Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Actress, Music Star, & Author Lucy Marie Walsh Is Helping To Change Our World
…That is the takeaway that I want every reader to have. I want this to inspire you to ask more questions of your elders and of your loved ones, while we still have each other. Once we’re gone, we’re gone, and so much is lost. I don’t think we speak to each other enough, I don’t think we’re curious enough about each other, about ourselves. But I do know that we all share one important thing, and that is this ache to understand who we are and where we’ve come from. And that takes some digging. So I really hope that this book is inspiring in that way.
I had the pleasure of talking with Lucy Marie Walsh. Lucy is a multifaceted American artist known for her talents in acting, music, and songwriting. Born in Santa Barbara, California, Lucy’s artistic journey was influenced by her rich musical heritage. She is the daughter of Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh and Juanita “Jody” Boyer, making her part of a family where music and performance were daily languages. Lucy’s uncle is Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr, and her grandmother was a pianist for the New York City Ballet, adding layers to her musical lineage.
Walsh’s passion for music and acting was evident from an early age. Growing up in Montecito, California, she was surrounded by natural beauty and a supportive family that nurtured her creative pursuits. Despite the fame of her family, Lucy’s upbringing was grounded, with her mother ensuring a normal childhood far from the glitz of the music industry. This balance allowed Lucy to cultivate her passion for the arts authentically.
Lucy’s music career is marked by classical training in piano, which laid the foundation for her evolution as a singer and songwriter. Her talents were recognized early on, leading to her signing with major labels like Island Def Jam, where industry giants like Jay-Z spotted her potential. Lucy has shared stages with renowned artists such as Maroon 5, OneRepublic, and Bruno Mars, showcasing her ability to captivate audiences worldwide. Her performances on national television and contributions to albums across genres highlight her versatility and wide appeal.
In addition to her music career, Lucy has made significant strides in acting. Her Shakespearean roles, including Ariel in “The Tempest” and Cleopatra in “Antony and Cleopatra,” have earned her critical acclaim and nominations, showcasing her range and dedication to her craft. Her acting extends to television and film, with notable appearances in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Criminal Minds,” and the film “Mother’s Day,” where her original song “Winter Coat” was featured.
Her collaborative podcast, “The Lucy and Annabel Show,” with Annabel Jones, provides insights into her personality and relationships, further connecting with her audience on a personal level. This venture showcases Lucy’s adaptability and willingness to explore different mediums to express her creativity.
Lucy Walsh’s journey is a testament to the power of heritage, passion, and hard work in shaping a dynamic and successful career in the arts. Her ability to seamlessly transition between music and acting, all while maintaining a genuine connection with her audience, sets her apart as a true artist of her time.
Yitzi: It’s an honor to meet you. Before we dive in deep, our readers would love to learn about your fascinating origin story. Can you please share the story of your childhood and how you grew up?
Lucy: I grew up in Montecito, California, which is a small town in Santa Barbara by the beach. I was born at home; my mom had a midwife and no drugs, so she gave me a great beginning at life, and I really appreciate that. I grew up in the Malibu Mountains area through high school, and I had a very normal childhood, thanks to my mom. I have a family of musicians on both sides; my grandmothers and my father are musicians, so, I grew up around a lot of music, and just knew from five years old that I was gonna do what I loved, which was singing, acting, hopefully write a book one day. Those loves have taken me many places.
My mom wouldn’t let me have a career until I was 16; she said I couldn’t get into an acting class until then. But on that day, if I still wanted to, she would help me.
On my 16th birthday, I handed her the phone and had her enroll me in an acting class, and that’s when I started pursuing a career as an entertainer. My dad is an entertainer, but I didn’t see him much when I was young; he was off on the road, and my parents were divorced. So, I had a stepfather; I call him my “Jim Dad” — I’ve been fortunate enough to have two fathers in my life. My mom kept me very far away from the world of music. I didn’t really know who my Joe dad was until he got back with the Eagles when I was 12 years old, and then my life changed, I realized that my dad was somebody pretty well-known. That was a very bizarre experience at 12 years old.
Yitzi: That’s beautiful. So, you mentioned that you started with acting rather than music. Can you tell us how that started, what the process was, and how you got your first gig?
Lucy: Yeah, I remember being five years old and watching Vivien Leigh on the screen, and I kind of pointed at the screen and said, ‘That’s what I am; I want to do that.’ I didn’t really know what that was except that I was very drawn to it on a soul level. I’ve heard of other actors having that experience. I just heard Mark Ruffalo talking about seeing Marlon Brando in a film when he was about the same age, and he had the same kind of epiphany. So, that was it for me; I never questioned things after that. Acting has always been my purpose at the deepest level.
