Release Date: December 2nd 2022
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Always Remember Us This Way
- Run to You
- Wind Beneath My Wings
- Broken Dreams
- The Prayer (feat. Martha Thomas)
- I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
- Footprints in the Sand
- Make You Feel My Love
- The Climb (feat. Martha Thomas)
- All By Myself
- Someone You Loved
- Moon River
Lucy Thomas’s music is something unique, something to behold and something that people are going to be impressed about, as this young 18-year-old from Lancashire has carved a name for herself delivering albums of famous pop and broadway covers, ever since her introduction into music by the way of The Voice Kids UK. Though only 18 currently, she’s been able to tackle some of music’s most complicated songs, vocally, and make them her own, as her music continues to amaze people, and hopefully allow listeners to rekindle their own love for broadway music, soundtracks, and showtunes, even music of the past, that would otherwise have been swept under the rug, in favour of the pop music landscape at the moment. Lucy’s music is a step above, and maybe, just maybe, she can follow in the footsteps of Jackie Evancho and her music, as the years continue to roll by? Lucy’s music has given me a new perspective on big-ballad songs that have impacted music and society during the 1990s and 2000s, and it is through an artist like Lucy (and also through other ‘cover’ artists Cimorelli and Peter Hollens), that I now firmly believe that cover artists can still have their place, in music, society, and have an impact on people who they themselves want to get a start in the music business, through the way of Youtube. Lucy’s talent at such a young age is indeed off the charts- maybe talent shows actually do work? With songs from soundtracks, broadway musicals, and big-soaring ballads of yesteryear, making up most of Lucy’s musical repertoire thus far; Lucy’s crisp sound and steady voice beyond her years, makes her one of the most uniquely gifted and compelling cover artists I’ve heard in a long, long time (ever since artists like Peter Hollens and Cimorelli!).
I recently undertook a blog post about Lucy (written in mid-2021), and the impact I believe she has had (and will continue to have), in music, society and history, in the upcoming years to come; and it was in me writing that blog, that I rekindled my own appreciation for music of yesteryear, especially 1990s music, the decade that I myself grew up in. It’s rare to be an artist this young, and deliver effortlessly covers from artists like Mariah Carey (‘Hero’), Snow Patrol (‘Run’), The Eagles (‘Desperado’), Celine Dion (‘My Heart Will Go On’), Leonard Cohen (‘Hallelujah’), Sarah McLachlan (‘Angel’), Coldplay (‘Fix You’), Faith Hill (‘There You’ll Be’) and Whitney Houston (‘I Have Nothing’), with such grace, poise, elegance, and heart, but that’s what Lucy has definitely done. And then to top it all off with covers of songs from soundtracks of movies/musicals past (‘Reflection’, ‘A Million Dreams’, ‘Never Enough’, ‘Listen’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Defying Gravity’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Memory’, to name a few), and I firmly believe you have a star in the making, someone that is hopefully destined to carry on and deliver classic songs that can bring a younger generation into the fold of appreciating songs that have lent themselves to the fabric of music for decades upon decades, songs that have shaped the culture and identity of the world, and songs that have really reminded us the power of music as a whole, regardless of the time period and genre.
It is in Lucy’s powerful covers, where I myself find this particularly true statement of how the song should be bigger than the initial artist singing it, and that some songs that are timeless (a.k.a. a lot of the songs Lucy has covered in her career thus far) should be heartfelt, challenging, and compelling regardless of the vocalist singing. And Lucy has definitely given us this experience across Premiere, Encore and Timeless (unveiled in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively) and now as we sit in October 2022, we’ve been blessed once again to receive another musical offering from Lucy. Destiny releases at the beginning of December 2022, and comprising of various hits that she has covered throughout last year and this year (most are available as either a cover video online, or on Apple Music as a single release), Lucy’s upcoming 12 tracks are arguably some of the best, as this artist who’s voice is far beyond her years, shows us a thing or two about the necessity of songs of yesteryear, and that as much as we care not to admit, we enjoy a lot of these 1990s and 2000s tracks more than we show. Songs have the ability to change and inspire, and in some extreme cases, alter the trajectory of someone’s life, coming in at just the right time for someone who may need some kind of hope and perseverance. A lot of the songs on Destiny are indeed songs like these- reminding each and every one of us of this notion of destiny and us forging our own futures as we begin to be proactive in our life (see the pun, there!). And while we as lovers of songs from yesteryear, or people who appreciate and respect Lucy’s vocals (or both), anticipate this forthcoming album to release digitally this December; we can still listen to these songs on full, on youtube, or through her single release catalogue on Spotify.
