Upon arriving at his studio he said he’d tried a part and it was exactly what I had imagined! The synchronicities between us were quite magical throughout the making of this EP.
“The System'' feels like the most empowering song I’ve written about love to date - an ode to self-love, growth, and healing. The song came about after recognising I no longer wanted to choose pain in love and consciously started choosing away from unavailable people and situations that hurt. I learnt that sometimes we are subconsciously drawn to love that is painful, but once this is uncovered and understood, you can’t unsee it, and eventually begin choosing better and higher for yourself. It was incredibly liberating to write and feels even more unshackling to release.
Dave's additional vocals on the track also added a new dimension for me - his presence and voice feel like the protective backbone to the song. To me they witness and mirror what I was expressing at the time. A precious collaborative moment I’ll never forget.
Blindfold was written with my good friend Drew Wynen. I was immediately blown away by his guitar progression and again this song almost felt like it wrote itself - pouring out without too much thought. I just allowed the initial improvised ideas to become the final takes. Blindfold, to me, is about not wanting to see what’s in front of you. It’s about uncovering denial and the role of hope in sometimes keeping us stuck in situations or relationships that aren’t right for us. I’ve always struggled with the duality of hope - in most ways hope is deemed positive, but the shadow side of hope can perpetuate denial and keep us stuck if it becomes disproportionate. Musically; I love the sound of this record and feel it touches on my love for folk music - an area I would love to explore more in the future.
"Change" is a very personal narrative of my experience reaching rock bottom following the ending of an important relationship. The devastation I felt was like no other I had experienced before but in completely losing myself I also found that staying stuck in denial only allowed for the suffering to linger. It’s a song about reaching acceptance after months of living in false hope of reconciliation. It tells the story of how learning to accept and embrace change, after so much resistance, became my saving grace, and ultimately, my way back to myself. I learnt that change is inevitable, the only real constant in life, and that by welcoming its flow we are freed from the burdens that holding on unnecessarily cause.
Like Buddha perfectly said, “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it”. When we accept change and learn from it, change is no longer our enemy. It becomes our teacher."
Lyves' sophomore EP Change is out now.