In today’s Artists in Focus blog, we’re going Somewhere Only We Know - on a trip to LDN town which will undoubtedly end in a Smile. Have you guessed who’s joining us yet? It’s Lily Allen, of course!

Queen of the Noughties

Hammersmith born singer and songwriter Lily Allen will most certainly have been a sound of the noughties for many of us. Who could forget the moment that effortless tone came on the airwaves for the first time? We certainly didn’t, which is why Miss Allen has been included in our Rockschool exam syllabus, but more on that later…

We actually have Myspace to thank for bringing Lily Allen into our worlds. In 2005 she made some of her tracks available on the platform, and it wasn’t long before they became popular. A short while later, the songs were played on BBC Radio 1 and she had signed a contract with record label, Regal Recordings. Only one year later, in 2006, Lily had her first single go mainstream. “Smile” reached the number one spot!

The entire Alright, Still album was very loved and Allen received a number of award nominations at the Grammys, Brits and MTV Music Video Awards.

Evolution

Her second album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, marked a transition in her songwriting. It feels way more inspired by pop music than the first album which was far more centred around the reggae and ska sound. Despite the genre-shift, this album was also a big success and won Lily the Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist in 2010.

Now, if you’ll excuse us for the terrible puns in the intro, we mentioned a wonderful song called “Somewhere Only We Know”. Originally written by Keane, Allen recorded her version for a John Lewis Christmas Advert in 2013. Her version was so hugely popular that it became her third number one single in the UK. We adore the combination of Lily Allen’s outspoken and edgy personality with the soft and tenderness of the song’s lyrics.

We wanted you to be able to put your stamp and personality on this song just as Lily did, so we’ve included it in the Rockschool Vocals Grade 1 syllabus. It must be said that we’ve completely lost count of how many times this has been sung in the exam room. It’s a hugely popular song choice and we are totally here for it. Keep it coming!

Lily Allen’s career continued to go from strength to strength. She released a few more fantastic albums, hosted her own talk show called Lily Allen and Friends, and wrote her own book called My Thoughts Exactly. She is also the owner of a record label called In The Name Of. We’re certainly inspired by the success of this amazing woman.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and maybe it took you back to the 2000’s for a moment! Why not take yourself deeper into that world and check out our blogs about Sam Smith (they are Allen’s third cousin, by the way!), and Mark Ronson who Lily recorded a song with called “Oh My God”.