Lail Arad's Tour Diary, Part III: Sea Urchins and Peach Wine

Lail Arad
Lail Arad, one of our new favorite singer-songwriters, is a London-based gal who sings lovely-folky songs with funny names like "Everyone Is Moving to Berlin" (listen to it here) and "The Pay You Have to Price." She first came to our attention through her dad, the legendary designer/artist/architect Ron Arad, an old friend of PAPER editor Kim Hastreiter, and we are newly obsessed. Her debut album Someone New is out this month, and she'll be regaling us with her tales from the road here on Here's her third installment.

There were local council elections in France. You can have a look at the picture and see which of the two Marie-Josés you would have voted for in Ajaccio. The Corsicans have a reputation of being a little, well, coarse. I'm pleased to say they did not live up to this stereotype and were charming through and through -- very helpful when you're lost walking down a dark winding road, extra knowledgeable about local and migrating birds, and awfully good at choosing for you when you don't understand the menu. Sea urchins (halved, raw) are the seasonal Sunday brunch delicacy, and I suggest you try that with the peach wine.

I had some doubts after the show in Ajaccio. It's very easy to get carried along by your own plans, your own hype, your grand decisions. The songs are getting better with each show, the musicians tighter, I'm increasingly relaxed... but testing it out night after night on a tour like this, in different venues, to different people -- it brings up a lot of questions. One night you're in a rock venue, the next in a seated theater. One night you're playing to industry hipsters, the next it's full of locals. How much should you adapt to suit a room, to respond to a crowd? Should you tailor your set list, your performance, your outfit, to win over each audience as best you can? Maybe. Or should you stick to your act as strong as The Sex Pistols and fuck whoever doesn't get it? Probably. And should you air out these thoughts publicly in Paper Magazine? Probably not.

And so many more questions pecking away. But as confusing as it is, I'm glad the tour is feeling like an ongoing process rather than a polished presentation. To be perfectly happy with what you're doing and stop looking for ways to improve it must get pretty boring. It's hard to fall asleep at night, it's even harder to wake up for the next day's travel, but it forces you to think about who you are and what you do (or what you're trying to do... or should try next) in a way that playing to your regular circles in your natural habitat just doesn't push you towards. And luckily just when your mind is about to explode, you find yourself with two days off in Corsica to stroll along the empty beach and mull it all over while at least one of the Marie-José's wins the local elections. 

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