SINGER Lily Allen has spoken out about the challenges of juggling the music business with motherhood.
Lily lives near Cranham with her husband Sam and two little girls two-year-old Ethel Mary, and one-year-old Marnie Rose.
After a three-year break she’s returned to the music scene with singles Hard Out Here and Air Balloon, ahead of her eagerly awaited third album which due out in May.
In an interview published in the March issue of Elle magazine, Lily said that the whole album is about “female empowerment – being a mum and doing the right thing”.
She admits to leading a double life.
“I’m two people. I’m Lily Allen the singer and music person. And Lily Cooper the wife and mother.”
The return to the spotlight has been challenging.
“I hate speaking about myself in the third person, but it’s helpful here. Lily Allen has found it quite difficult and stressful trying to reconnect. And Lily Cooper is happy because she’s not sitting at home playing with toys and speaking with two human beings that can’t speak back, there was a void. I’m a creative person. I like to speak my mind. Making music is the perfect vehicle for that.”
Motherhood and the urge for a settled home life were the main reasons she left music, but not the only ones.
“By the end I was physically and mentally exhausted,” she said. “I wanted to concentrate on making a family. I love my kids but I’m not the sort of person who can sit at home and look after them all day.”
She described how her mother had to work when Lily was young, after she separated from Lily’s father, actor Keith Allen who lives in Minchinhampton.
“In my head I thought I’m not going to be like that. But it’s not like that.”
The single Hard Out Here kicked up a storm with its feminist message and accusations of racism.
“People read into things so much,” she said. “It’s a blessing and a curse. That’s why music and film industry interviews that people do are boring. I can’t sing the middle-of-the-road stuff. I can’t write it. Everything comes from me.”
Lily, 28, also is not immune to the pressure of maintaining her image.
She said: “It’s hard to go back to being a pop star. It’s difficult to try to be perfect. I felt quite brave shooting the Hard Out Here video. In my past videos, I’ve starved myself for days to get into a good enough shape. But in this one, I was wearing leggings and a tight T-shirt. You can see the bulge. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but I felt very strongly that I wanted to do that. Because I’m a woman now, and I have two babies and I don’t want to hide it. I could be skinny if I wanted to by exercising a lot but I just don’t have the time right now. Every second I’m not working I’m spending with my children.”
“For me to take another extra hour and half out of my day to get thin, I’m not doing it.
“Women are still expected to sit there and look pretty, And not talk.
“So often when women say things that are ‘outspoken’, or as I call it ‘just saying things’ people jump on that and try to make us look stupid for having an opinion. That doesn’t happen to men.”