Standing at 12 tracks, much of the music that is present on Lucy’s fourth album has been released as single-only tracks throughout 2021 and 2022. Sitting at track #1 on Destiny, ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ is a hauntingly compelling song originally from Lady Gaga and recorded for the modern-day tragedy movie A Star is Born. To be completely honest, I’ve only heard of A Star is Born– have never seen it, the remake starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, nor it’s 1976 musical, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson (which is in turn also a remake). Maybe I just haven’t been across as many musicals as I may have personal would’ve liked, but regardless of this, I can still appreciate such powerful songs originated from musicals, and a song like ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ is no different. ‘Someone You Loved’, by U.K. sensation Lewis Capaldi, is covered by Lucy as track #11, presented in a ‘Lucy Thomas’ ballad atmosphere, as Lucy herself proves to us that she can tackle and conquer a current song from today, compared to all of her covers of 1990s and 2000s songs, as well as covers of soundtrack melodies, that have been present on her previous three albums to date. Covering Lewis Capaldi is definitely a tall order, and Lucy executed that with such poise and grace. ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing’, originally by Aerosmith, is delivered with a female voice here by Lucy, and at the time of Lucy’s own recording, I don’t think there was a female cover of that particular song. Since then, we have heard Audra from First to Eleven deliver a rock cover of ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing’…but if I’m being perfectly honest, can I say that I enjoy Lucy’s rendition a little better? Lucy makes this song so much her own, and dare I say, that I even enjoy this version more so than the actual Aerosmith original? That’s the truth!
Throughout the rest of the album, Lucy’s delivery of iconic songs of the ages, are what makes this ‘cover’ artist so unique, and I’m sure that Lucy’s future is bright, either in stage productions, musicals, power-ballad covers of iconic songs, or even if she’s doing original music in the future. ‘Run to You’, song #2 on Destiny, was originally written by songwriters Jud Friedman and Allan Rich and recorded by Whitney Houston for the Whitney-starring movie The Bodyguard, and I guess any cover (and a good cover, I might say) of a Whitney song should make the listener at least interested and intrigued about said cover artist (Lucy in this case), right? Lucy’s precision and power are unparalleled, and though I myself didn’t hear ‘Run to You’ prior to Lucy’s own rendition, I still feel as though Lucy did the song justice. Some songs have a ‘musical’ feel, or even a ‘soundtrack’ feel, and ‘Run to You’ feels like it has both…I guess only one way to find out, right? Off to watch The Bodyguard in the upcoming months. Nevertheless, ‘Run To You’ is iconic and a classic song, period- it was nominated at the 1992 Academy Awards for Best Original Song (‘A Whole New World’ won from that particular year), and around 30 years later, still evokes moments of passion, heart, enthusiasm and anthemic moments of declaration. ‘The Prayer’ is one of 2 duets present on Destiny– Lucy and her sister Martha sing on this Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli cover, while they also deliver a powerful duet on the Miley Cyrus country-esque original, ‘The Climb’. Lucy and Martha’s rendition of ‘The Prayer’ is exquisite, heartfelt, and compelling, and is a powerful reminder of why I enjoy the song so much- ‘The Prayer’, quite possibly Celine’s second biggest hit behind ‘My Heart Will Go On’, is quite possibly one of my favourite songs of the 1990s (for me, ‘The Prayer’ is even more powerful, relevant, and impactful than Celine’s biggest hit, but I digress). The song itself is a prayer to…each other? God? Mother Nature? Whoever they are praying to, they are praying for grace, hope, guidance, and wisdom- hearing the song, I’m sure they’re praying to the Lord, even if they don’t even know it, but maybe that’s not what was initially intended for the song? Regardless of intent and motivation behind the track, this 1990s power ballad was originally recorded for the soundtrack of the cartoon movie Quest for Camelot, which in turn was loosely based upon the 1976 novel The King’s Damosel, with ‘The Prayer’ being nominated for ‘Best Original Song’ at the 1999 Academy Awards (but unfortunately lost out to Whitney Houston’s ‘When You Believe’, a song also covered by Lucy Thomas on her 3rd album Timeless).
