STORY WRITTEN BY DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
The night before a series of phone interviews, Lily Allen was in the news again. It was a seemingly innocuous evening, yet there she was in Britain’s top-selling rags.
From The Daily Mail to The Daily Mirror and beyond reports surfaced of an Instagram photo she posted before fellow London native Kate Bush’s comeback performance at the Hammersmith Apollo. Pictures were discouraged of the performance, Allen created faux-controversy by snapshotting an empty stage,
Yahoo’s U.K. Celebrity section devoted an entire article and photo spread to the “ENORMOUS” brown backpack Allen toted to the concert, boasting the sub-headline “What the flippin’ heck does she keep in it? No seriously — we need to know?”
The world may never know what was in her brown backpack.
Since the latter-half of the previous decade the 29-year-old’s personal life has been made open fodder for the public’s consumption, one of many topics she tackles on her new album “Sheezus.”
“I don’t really look at that kind of stuff. I don’t think it’s really of interest, to be honest. I know more than anyone that once you’ve made that connection to public life, there’s no turning back.”
It’s been five years since Allen’s previous record, during which time the tabloid fixture’s headlines have changed from club-hopping and boy toys to marriage gossip and baby bumps. Calling from her home in Gloucester, England, before preparing supper for her husband and two daughters, the rebellious songstress continues to be as outspoken as ever, even as the topic of conversation has changed.
“Beforehand when I got angry and stuff in my songs it’s been directed at, you know, my lovers or ex-lovers but this time around I’m very happy with my domestic life so there’s really nothing to complain about there. I suppose that I kind of channel that anger and unhappiness into writing songs about society and the world, really, as opposed to what it is that’s so personal.”
In regards to her private affairs today, Allen made it clear there’s certain lines not to be crossed. “I think the intimate details of my family life are off-limits. Not so much my husband because he knew what he was getting into but my children, they didn’t choose this life. It’s kind of a little bit unfair to subject them to, I couldn’t do that to them.”
The competition dreamed up in the media between her and other solo female artists is fair game, Allen understands. In the opening lyrics of her newest title track she name-checks the princesses of pop who have dominated the charts during her absence; Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and latest addition Lorde.
“I don’t really think that there needs to be a crown of pop, I thought I never had it in the first place,” says Allen. “It’s not something … it’s not my focus. My focus is just experiencing getting back on the road; doing the shows, the clubs, the touring. You get back out there, really see what’s going on.”
Last August, Allen took the stage at the Wells Fargo Center in support of Miley Cyrus. On Sept. 19, fans can catch her at the Electric Factory for her own headlining tour, performing throughout the U.S., Canada and across the pond.
“I think it’s difficult to manage touring and family for sure, it’s a balancing act. I don’t like being on the road away from my kids any more than they like me being away from them, at least I hope so,” Allen said with a giggle.
At this stage in her career, it’s a different environment on the road for the new wife and mum. As she sings to her mate on Sheezus’s fifth single “As Long as I Got You.” “Staying home with you is better than sticking things up my nose,” a domesticated Allen serves the music and herself so much greater.
“I think it must because when I come home I’m not a mess,” she laughed. “I’ve gotten to feel more clear-headed. Now that I have children and now that I’m married and I have this massive mortgage, my focus is my family now and not me, whereas before it was me.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Lily Allen
WHEN: Friday, September 19 8 p.m., at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St. Philadelphia
TICKETS: $25 pre-registration, $30 at the door
INFO.: For tickets call (215) 627-1332 or check www.lilyallenmusic.com