When I was 10 years old, my mom took me to see “The Nutcracker” ballet, and I saw the lead role of Clara on that stage, and as a 10-year-old kid, I looked at her, and again, kind of pointed up and said, ‘I’m gonna do that.’ I had my mom enroll me in ballet, and I danced my way through to age 17 when I got that role and danced “The Nutcracker” at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. Acting was incorporated there; it was an acting role.
The other acting experience I had as a child was when my Jim Dad was managing an ’80s hair band called Baton Rouge, and they put me in the video for their song “Walks Like a Woman.” I got to be the little girl; you can see it on YouTube. I felt so alive in front of that camera. I went up to the director when my work was done, and I kind of pulled on his pant leg; I was like seven years old, and I said, ‘I’m ready for my next shot.’
I’ve just always been obsessed with acting; that’s just never changed for me.
Yitzi: Fascinating. So, how did you transition to the music industry as well?
Lucy: Like I said, I grew up in music; it was always very natural to me. I had both sides of being a musician; I had the ear training, theory, and sight-reading. I always kind of took it for granted; I love music, but it’s not what really lit my fire like acting ever did. When I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue music and acting, so I moved to Hollywood. My dad always said, ‘If you want to do this, I’m not going to pick up the phone for you; you’re going to go out and find it.’ I’m so grateful he did that because I did. All I knew to do was to go to concerts at clubs and introduce myself to other musicians, and that’s what I started to do. Through that, I became friends with great people and touring came together. Then, I got my own record deal; I was signed by Jay-Z to Island Def Jam. I’ve toured all over the world, had songs on the radio, sung for presidents, performed at the biggest venues, opened for Maroon 5…wild times.
And acting has always been a part of that. For instance, I did a film in 2016 called “Mother’s Day,” directed by Garry Marshall, and he put one of my songs in the film. So, it’s always hand in hand; it’s just what I bring to the table.
Yitzi: So you probably have so many fascinating experiences, memories, and stories looking back, and I’m sure this is very hard to single out. Can you share one or two of the most memorable, the most humorous stories that have occurred in the course of your career?
Lucy: You want to hear a good one? So, the year was 2005. You can YouTube this as well. I was performing with Ashlee Simpson, at the halftime show of the Orange Bowl in Florida, the football game, right? 74,000 people. We were performing with Kelly Clarkson and Trace Adkins, and we were last up. And we’d been in rehearsals for days with pyrotechnics, a thousand cheerleaders on the field with us, dancers, fireworks going off. It was a huge deal, live on ABC.
And we get on the field to perform, and there’s no sound in our in-ears, only static. The band was playing live to a track, and then Ashlee and I were singing live. So Kelly Clarkson goes out, and performs. There’s no sound. Everybody’s looking at each other, like, what do we do, what do we do? I’m sure so many sound guys got fired that day. All we had was static in our ears, and Kelly came off the stage crying. Trace Adkins goes up. It was a train wreck, and then we got up there, and all we had was like a four-second bounce-back of the sound ricocheting off of this giant stadium. And all I could think to do was watch Ashlee’s mouth from like 20 feet away, so that at least she and I could stay in time. But when you watch it on YouTube, we’re like 4 seconds off from the band. And it sounds so awful. The moment we finished, the entire stadium was booing. They had been booing since Kelly started. But because we were last, it seemed like we were the ones getting booed! And I just put my hands on my hips, and I slowly turned around and I just thought, take this in because you are never going to experience anything like it again. It was nuts. Needless to say, we got very drunk that night after the show. It was not a nice day.
Other crazy performance mishaps-I’ve been on stage in front of 5000 people at Universal City Walk and my whole band was playing in a different key than my piano, and we didn’t know how to fix it, we started the song over like five times. It was a nightmare. I’ve had drunk people get up on stage with me, super fans rush me…I mean, if it’s going to go wrong, it will. And that is what being a ‘seasoned performer’ means; that you have performed live enough times to work out anything that could go wrong, so that no matter what happens, you can keep that audience comfortable. And if you’re keeping the audience at ease, you can get away with anything.
Yitzi: Yeah. Amazing story. So can you share with our readers any of the exciting projects that you’re working on now? You mentioned the book. You have so many things going on. Share with us what we should get excited about.