Lucy and Martha also poignantly deliver the duet of Miley Cyrus’s ‘The Climb’, and though the original was never a duet, both Lucy and Martha powerfully trade vocals and make this song their own. They don’t stray too far from the original style and recording, but still make this song Lucy-like, as hearing this rendition of ‘The Climb’ is a powerful reminder of why I truly think (and still do) that ‘The Climb’ was Miley’s magnum opus (and crowning achievement) to date. ‘All By Myself’, originally a song recorded by Eric Carmen way back in the 1970s, was famously covered by Celine for her 1996 album Falling into You; and is again recorded by Lucy as well. The song itself is a song of lament, with the persona in the song wanting connection and camaraderie, but then acknowledging to themselves that though they don’t really want to be alone; they still believe they’re destined to be alone in life. There’s a longing to escape the feeling of loneliness as shown in the chorus, as the persona cries out ‘…all by myself, don’t wanna be all by myself anymore…’, and in this Lucy Thomas cover, we see such cries delivered with such fervent passion, intentionality, and urgency…maybe even more so than Celine’s famous cover version from the 1990s?
Lucy also presents a cover of ‘Footprints in the Sand’, originally by English singer-songwriter Leona Lewis, from her first album Spirit. Standing at a little below 4 minutes, Lucy’s powerful rendition showcases her vocals quite compellingly, as we see Lucy in her element as she delivers the high notes (of the last chorus) with much ease and grace, something that isn’t always the case with most people her age. Her current age of 18 is a reminder that age is truly a number- you can almost be forgiven to think that the age of Lucy is much higher than that of 18, especially if you’ve only heard her songs and haven’t seen her face before- that’s how refined and steady her singing voice actually is. ‘Make You Feel My Love’ (Bob Dylan), ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ (Barbara Streisand) and ‘Moon River’ (Audrey Hepburn) are all given the Lucy Thomas treatment, as Lucy delivers these tracks with such honesty and proficiency, something that is unique for a person her age. Maybe I still haven’t gotten over the fact that her ridiculously controlled vocals and enthusiastic presence can exist in the same sentence of her being 18…then again, Lucy’s music has really humbled me to not always assume that people who are young aren’t as talented as seasoned veterans. Lucy has certainly held her own in ‘Moon River’, ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ and ‘Make You Feel My Love’, and at 18, her voice is almost certainly unparalleled, maybe Jackie Evancho’s when she was 18, can rival Lucy’s now. But all in all, Jackie’s vocals and Lucy’s vocals are different in many regards- Lucy’s is suited more to Broadway, and Jackie to opera. Nevertheless, both Lucy Thomas and Jackie Evancho are both at the top of their game; and listening to both these artists have increased my own love and appreciation for movie soundtracks and musicals, which is a very good thing.
