She and the other members of chart-topping electropop trio London Grammar were due to headline a festival in New South Wales following a US tour, before heading straight to Japan the next day and then back to the US.
“I just didn’t turn up at the airport,” the 27-year- old recalls, matter of factly. “Now we look back on it and laugh, but at the time it was bad …”
It was the moment she realised she and the band had hit rock bottom and were facing total meltdown.
A year earlier London Grammar’s debut album If You Wait was a global hit. The beautiful collection of soaring electronic balladry sold more than two million copies, won an Ivor Novello award and was anointed iTunes’ Album of the Year.
Having met fellow band members Dan Rothman and Dot Major at Nottingham University the trio went from rehearsing in an old garage to supporting Coldplay, headlining the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury before taking Australia by storm.
But all that was about to come crashing down and with all the travelling, came an unravelling. Looking back Reid says it was a predicable fall and one that had been coming for a while.
The band postponed further dates for reasons publicly announced as “illness” and “vocal fatigue”. “The exhaustion really kicked in for me after a year,” says Reid, a friendly but unshowy frontwoman.
Her battle with stage fright has been widely reported, but the effects of success were physical as well as mental.
She said; “I spent the second year pretty much just hanging by a thread – I didn’t really know what was wrong with me. Then I just got used to feeling that way and I was like: ‘I must have some kind of illness, I must have chronic fatigue syndrome.’
“I got tested for a whole bunch of stuff, it got kind of weird. My liver wasn’t working properly even though I was completely teetotal.” She added: “The thing about touring is that young artists don’t always have much say or control.
“You’re quite naive. You say: ‘Yeah, I want to do everything.’ And you want to please everyone. You’re so grateful, but you get sick at some point because everyone does.
“But then you have to cancel stuff, and then that has to get rescheduled. It can very quickly go from being manageable to snowballing into the kind of schedule that can end up wrecking your voice.
“That first year was a whirlwind. You’re just holding on for dear life and stage fright became a big issue for me. “It will never go away – and I understand that now – but as long as I know that I’ve got that time to kind of recover, then my stage fright isn’t actually as bad,”
“But the worst thing about it, is disappointing the fans,” she pauses. “We’re going to do things differently this time.
“It’s a classic love song,” says Reid. “But it’s also about loneliness within a relationship, and the difficulty of being in a relationship and on the road.” Although she’s not keen to speak about it, you sense it is a nod to the fact she split from her long-term boyfriend between the two albums while Bones Of Ribbon was written specifically about the difficulties the band faced.
“It’s about coming home from being on the road and suffering from pretty bad exhaustion,” says Reid. “I had this really weird recurring dream where I couldn’t find Dan and Dot in the desert, and the lyrics kind of embodied that.”
Other standouts are the heavy, beautiful Oh Woman Oh Man and the album’s title track. “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing is really similar to If You Wait – it just came out in half an hour,” says Reid of her devastating piano ballad.
“I didn’t necessarily know what it was about, it was just pure self-expression. Maybe it’s about everything we’ve been though as a band.
“I think we just had to re-find being a band again, all three of us had changed a lot as musicians over the years but we didn’t really sort of speak about it – we just kind of did it.
We managed to put things into perspective – without that you become very lost.”
Forget all the awards and the huge worldwide sales, deep down London Grammar are still that same bunch of friends in the garage, back doing what comes naturally and what they love doing..
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