British duo Sera and Frankie form indie pop band Unsung Lilly. They carry a Florence + the Machine sound with Adele-worthy lyrics, but a bit lighter in both respects — in an amazing, transformative way, don’t worry. In listening to their music, it feels as though there is a constant current of big ideas and beliefs. It’s easy to see what is important to these two, and they make you want to jump on board with them and partake in their musical discussions.

I got the chance to speak with the band about their experiences, inspirations, and more.

Unsung Lilly

Germ Magazine: Hello, and thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Let’s start with how you got into music. When did you know this was something you could and wanted to pursue?

Sera: I got into music properly when I was around 14 years old. I started doing a part-time music course every Saturday, and I immediately fell in love. I knew I’d be singing forever! I remember being blown away when the teacher talked to us about “when we became professional singers,” and I was so excited at the thought that it was even an option! As for songwriting, that came a lot later for me. I dabbled with it when I was younger, but it was only really five years ago that I suddenly had this overwhelming urge to write, and not writing just wasn’t an option anymore!

Frankie: I have always been musical! As a child, I was always making up songs all the time. I had four brothers who were all musical, and parents who loved listening to music at any given chance, so I always had music around me. It wasn’t until I was ready to go to University that I realised I could go and study music — so I jumped at the chance. I had no idea what I was going to do before then — so finding out I could study music was like the missing piece of the puzzle.


GM: Where do you find inspiration for your music?

Sera: Everywhere and everything. Every song comes from a different place! Both of us seem to find inspiration from the weirdest of places. I have this habit of getting inspiration whilst food shopping…I have written two songs recently where I was shopping, had all this imagery and/or words come to me, and I’d have to sit in my car and write the song there and then before I forgot it all! I think it’s quite often when I’m doing something where my brain has a bit of a rest and isn’t “thinking” too much.

Frankie: Mostly from listening to other music and taking inspiration from every day life. I love just sitting down at an instrument and messing around — and most of the time the best songs come from that!


GM: I know you moved from Brighton to Los Angeles not too long ago and even travel in-between. What led to this change for you?

Sera: It was all a bit of a destiny trail really. One day we just got this urge to go to a big music conference in Hollywood…It was only in a few weeks time, but we decided to do it, so we rather whimsically headed over there for a week and loved it! While we were there, we met a guy called Wayne Vaughn (Earth Wind & Fire, Brothers Johnson), and he said we should come back to LA one day and work with him. The minute we got on that plane to fly back home, we knew we would have to go back! So…it took 6 months or so, but we ended up moving over there for a year, being mentored by Wayne, and working with some amazing people! We experimented with loads of different sounds whilst we were there, but strangely it was only when we got back to the UK that we found the sound for our new EP… So I feel like the new music is almost a blend of the two: the life experience and lyrical content has come from our time in LA, and the sound has come from the UK!


GM: I like to highlight females in the music industry because they so often aren’t recognized and respected as their male counterparts. What has been your experience?

Sera: I think it’s been difficult for women in the industry, but I guess it’s mirrored by how it’s been difficult for women in general, in life. We are all influenced from such a young age by the media that women should be a certain way; as women, we are force-fed this idea that our value comes from either being physically attractive and/or being a caregiver/mother, and I guess being in the music industry as a woman is an exaggerated version of that. It’s very hard to ignore the fact that people expect you to look perfect, forever looking like a 16-year-old, and if you have too much to say then you get labeled as “angry,” but then also they want you to have something to say so you’re of interest to people. It’s a tricky balance! I would love to see a new music industry evolve where we have a more representation from strong, real women in the mainstream. I guess they’ve always been around in the background, but it would be great to have younger girls (and boys) exposed to women that aren’t being made to lie about their age, airbrush their photos and who can empower the younger generations. The world would be a very different place in the future.

Frankie: It’s weird playing instruments like drums, and producing etc.; people don’t tend to take you seriously, until they hear you. They assume that you’re not brilliant at it, and you have to work harder to prove yourself. You have to just believe in yourself and know your worth — as long as you do that, people will see your brilliance shine through.


UNSUNG LILLY-2GM: Those are great points. Your newest EP, Walls, was released recently. What can you tell us about that? What can new listeners expect?

Frankie: Walls is a four-track EP. It includes lots of epic vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and builds in emotion and tension. We really hope you love it!

Sera: Lyrically there’s some personal/emotional tracks on there, and some inspirational songs too. We loved playing around with the new sound of this record; it’s very different from our older music.


GM: Do you have any advice for young writers and creators?

Sera: My advice is to just allow it to come and get it out to the world without fear. Don’t try to make it perfect, because it never will be — nothing ever is. Think of your creations as a snapshot of where you are at this moment in time; sure, you will grow and get better at it, and you may be afraid that in a few months you’ll look back and realise you could have done better, but that doesn’t mean that what you’ve done isn’t of value. If you can create something that is an honest portrayal of where you’re at right now, it will undoubtedly connect with other people who are in a similar place. For me, that’s what creativity is all about; it’s this magical force that connects us all together. It inspires and it heals, and it comes to us for a reason. When inspiration hits, we are so lucky that its come to us, so honour it and let it manifest into whatever it wants to. If you write a song, or whatever it is that you’re creating, and it affects or inspires just one person, then you’ve done your job as a creator (even if that person is you!).

Frankie: Do your thing!! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just see what comes out. You never know, you might love it! And there’s no wrong or right answer when it comes to creating.


GM: That’s really great advice! Finally, where can we find you and your music?

Sera: You can find us at our website, and you can buy our music here.

Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.


GM: Thanks again for doing this! I, personally, can’t wait to see what comes next from you.


Check out Unsung Lilly’s single “Walls”:

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