Lucy Sugerman Sucks: “I Am A Fiend For Brunch”

lucy sugerman with illustrations of her quirks

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I’m not someone that tends to buy into the idea that “the pen is mightier than the sword”, but Canberra pop artist Lucy Sugerman’s songwriting has me reconsidering my stance. While I still think it’d hurt more to be struck by a katana than a ballpoint, Lucy’s new EP, spiralling (over discourse on the internet), takes aim at subjects like toxic people and addictive algorithms, landing her lyrics with the precision and ferocity of a lifelong swordmaster carving up a battlefield. It’s pop music at its best, combining massive hooks with palpable emotions and vivid imagery. Lucy’s inviting you into her world, deftly capturing the experience of a young person living through the pandemic. Enjoy your stay (hopefully this trip doesn’t stir up too many bad memories).

‘dead to me’ is a highlight, acting as a chance to get the last word in with someone that’s not good for her. Writing the lyrics “And I know that you tell your friends/A twisted version of the real events/I digress/I must admit you give me hope-less” must feel like catharsis that only a select few of us will ever experience (unless, of course, you embark on a musical career). The relatable ‘kiss the algorithm’ feels like an accurate summary of the current state of the online world — if you got pulled into the depths of social media over the pandemic (like pretty much everyone on the globe), then this might be the circuit-breaker you need. 

To mark the release of spiralling (over discourse on the internet), Junkee spoke to Lucy about listening to sucky beauty advice for tweens and teenagers, sleeping in well past the morning and much, much more. There’s nothing quite like the panic of waking up and realising it’s the afternoon. It’s similar to the feeling of pure drowsiness that engulfs your entire being when you wake up from a failed nap. 

Junkee: A mistake that turned into an opportunity? 

Firstly, I’m the queen of getting on trains and buses the wrong way/straight up getting on the wrong ones at the moment (I’m overseas for the first time as an adult right now! And I’ve grown up somewhere small with very little public transport). This has resulted in a lot of confusion followed by happy accidents in my travels.

I also saw that Becca Hatch (AKA a real life ANGEL) said this, but 100% previous failed relationships and all my big life failures in general. I feel very blessed to be able to make art from it and have an outlet. 

Cringe quote you used to live by?

Okay, the Fearless-era Taylor Swift quotes still hit but one of my favourites when I was eight was something like “Being fearless isn’t being 100 percent not fearful. It’s being terrified but you jump anyway.” 

Thanks Taylor. She’s a real one for that.

Worst advice you got and blindly followed?

I have to say any ‘beauty’ advice I got from magazines aimed at tweens and teenagers between 2010 and 2014. Whoever put the idea of plucking my own eyebrows and putting toothpaste on my zits during that time…

The worst failure you’re up for sharing, and what you learned from it?

In terms of my career: signing contracts without fully understanding them or the consequences. To be fair, I was really young — still am! — but it’s definitely impacted my work in the long run, and I wish I reached out for more help outside of a few calls with a lawyer.

Everyone tells you to be careful, not to get swept up in the glamour/glorification of it all, but I feel it’s one of those things that you don’t clock onto until you’ve actually done it or taken the advance. There’s been positives and negatives, I met some cool people, and thanks to plenty of trial and error I’ve learnt a lot about those processes, gotten better at decoding legal jargon, better at standing up for myself and it led me to studying my current degree too!

Anything you used to be wrong about?

Most things! But the biggest thing is probably my subconscious belief as a kid was that you can prepare, practice and train for anything and therefore avoid struggle. This sounds lame and ridiculously obvious, but I definitely always thought and acted as if you try your best, you’ll always win (this is a great Maisie Peters lyric also), and as a result would beat myself down for failures and mistakes. No one knows a whole lot and no day is certain, so give life a red hot crack but you have to get good at moving with the unexpected and uncontrollable punches.

Embarrassing internet habit?

Watching those ear wax removal videos on TikTok. Gross, sorry, but it’s just so interesting and super satisfying to watch and listen to audiologists talk about it. I reckon that would be my career path in another life. 

Ideal morning routine versus actual morning routine? 

Ideal morning routine is having one at all. I would love to be up two hours before I have to leave, and have time for some morning yoga and to go sit with a coffee at my neighbourhood local before work/whatever I have to do that day. The mornings I do that, I feel amazing.

But most of the time I have to set myself around three alarms to wake up, then I get out of bed 10 minutes before I have to leave for the quickest shower and toothbrush ever, and pray for all the green lights on the way to work. 

Something very off-brand for you?

Sleeping in until the afternoon if I have nothing on that day (which is very rare). Can’t help it. Girl’s gotta get her beauty sleep. Sometimes “good morning” is 2pm.

Bad health decision?

Following on from that — I have a really inconsistent sleep schedule! I really should get that in check. 

What do you waste money on?

Brunches and restaurants… I am a fiend for brunch, I love restaurants, I love eating out. I should not be eating out as much as I do, but I just love the experience of enjoying hospitality and trying new foods. Maybe it’s not a waste because I love it so much, but I definitely should be cooking at home more. Whoops. 

Worst procrastination habit?

Snacking and TikTok/Reels. Age old problem. The damn 21st century! 

Lucy Sugerman’s new EP spiralling (over discourse on the internet) is out now.

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Illustration credit: Matt Lauricella, @pigeonboyart