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Spring Sing 2016: Lydia Luce

Lydia Luce, a world music and viola performance graduate student, will perform her song “Love You True” at Spring Sing. She wrote the song for her brother’s wedding. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin staff)

By Meghan Savisaar

May 20, 2016 10:56 a.m.

Lydia Luce describes herself as a sponge. She grew up listening to Mozart with her mother, Peter, Paul and Mary with her father and Stevie Nicks on her own. She absorbs different melodies she hears, and they come out in her own style of Americana folk music.

Luce will perform her song “Love You True” at Spring Sing. She wrote the song about her brother and his wife as a wedding gift, and she sang it and played the guitar last summer as her brother walked down the aisle.

After taking years off from songwriting, Luce spent three months living in Nashville, Tennessee last summer penning the songs for her first album, “The Tides.” The title of her album was inspired by her love for the ocean. Luce, an independent folk singer, songwriter and violist, is from South Florida and has been around water her whole life. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music and is now a world music and viola performance graduate student at UCLA. In March, she toured Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee promoting “The Tides.” She will tour again in July along the West Coast, singing and playing the viola.

Luce said she writes about the people around her, their situations in life and love and different types of relationships. But Luce doesn’t just write about romance; she writes about all kinds of relationships.

“If I see something that’s inspiring to me, I want to write about it, because I want to be like that,” Luce said. “That’s the kind of person I want to be.”

Luce’s mother was the conductor of an orchestra and encouraged her to be a classical musician. Luce grew up playing the violin in her mother’s orchestra, practicing for hours on end and planning on attending a classical conservatory. As she was playing classical music, Luce was listening to music by Damien Rice and learning to play Led Zeppelin tabs on her black Washburn guitar.

When she started attending Berklee College of Music, she began playing bluegrass music. And after that, old-time fiddle music. Along with music from her childhood, all these genres have made their way into her writing, Luce said.

Evan Chapman, Luce’s friend, met Luce six years ago when they were both students at the Berklee College of Music. Chapman said that when he met Luce, he thought she was kind, bright and a little rambunctious.

“She had this very rare ability to be a well-trained classical musician who’s very respectful, and at the same time be totally outgoing and fun to hang out with,” Chapman said.

Although she decided the path of a classical musician was her mother’s path and not her own, the years she spent playing the viola will always be a part of her, Luce said.

Luce writes her music in her apartment, and a song can take anywhere from one hour to three weeks for her to finish. When she’s composing a song, the melody comes first, and then it all trickles out as one unit, Luce said.

“I start with something and it just all starts flowing out,” Luce said, “A lot of the time the melody comes up because I grew up playing viola, a melodic instrument.”

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Meghan Savisaar
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