Then there’s Lucy’s most recent song, ‘Broken Dreams’. Now this song, I know next to nothing about. It’s an originally written track (I think considering that I can’t find anything about this track on google, aside from Lucy’s rendition of it), specifically for the upcoming musical of Rosie– of which I think Lucy Thomas herself will be a big part of? Maybe even play the lead of Rosie? Who knows. But what I do know, is that the four songs unveiled thus far from Rosie: The Musical (‘Suddenly’ and ‘Starlight’ from Premiere, ‘Gentle Breeze’ from Encore, now this new song ‘Broken Dreams’) are powerful and poignant, enjoyable, and compelling. The song itself speaks about a persona (maybe the character that Lucy is singing from the perspective of) who is longing to break through expections and resurrect broken dreams, for themselves and others, but then now realises that all that is left are indeed broken dreams, that nothing can rise from the brokenness that has occurred in their life thus far. Profound lyrics, right? ‘Broken Dreams’ is by far my favourite song from Rosie thus far, and as more songs are unveiled as the premiere year of 2024 draws closer (I’m assuming that Lucy will somehow be involved, actor-wise, in its initial first run in Britain), I’m sure Lucy herself will cover these songs on subsequent albums. Maybe I’ll find another song that I enjoy from the upcoming Rosie musical, in the upcoming year ahead?
Lucy’s music is a blessing for anyone who has heard her music. And while Lucy is still a relatively unknown artist in the music community at large, her recent new album Timeless (from September last year), as well as her songs throughout 2022 that make up Destiny, can hopefully change that. We are reminded that talent like Lucy’s only comes around once in a lifetime- you have the artists of yesteryear, like Etta James, Eva Cassidy, Barbra Streisand, and Aretha Franklin, and while it can create a big hole in music when artists of that calibre pass away, the sting it leaves, becomes less and less, knowing that an artist like Lucy Thomas is here, presenting music in virtually the same calibre of quality as these artists aforementioned. It’s not easy to sing covers by Aerosmith, Lewis Capaldi, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Leona Lewis and Lady Gaga, with such precision and enthusiasm at such a ripe ol’ age of 18, and if anyone has the capabilities of that, then they’re just blessed by God, full stop. And that, in and of itself, should be reason enough for anyone to check out Lucy’s work, at least once, right?
Lucy’s music has been instrumental in my own life, as I’ve revisited my own appreciation for 1990s ballads, familiar pop songs of the 2000s, and has reawakened my own continual appreciation of musicals- and hopefully me being able to check out a few more musical films in the months and years to come, has been because of me listening to an artist like Lucy. Is that too far-fetched of an assumption? Maybe. Maybe I can watch movies/stage productions like Hamilton, A Star is Born and Newsies in the upcoming year ahead? Musicals have a way of telling a story through song, that many other movies (non-musicals) cannot, as we’re reminded that songs in general have the ability to showcase deep and poignant feelings a person may have, that may only find it comfortable to sing about- they are given permission to discuss various issues through song, that they believe they can’t, when it’s just them talking about it.
Listening to Lucy and her beautifully arranged covers of songs from the 1990s (and 1980s) to now; reminds me of the wide world of songs from movies and songs from musicals, that I still don’t know about, that I want to know about in years to come. Maybe I can hopefully watch the iconic ones soon- Wicked, Cats, Jersey Boys, Rent, Mamma Mia… those ones that people generally know. And if it is somehow by a Lucy Thomas song that has reawakened my very own appreciation of that particular style of music, then that is a good thing. If I’ve realised that musicals aren’t as ‘foreign’ or ‘different’ as what I thought of them to be, through such an artist as Lucy, then I guess her music, and her ability to deliver powerful ballads at such a young age, is something to be respected, admired and honoured for what it is- something used by God in order for us to see far beyond our very own music bubbles we submerse our whole lives in. Well done Lucy for all of the song renditions on Destiny (and on Timeless, Encore and Premiere too!). Can’t wait to what is in store for you next…maybe some collaborations with artists like Josh Groban, Peter Hollens, Jackie Evancho and Penatonix in the future? Whatever the case, Destiny (through the videos and standalone singles) needs to be heard pronto, and on repeat if you can. An artist like Lucy ought not to be ignored any more. And Premiere, Encore, Timeless and Destiny can remind us of this very fact, that you don’t have to be too young to know that you have something to say.
3 songs to listen to: Wind Beneath My Wings, All By Myself, Footprints in the Sand
RIYL: Jackie Evancho, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Jeff Buckley