Lucy Cloud, 18, speaks with a maturity far beyond her years. As expressed in her brand new song “Crash and Learn,” premiering today, the newly-minted Nashville transplant has already learned some crucial life lessons. “I don’t take things for granted. I’ve had a hard time with being present in the moment,” she says.
Videos by American Songwriter
“The moment is all you have. A lot of times I’m so worried about the future or if I said something right in the past. But you really have to focus on the here and now,” she tells American Songwriter over a recent phone call.
“Crash and Learn,” co-written with Seth Mosley (KING & COUNTRY, MercyMe) and Justin Morgan (Runaway June, Lauren Duski), sparkles with a single piano line, allowing her breathy tone to impart sage advice about embracing life’s every high and low. When tears fall down my face, I catch them in a bottle, she sings. Save them for a rainy day / Just to know I’ve got ‘em.
“You’re going to make mistakes. It will happen. You can’t be so hard on yourself. You have to let yourself feel whatever emotion you’re pushing away,” she continues, taking a moment to stress the importance of mental health and emotional well-being. “You have to allow yourself to feel and to grow. The more you bottle up all the emotions, you’re just not going to learn. Then, they’ll explode, and it won’t end well.”
Cloud pours her emotions, from anxiety over the pandemic to uncertainty in moving to Nashville, right into the song. “There are a lot of lyrics that resonate with my healing process. It was the perfect way to get out what I hadn’t been able to deal with,” she reflects. “There’s a lot I’m learning about myself and my identity. The most important thing I’ve learned is healing takes time. You have to accept that you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to crash, but you can learn from those mistakes. One of the most important lyrics for me is in the first verse: I’m fine / I’m not / No wait / Just need a little time for healing.“
Musically, Cloud calls to Noah Cyrus’ “Lonely,” a similarly structured piano ballad, in tone and vocal build. There’s even a gospel choir used in both, an effective tool to elevate the emotional core to greater heights. “We were able to record a choir, and it was just the three of us. I didn’t even know you could make a choir with three voices,” she recalls.
With the accompanying visual, directed by Rachel Deeb (Livvia, John King), Cloud enlists accomplished dancer Maya Hawkins for an artistic fusion, beautifully shot with a minted, dream-like color palette. “Maya is insane, an absolutely incredible dancer. I love that we were able to put her art into the song,” she adds. “I got to connect with my high school dance teacher Beverly Bautista, and she really had such great insight and gave me the confidence to go through with this idea.”
A Los Angeles native, Cloud grew up on the music her mother loved─Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Corinne Bailey Rae, and John Mayer─and began writing out her feelings as early as six years old. “I had a little notebook I kept to write songs in,” she remembers, “probably around the time Camp Rock came out. Everybody wanted to be Demi Lovato’s character.”
Camp Rock famously also starred Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas, and their father and industry mogul Kevin Jonas Sr. is now her manager. “It’s really surreal,” she admits with a laugh. “The fact that the Jonas Brothers’ dad is my manager… it’s insane. I still don’t even understand how it even happened.”
Now in Nashville, Cloud studies songwriting at Belmont University, and such a transition has proven to be quite the fruitful endeavor so far. “Crash and Learn” is the very first co-write she even had in Music City, demonstrating that true talent will always lead to greatness. “I’m really happy I ended up here,” she says. “I’m still constantly figuring out what I’m doing and who I am. With my previous songs, I wrote them myself in my bedroom.”
As they say, the world is now her oyster, and she’s soaking it all in. “There’s a lot I don’t know about the music industry and the whole process of songwriting. It’s really cool to be around this type of environment,” she says.
“Crash and Learn” hits digital retailers this Friday (March 26).
Photo by Rachel Deeb