The Scotsman Sessions #332: Lizzie Reid

Welcome to the Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts sector still impacted by the pandemic, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, singer/songwriter Lizzie Reid performs the song Bible, which appears on her Scottish Album of the Year Award shortlisted EP Cubicle

Love, excitement, anxiety. The three words Lizzie Reid volunteers to describe her new EP Mooching – which she in turn refers to as her “second child”. Her first child – the Cubicle EP – touched on similar sentiments. The title track was so called after her habit of locking herself in cubicles when she was struggling with anxiety and the full EP was inspired by a break-up.

Recorded just before the first Covid lockdown and released early in 2021, it went on to make the shortlist for last year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award, a significant vote of confidence for this young singer/songwriter who initially cut her teeth playing in bands around Glasgow before going solo and acoustic, exercising her love of Stevie Nicks, PJ Harvey and Laura Marling and racking up support slots with Paolo Nutini and Arlo Parks, and recent appearances at the Latitude and Connect festivals.

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While her musical prospects are bright, Reid has had a turbulent ride with her mental health. “Lockdown was a tumultuous period, to say the least,” she says. “Generally it was incredibly difficult for artists and musicians. Our purpose in life was stripped away from us, not to mention the financial burden it brought on those of us who relied on live music to earn a living.

“For me, lockdown, along with other contributing factors, caused a slow but steady downward spiral. The isolation provided too much time and space for my brain to latch on to things I hadn’t given much thought to prior to this point in my life. These troubling thoughts intensified until I reached breaking point. I had a panic attack, which quickly lead to another, and another, and another. It was relentless, and I still can’t believe it took me so long to seek help and figure out there was something inside of me that needed some attention.”

Reid has since been diagnosed with OCD and confronts her mental health issues on Mooching’s five songs. “I can express feelings of fear and anxiety in a way that’s hard to do in real life,” she says. “Soda Pop Stream is an example. It’s written about what it’s like to have a panic attack at a dinner table and it actually works to make me feel empowered and even jovial about these moments!”

Elsewhere on the EP, How Do I Show My Love, written on piano rather than her usual guitar, addresses the effects of her panic attacks on relationships, while Warpaint, co-written with Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit), is about dancing away the heartache of seeing an old crush with a new flame. Her Scotsman Sessions selection, Bible, is another EP track, filmed up close and personal in the kitchen of her parents’ flat in Glasgow.

“I wrote it at a time in my life that I now look back on with such warmth and longing,” says Reid. “It was written at the start of lockdown, when staying indoors was a novelty, there was still an air of hopefulness and we were naïve about what was in store for us. It breaks my heart a little thinking back on it.”

The Mooching EP is out now on sevenfoursevensix. Lizzie Reid plays The Caves, Edinburgh on 25 October, and Oran Mor, Glasgow on 10 December,