Lily Allen stopped music after string of traumatic events but anticipates return

Lily Allen moved to the US after marrying David Harbour (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)
Lily Allen moved to the US after marrying David Harbour (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)

Lily Allen has said she is not in a space where she can write music yet but believes it will “reveal itself at some point”.

The singer and actress, 38, said she “struggled to write music” after the stillbirth of her son George, her stalking ordeal and her divorce to Sam Cooper, but that she has not ruled out returning to music.

She told the Financial Times magazine: “Those were huge events and they just consumed me for such a long time, and when I sat down to write songs, how could I not write about those things?

“They were obviously dying to come out, but no-one wants to hear songs about that.”

She continued: “Acting is what I’m doing at the moment, it’s a big thing in recovery that you take one day at a time and you don’t try to have any grand aspirations too far down the line, because that’s what gets you into trouble.

“I do think I’ll do music again. But I think I can do it on my own terms now. I’m not in a space where I can write yet, but I think that’ll reveal itself at some point.”

The Smile and Not Fair singer, who found fame in the early noughties and has released four studio albums, said she felt that during her 20s “everything I put out into the world would always come back at me”.

She said: “Everything I did, even the most positive thing, I thought about through the prism of ‘how does a tabloid journalist take this and twist it to hurt me?’

“I don’t think I’ve ever really lost that. I think the only way to escape it, at that time, was drugs and alcohol. I did my fair share of those, for a long time. I don’t have those crutches any more.”

She said after a long time in the limelight, it “all got too much”.

Since her marriage to Stranger Things actor David Harbour in 2020, Allen has performed on the West End stage in 2:22 A Ghost Story, appeared in Sky series Dreamland and will next be seen in the West End’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s Olivier Award-winning comedy The Pillowman.

Allen will star as a writer whose gruesome fairy tales appear to have directly inspired a series of child murders in the play which premiered at the National Theatre in 2003, and on Broadway in 2005.

She said: “The dialogue is really funny. It’s dark and sick and twisted in the way that I am. There are things I related to in terms of being an artist who has faced scrutiny and felt the weight of constant interrogation.

“Socially and politically there is something going on in this play that is important for our time, in terms of freedom of expression and cancel culture.

“I certainly feel stifled, creatively, in terms of my own writing.”

After marrying Harbour and moving to the US, she said she felt “completely rejected by the music industry” and described herself as “weepy” thinking about how she would spend her time in New York – four weeks later she was in rehearsals for a 2:22 A Ghost Story.

Speaking of her terror of opening night, she said: “I thought there was absolutely no way there was going to be any good response to it.

“I was convinced it was going to be awful. When the first positive review came out, I was just flabbergasted.

“The whole thing was bizarre.”