Five Minutes With: Lily Allen

The British pop star reveals her Canadian crush, the one thing she’d never sing about, and her only career regret

Lily Allen

U.K. singer-songwriter Lily Allen burst onto the pop scene in 2006 with her debut album, Alright, Still, winning fans the world over with her charmingly incongruous combo of teacup-dainty trill and irreverent, often profane lyrics—remember “Smile”? After her 2009 follow-up, It’s Not Me, It’s You, she went on hiatus, got married and had two kids; now, happily, she’s back in the game, singing about bloggers, sexism and pop divas on her third album, Sheezus. She’s just finished touring with Miley Cyrus, and now she’s gearing up for a North American solo tour, which includes stops in Montreal (Sept. 27), Toronto (Sept. 28) and Vancouver (Oct. 5). On a day off—between running errands with her one-year-old daughter, Marnie, and baking carrot cake with Ethel (almost three)—the rainbow-haired star took five for a chat with FLARE.

Are you looking forward to coming to Canada?

Very much so! I actually used to live in Toronto because my mom [film producer Alison Owen] made a couple of movies over there in the ’90s. One of my biggest fans is Canadian; she emails me all the time and sends gifts to my children, she’s lovely.

What are your favourite songs to perform from Sheezus?

“Sheezus” and “Hard Out Here,” because they’re most representative of me, and people really connect with them. The crowds love them.

In “Sheezus” you name-check Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lorde and Lady Gaga, then sing: “Give me that crown, bitch, I wanna be Sheezus.” Which of those divas has the crown?

I think each and every one of them! That’s really the whole point of it.

The song has actually been criticized because there doesn’t have to be one Sheezus. Your video for “Hard Out Here” got some heat as well. Do you feel like your work is misunderstood?

I don’t really think that’s relevant. You write a song and you know what the intention is, and the way that somebody interprets it—sometimes I think it says more about them than it does about the person who wrote it.

Of your peers in the music industry, who do you admire most?

Drake! I think he’s amazing. I like his lyrics, and he’s sexy!

You’ve written lyrics about doing drugs, having bad sex and getting your period. Is there anything you’d never sing about?

My children. If I were to write songs about them and put them out there I’d essentially be making them public property, and they’re not old enough for that. Once you’ve ventured into that world you can’t really go back. I just don’t agree with putting them in the limelight at all because they don’t understand it. I have trouble explaining to my kids what a camera is, never mind why there are 25 guys chasing me down the street.

You famously wrote a song about your brother, Alfie, imploring him to “get a job.” He did, of course—playing Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. If you wrote a new song about him now, what would you say in it?

I wouldn’t write a song about him now! It wouldn’t be fair of me to do so—it wasn’t fair of me to do so in the beginning. When I wrote that song I didn’t know anyone was going to hear it, it was before I was well known. I would take that one back if I could!

Is there anything else in your career that you would take back?