Lucy: Yes. Right now, you should be very excited about my new book. It’s called Remember Me as Human. When I was 17, my grandmother, Wanda, gave me 63 of the remaining love letters that my grandfather, Dale, had written to her during World War II, from 1943 to 1945, when he was fighting in France. And when she gave them to me, I knew they were a big deal, very important, and I knew that I wanted to turn them into a film someday. I didn’t know how to do that yet, but I dreamt of getting to Ron Howard. I would keep the letters in my purse, so that if I ran into Mr. Howard at the grocery store, I could pitch him my idea for the film.
I didn’t know how to make the film yet, but I knew that I had to start asking questions of my grandparents to fill in the story around the letters. But before I could get the chance to really speak with my grandfather at length, he died with Alzheimer’s. And that really freaked me out because his stories and his memories were gone forever. I couldn’t stand that. So that led me to interviewing my grandmother Wanda, in her nursing home when she was 97 on camera for three days. She died four months later, so I’m grateful I did it. This book, Remember Me as Human, is the story of those three final days that I spent with Wanda. And what started out as asking her questions about the letters, really became a master class in what it means to be truly human.
Yitzi: Wow. Such a great idea. Everyone can do that with their grandparents. And there are probably so many rich stories that are lost by us not doing that.
Lucy: I’m really glad you said that, Yitzi, because that is the takeaway that I want every reader to have. I want this to inspire you to ask more questions of your elders and of your loved ones, while we still have each other. Once we’re gone, we’re gone, and so much is lost. I don’t think we speak to each other enough, I don’t think we’re curious enough about each other, about ourselves. But I do know that we all share one important thing, and that is this ache to understand who we are and where we’ve come from. And that takes some digging. So I really hope that this book is inspiring in that way.
Yitzi: This is our signature question that we ask in all of our interviews. So you’ve been blessed with so much success in your very textured and varied career. Can you share with our readers five things you need to create a successful career in entertainment?
Wow, that’s a big question. I could make so many jokes right now, but I’ll keep it serious because I really want to help people. This question is meant to be helpful.
Okay, five things you need for success in the entertainment industry, right?
- First off, a work ethic is crucial. What I mean by work ethic is showing up repeatedly and consistently to put in the work needed over time to achieve your goal. I learned about the importance of a strong work ethic from growing up around my dad’s band, the Eagles. Those guys, whom I deeply admire, make getting on stage seem easy. However, I’ve seen behind the scenes the countless hours my father spent perfecting a single guitar lick to make it look effortless on stage. I never confused making it look easy with it actually being easy. I always understood the effort that went into it, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. So, the first thing is definitely a work ethic.
- Oh, God. Number two is definitely luck. I mean, there’s no clear reason why some people make it and others don’t. Some of the most incredibly talented individuals I know haven’t gained fame. So, luck plays a big role, which is something nobody really wants to admit, right? But actually, it’s quite comforting to understand this. Often, people think if they’re not successful, it must be because they lack talent. But that’s not the case at all. It’s not about lacking talent.
- And I guess that leads me to say that you absolutely must have self-love. You need to create a life you love living, whether or not success is coming your way. I’ve learned that the hard way. For a long time, I defined myself by whether or not I was booking jobs. I’ve experienced a lot of self-punishment, thinking I was worthless if I didn’t book a job, that I was useless, and that I should just give up. And also, when I didn’t book a job or if success wasn’t happening, I felt undeserving. Like, I didn’t deserve to rest or do anything good for myself until I had won an Oscar. I thought I didn’t deserve a good meal, a night off, a trip to the beach, or even getting my nails done. This mindset runs deep for many of us, and it’s something we need to be vigilant about.
- So, the fourth thing would be emotional and psychological discipline. It’s about not letting yourself sink into negativity and keeping yourself in a positive light, using the spiritual tools you’ve designed for yourself. This could mean taking a day off, going to church, talking to your spirit guides, or connecting to your source in whatever way suits you, whether you’re religious, spiritual, or something else entirely. Having a glass of water, going to yoga, or taking a walk in the sunshine are all little tools I’ve learned to incorporate into my daily life as I pursue my creative projects in the entertainment industry. I’ve had to become really good at listening to myself and recognizing when I need a break, whether it means stepping outside, calling my mom, cuddling with my cat, or watching an episode of Friends to have a laugh. For a long time, I was so focused on becoming successful that I ignored my body, mind, and soul when they were overwhelmed. This led me to work myself to the point of exhaustion. Just this past Christmas I was bedridden with physical pains of anxiety for a week. I’ve been hospitalized a couple of times for anxiety attacks so severe that I was in excruciating pain, which the doctors identified as the physical toll of anxiety and stress. This was a hard lesson in understanding the serious impact stress and anxiety can have on our bodies. At this point in my life, I’ve realized that no career success or job is worth my life. Garry Marshall, the legendary director who cast me in his final film, Mother’s Day, had a bench placed at the Little Brown Church on Coldwater Canyon. On it is a plaque that reads, “Life is more important than show business.” I remember sitting there with him, initially disagreeing, believing that I would do anything to become a famous actress. But now, after he has passed, I find myself going back to that bench and realizing he was right. I finally understand what he meant.
