Where are all the good men? asks UK singer-songwriter Lucinda Belle in her latest single, a jazz-inspired pop song about the perils of dating in the digital era. In real life though it’s a different story: Belle lives happily in San Francisco with her own “good guy”; a man she “jumped the pond for” some 18 months ago.
The move had its challenges: “Transitioning is never easy, because it involves rapid growth and growth, although it’s good for you, can be difficult.”
But she’s now found her feet in the Golden City, a place where the people are “free-thinkers” and music aficionados.
“In terms of the music scene, San Francisco ain’t no LA,” she says. “In fact, it’s more like London, with different pockets that need to be discovered. The great thing is people here are very open minded. I’d say that Americans have an in-built genuine appreciation for music and that’s really nice to observe.”
Setting up in a new city, in a new country is just one of the many feats the ever resourceful Belle has achieved in her career. In the past she’s made ends meet by teaching music, running the family’s laundry business and working as a harpist-for-hire for the likes of Annie Lennox, The Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Jay Z, Jarvis Cocker and Robbie Williams.
“I’ve learnt from every artist I’ve played with,” she says. “Robbie Williams stood out for his skill as an entertainer and Jarvis Cocker for being quite simply an intelligent, fascinating and highly unique musical genius.”
She’s had highs (an Oscar nomination in 2015 for Best Song with Going Nowhere, which featured in the Johnny Depp film For No Good Reason) and lows (she signed a mega-deal with a major label but was later dropped).
She admits she now has a “tough skin” and, like everyone else, has had to adapt to changes in the industry.
“When I started out it was the labels that dominated, now it’s the online streamers that can make or break you,” she says. “Music has become far more democratised but the question we all ask ourselves is ‘how do we get heard above the noise?’.”
She advises other artists to be entrepreneurial – “you need to be the marketeer, the branding guru, the content creator and the graphics designer” – but stay true to their creative instincts. “Be original, unafraid and consistent. Above all else, never forget you are in control of your own destiny.”
Where Have All The Good Men Gone is out now. Belle’s new album Think Big: Like Me is out in December.