Burnley singer-songwriter Lucy Zirins is preparing for a busy year

BUSY YEAR: Lucy Zirins
BUSY YEAR: Lucy Zirins

Lucy Zirins was only 12 years old when her uncle – a talented musician in his own right - died.

Struggling to deal with the death of somebody so close to her, she sought solace in music, rescuing her uncle’s acoustic guitar as it headed for the skip.

Lucy Zirins

Lucy Zirins

Seeing it as a way of keeping his memory alive, Burnley-born Lucy is now eight years into her own musical journey – a journey which has already brought about the release of her first album, “Chasing Clocks”.

“I’m busy trying to keep the momentum going at the moment. The album was released on March 25th and has been received really well. It’s had some great reviews and there’s been a lot of online blog posts about it as well. I’ve been mailing it out to as many people as possible. My dad keeps saying I’m a one-woman PR machine.”

“Chasing Clocks” belies the age of its creator. Blues at its core but lit up by shimmerings of folk and country, its warm melodies and heart-felt vocals wrap their arms around you and do not let go.

Produced by Michael Messer at Liam Watson’s Toe Rag Studios in London, the album is the culmination of months of hard work.

“I’d already done a couple of EPs,” said the former Shuttleworth College pupil. “I started demoing in September 2011, working on two tracks. I did a bit more in February 2012 and then I went to Toe Rag Studios in October/November.

“Six or seven songs I actually had stored away and so I rearranged and reworked those for the album. I was writing a lot. I wrote 25 tracks in total for the album, from which we had to pick 12.”

Music has been in Lucy’s blood from the second she started listening to her parents’ old records, her dedication to creating it, playing it and promoting it, second to none.

“I got a bit jaded towards the end of college (she studied at A-Levels at Nelson and Colne College in music, music tech and English literature). I wanted to get working and saving so I could make a record. I could go to university at any point in my life but I felt I needed to do this now.”

She even left her job at Sainsbury’s in February last year just so she could focus all her attention on music and the direction she was headed.

“I started writing and gigging more, trying to teach myself as much as I could. I’ve done five or six radio shows recently, I’m trying to do as much as I can. I’ve just had one of my tracks, “Morning Light” played on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio 6 show and that was amazing.

“I usually gig about once a week. I’ve been gigging all over the country. I do a lot in the North-West and the North-East and quite a bit in Yorkshire. I’ve had a few down south as well but I’ve not broken too much into London yet.”

Her influences stretch back to infancy and with folk embracing a mainstream awakening of late (highlighted by Mumford and Sons headline slot at Glastonbury) the time has never been better for a young girl and a guitar to make their mark.

“It’s just me, a guitar and a microphone at my shows. I like the intimacy of it.

“A lot of the lyrics fall out of my head. Sometimes I will hear a line in a song and that will lead to another line just popping into my head which will then feed the whole song. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Relationships, things going on around me, I read a lot as well and listen to other music.”

Lucy is very much a hometown girl. She’s playing the main stage at the Burnley International Rock and Blues Festival on Sunday, May 5th – a moment, as a hometown girl, she “can’t wait for”.

But with seemingly endless drive and motivation, an ever-burgeoning songwriting talent and boundless aspirations, she won’t be her hometown’s secret for much longer.