- This leads me to number five, which is what you need to have success in the business: what Jason Bateman likes to call, “sexy indifference.” It’s not about not striving for your goals or not caring about them, but rather maintaining a loose connection to them. You work towards your goals without letting them define you. You’re not desperate to achieve them. You come from a strong personal core, knowing who you are and understanding your personal boundaries. This ties back to the discipline I mentioned earlier, including setting boundaries around what you’re willing and not willing to do. Once you truly know yourself, you can enjoy the journey, knowing things will happen in their own time, without them being a reflection of your worth or abilities. You enjoy the process. Because of early life abandonment issues, I struggled for years with the desire to be famous, since my dad was so famous, I thought I needed to be famous too to earn his love and attention. Letting go of that has been a journey. COVID played a big role in this transformation, giving me time to understand who I am beyond any success I was chasing. Now, I feel myself approaching things without desperation, simply enjoying it instead. I decide to love the life I wake up to every day. It’s not always easy — I’m human, after all, and we all have our silent struggles. But my book deals with this. It’s a personal memoir about embracing our humanity and celebrating who we are at this moment, rather than hiding behind filters or pretending to be something we’re not to fit into society. I believe the book will help readers embrace their humanity too, because that’s something we all share.
Yitzi: So this is our final aspirational question. Lucy, because of the platform that you’ve built and your great work, all the great work that you’re doing now, you’re a person of enormous influence. And people take your words very seriously. If you could spread an idea or inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people. What would that be?
Lucy: I’d like to inspire people to wake up to their curiosity. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with people where they don’t ask me a single question about myself. I don’t know what that is, I don’t understand it. I don’t experience it as much in other parts of the world. If I’m traveling abroad, people seem to be more interested in each other. But in America, I think there’s this pandemic of loneliness, of separatism, because people are very isolated from each other without realizing it. I know that social media and AI are robbing us of our humanity, and I’m afraid of where we’re headed. I stand for preserving humanity.
It makes me emotional. Because once we lose that, we’re dead, you know? Suicide and depression are at an all-time high, because people are alone in plain sight, nobody’s really talking. And we must, we must. But that starts with being curious about ourselves, and in this pandemic of social media where it’s about running from yourself, it’s robbing us of our humanity. Instead, it’s about anti-aging, saying the accepted thing, walking on eggshells because everybody’s so woke that we can’t have real conversations anymore. It all naturally leads to depression, because it’s isolating. Thank God for the comics who have the courage to continue saying things that need to be said — I hope to stand for the same thing.
Get curious about yourself, get curious about other people, get your head out of your own ass and put your feet in someone else’s shoes and talk about things that are hard to talk about, like suicide, like depression, like grief, like alcoholism, like mental illness and the good things too, of course. But my book deals with all of that, and I believe that that’s where the healing lies; in embracing our humanity within ourselves and with each other. And that’s the message I’d like to inspire.
Yitzi: How can our readers continue to follow your work online? How could they purchase your book? How could they purchase your music? How could they support you in any way?
Lucy: Thank you. So you can follow me on all socials– @TheLucyWalsh. And the book is available on Amazon, Remember Me As Human, publishing March 12th. So please get yourself a copy, get multiple copies, give them away as gifts to anyone you love, it’s a very powerful story. You will fall in love with my grandmother, Wanda Mae Boyer, you will be swept up in these love letters, it’s really got something for everyone. I’m also starting a podcast after the book comes out, where I will be having guests every week to share letters and artifacts from their own families as well, because we’ve got to pass this stuff on.
I also want to mention that I just partnered with an organization called the National Association of Long-Term Care Volunteers — an association that helps bring volunteer companions into nursing homes to spend time with the elderly. It’s a pandemic in the world that the elderly population is very ignored, and you can make such a difference in somebody’s life simply by volunteering to show up at the nursing home in your own community. It’s very easy to get involved, you can visit NALTCV.ORG for more information. Connection really does prolong and enrich people’s lives, and it’s worth thinking about, for we could all be in a home ourselves one day.
So beautiful. Thank you Lucy for this amazing conversation.
Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Actress, Music Star, & Author Lucy Marie Walsh Is Helping… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.