Lilla Vargen is not a morning person. She is, however, an artist to add to your current playlist immediately: with a hauntingly beautiful voice that has seen her be named one of Virgin Money’s Emerging Stars of 2021, Lilla’s brand of ‘sad-pop’ is set to blow up over the coming months.
For now, however, she’s locked down like the rest of us; spending a large amount of the past year at home with family in Northern Ireland and filling her days with music, coffee, and invigorating walks. Here she shares with us an average day in her lockdown life – and how it compares to her old ‘normal’.
I wake up, not quite sure what’s going on around me, and immediately snooze my alarm. People say you should put your phone out of reach at night so that you have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm. But I’m never going to be the kind of person that does that.
After half an hour of hitting the snooze button, I get up. Mornings are difficult for me (can you tell?) so I roll into the bathroom where I take a shower to wake myself up a bit. I’m a self-confessed product junkie, and I love doing my skincare routine each morning. I love Charlotte Tilbury; in the winter my skin can get dry, and her Magic Cream is super rich and moisturising. I also – obviously – love Glossier skincare. But who doesn’t?
I throw on some gym clothes. When I’m in London, my days are normally busy with songwriting sessions and lots of travelling about – so I would plan my outfits the night before to save time. But at the moment, like much of the rest of the world, I’m prioritising comfort.
Coffee time. I miss my favourite cafe in London, The Hoarder in West Brompton, but for now I make do with a homemade skinny latte. I pour it into a reusable cup and head out for a walk. I try to get out as soon as I can each day; being outside every morning, feeling the wind in my hair – it’s the ultimate stress reliever. I feel totally free.
I am a dedicated carb-lover, so for breakfast I grab some toast and a banana. Pre-pandemic, this is usually the time I would start a songwriting session, spending the day in a studio either by myself or with someone else. These days, I’m doing this at home instead, working with writers and producers over Zoom.
I work through to lunch, when I take a quick break to grab some food. In London, I tend to nip to Leon for a wrap. It’s a classic for a reason. At home however, I make something quick and easy and head back to work.
Sometimes, I’m super productive all day. Today is not one of those days, and I start to feel the dreaded imposter syndrome creep in. On days like this, it’s hard to quieten the voice in my head telling me I can’t sing, I can’t write songs… When this happens, I turn to artists I admire for motivation. I put on a playlist packed with upbeat songs I love, and let the feelings of uncertainty about myself wash away.
I finish up for the day. Since the pandemic began, I haven’t been playing live shows, so my days end much earlier than they used to. In 2019, I was lucky enough to tour with Dermot Kennedy, which was an incredible experience. We were on the road for two months, seeing so many different cities and countries – with lots of late nights, of course. These days, things are a little bit different, and my evenings tend to look the same every day. I put some dinner on – an easy pasta bake – and relax.
I watch an episode of The Queen’s Gambit, which I’m currently loving, while I eat dinner. Anna Taylor Joy [who plays the show’s protagonist, Beth] is just fantastic. I love TV that’s really gripping; it helps me zone out and decompress after the day. Sometimes that might be a thriller, other times it’s fluffy escapism like Emily In Paris.
Just as I’m starting to relax, I remember my inbox is full of emails I need to reply to. I spend an hour working through these, all the while kicking myself for not getting to them earlier in the day. I often use the evenings for this kind of admin stuff – which unfortunately also means I tend to go to bed later than I would like.
I listen to some relaxing music while I do my evening skincare routine. My cleanser is by Image Skincare, which I use to take off my makeup. After the stress of late night emails, I pamper myself with a sheet mask by Garnier, and follow that with the Charlotte Tilbury Night Cream.