Lyra on ‘looking skeletal’ and ‘being miserable’ trying to conform to industry stereotypes

Cork singer Lyra has opened up about how she was “miserable” and looked “skeletal” earlier in her career after being subjected to a lot of “stereotyping” from some people within the music industry.

he admitted to being racked with self-doubt at the start of her musical career but found the confidence to be herself and also succeed in music.

Speaking to Irish Country Magazine, the 29-year-old Falling singer recounted her struggles when she started out, starving herself and feeling self-conscious.

“When I was starting off in my career, I found it very hard because I felt like I had to be in this mould, this box. The people I would meet [at the record labels] were very much like, ‘Who are you? What lane are you in? We think you should be this.’ Or a lot of: ‘You should have dark hair and pale skin, you’re Irish’. That kind of stereotyping,” she told the magazine.

“I was taking their advice because they were high-up people and I thought they knew what they were saying. I was miserable. I lost a lot of weight.

“Looking back at photos and my videos, I looked skeletal and I was so unhappy. My mom owned a restaurant for 26 years and I love eating, so it was unnatural for me,” the singer said.

It wasn’t just body confidence issues the Bandon native had to overcome, but also doubts about her own voice.

“I sing with my Irish accent, and they would say, ‘we can’t really understand some of your diction’, so I felt really self-conscious about my body, about my vocals and when all that comes to you, you’re like, ‘am I supposed to be here, am I supposed to be a singer?’.

“Because everything that I’m doing seems to be wrong – but it wasn’t wrong. It was something they didn’t want and I didn’t have the confidence at that time to be myself.

“So, I suppose I just had to make that decision. Do I keep going down this road and be absolutely miserable? I’m a bit of a rebel, being from Cork, so I decided, no. We’re not built to be in boxes, we’re all humans, we’re all different shapes, different sizes, different sexualities, different nationalities.

“I don’t feel like we all need to be in this tick-box situation,” she said.

In recent years the singer, born Laura McNamara, has grown a huge following in Ireland and further afield. Her music has featured in Love Island and Grey’s Anatomy.

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In a recent interview with the Sunday Independent, Lyra said she doesn’t “have to ever have to apologise for being myself”.


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