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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

From WHS to Coachella: Lucy Ritter’s musical journey

Photo courtesy of Lucy Ritter
Lucy Ritter performing on the drums

Coachella, widely considered as one of the biggest music festivals in the world, just featured a WHS alum on the drum set. Lucy Ritter, a 2018 graduate, has been part of rising pop star Chappell Roan’s band. The band opened for Olivia Rodrigo on her GUTS tour, played a Coachella set and is now set to kick off their own summer tour.

Ritter started drumming when she was nine years old while attending Wilson Elementary School. Originally, after starting with the clarinet, she made the switch to the drums after she found out that “all the popular kids played drums.” A quick learner, she was already playing drum solos at her fifth grade talent show. “I was exposed to music through my dad and brother and it kind of spitballed from there,” Ritter said.

After high school, Ritter attended the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She ended up dropping out after three years to start touring with her first act, a musical called An Officer and a Gentleman. “I got an email from the director; I thought it was fake,” she said. The tour lasted nine months, and she left almost immediately after her last college concert her junior year. “It was really hard. The pay was bad, but it was my first experience touring,” Ritter said.

Stemming off from her first tour, Ritter then started a tour with Jagged Little Pill, another musical. Playing around eight shows a week, she noted the connections she made and the great camps she got to work with, although she said that the Broadway-style of touring was not really for her. “It was great to get to know cities that I would otherwise never live in,” Ritter said. She acknowledged, “It’s definitely a grind. It’s a lot different than what I do now. With pop touring, I’m in a city for a day, and hardly that.”

Ritter moved to Los Angeles in July of 2023 with the goal of finding work in the pop industry. “During Officer, I booked Jagged, and during Jagged, I booked Chappell Roan. I think the day after I moved I got the audition,” she said. Finishing her Broadway tour in August, Ritter started immediately rehearsing with Roan after. “I’ve been working consistently since I was 20; it’s been really cool.”

One of Ritter’s favorite moments of being part of Roan’s band was the opportunity to take part in an NPR “Tiny Desk” concert. “I had been watching those since I was in middle school, and my band in high school fantasized about playing a ‘Tiny Desk,’” she said. “It’s unreal.” NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series has hosted over 800 artists, and has included notable names such as H.E.R., Mac Miller, Tyler, the Creator, The Cranberries and now Chappell Roan with the help of Ritter. “It came out really well and the reception from the fans has been great,” she said.

Recently, Roan and her band have served as the opening act for six weeks on Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS world tour. “Her crew was so supportive and they knew all the words by the end of the tour,” Ritter said. She noted the sheer size of the arenas as her favorite part of the tour. “Sitting on my throne and looking out and realizing there’s 15-20 thousand people here…it’s pretty surreal,” she added. Ritter also mentioned a future goal of the band with excitement, waiting to see how big Roan grows herself and eventually being the headliner on a tour of her own.

Ritter’s, along with the rest of the band’s, first festival was none other than the iconic Coachella festival in California on April 12 and April 19. “The crowd was great, I loved it,” she said. Ritter will be with Roan’s band on The Midwest Princess Tour, which will make a stop near home for Ritter, as they play a set on June 9 at The Governors Ball Music Festival in Flushing, NY.

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