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21st Sep 2018

Lily Allen says she wants to start a women’s union in music

Will Lavin

Lily Allen took to the red carpet at last night’s Hyundai Mercury Prize and her smile said it all

She’s in a good place. A great place in fact.

Aside from the fact that she’s just released her first book, the memoir My Thoughts Exactly, it’s been 12 years since her debut album Alright, Still hit stores and she’s finally been recognised by the Mercury Prize.

Shortlisted for her latest project No Shame, her fourth studio album joined 11 other bodies of work representing the cream of the crop in British music from over the past 12 months.

While not the overall winner – that went to Wolf Alice for their album Visions of a Life – it was a personal win for Lily, who told us on the red carpet at last night’s Mercury Prize event in London that, “this album is the best album I’ve ever written so I love the fact it was shortlisted.”

Asking what she would do with the £25,000 prize money if she had won, it wasn’t studio equipment, having a big knees up to celebrate, or even investing in her next album that was on her mind. Instead she expressed a desire to do something for the women of the music industry.

“If I won and I won the money,” she began. “Then I would start a women’s collective in music, like a sort of women’s union, because I think that it’s needed right now.”

Gender inequality, especially in the music industry, is something that has long been talked about and is something that really needs to be tackled.

Did you know that a bi­annual study of festival lineups across the UK and Europe by Female:Pressure, showed that in 2017 women only accounted for 19% of festival headliners?

If that isn’t enough of a reason to back Lily’s idea to start up a women’s union in music I don’t know what is.

Also admitting that she had a bit of a rough festival season this year, Lily says she was especially thankful to festival-goers at this year’s Boardmasters Festival in Newquay, Cornwall.

“You know what? I had a really bad festival season this season,” she said. “There were three gigs where half the audience walked away because I played loads of ballads that no one had heard, and so we switched up the setlist a little bit for Boardmasters and everyone stayed – it was great. I had a really good time.”

Lily Allen’s No Shame is out now and her memoir My Thoughts Exactly is available here.