Since his collaboration with Chase & Status in late 2016, London based Tom Grennan and his incredibly raw vocals have found fame, leading him to the release of his long anticipated debut album.
We had a chat with Tom before his set at Kendal Calling Festival to discover the secrets behind his lyrics, who his superheroes are and how he lives his somewhat surreal life.
Are you excited to play the Calling Out stage later today?!
I am really excited to play! I’ve never played Kendal Calling before. I’ve never really been to the Lake District so I’m looking forward to it.
How do you feel about clashing with Friday’s headliners, Catfish and the Bottlemen?
Who??? I’m joking! Not sure really – people that like my music will come and if they don’t then that’s cool. Catfish are a big band so I won’t blame them if they watch them instead.
Are you sticking around for the rest of the weekend?
No, we’ve got Y Not Festival tomorrow. We’re here until later though so that’s good! We’ll maybe watch Gorgon City.
Can we catch you at any other festivals this Summer?
Y Not tomorrow, Reading & Leeds… To be honest I don’t really know exactly what I’m doing – the week before I’m just like ‘oh yep, ok!’ Loads of festivals though – so many now, it’s crazy. I’m excited for all of them!
Where do you find the inspiration for your lyrics?
Sausage and mash. Nah, just life. Memories and stories – that’s what I’m doing right now; I’m absorbing life and it comes straight from the heart.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
Nah, I get in the studio and blurt it out! Sometimes I’ll hear someone say something and it’ll spark something within me, but I’m very all over the place so I could never just have a minute now and it come to me. I have to get in my own space and think it all through.
Please will you tell us the story behind your track ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’?
I hated it! It came from nowhere. It was one of them that I didn’t like and so I rushed it, but then I sent it to my manager and label and they said it was really good. So I revisited it, tightened up the lyrics, and now I love it. It’s a very important song to me now. It’s a song that has a propelled meaning to what I’m doing now. It’s related more to a feeling than something in particular. I don’t think I’ve found exactly what I’m looking for yet – I’m still on a path of searching and a road of finding things and making things happen. I’ll let you know when I’ve found ‘it’ though!
Is ‘Make Them Like You’ focused on a specific person, or is it an idea of somebody?
It’s focused on what the fuck is going on around me. There’s so much focus on social media and that kinda stuff, so the idea was based on a person in a busy place; everyone else are like mad robots but this one person is like a shiny, special thing.
Did you create that ‘one person’, or is that based on something real?
I don’t really know, it’s different things. It could be about my mum, it could be about a girl, a fella. It could be about anyone. Who knows?
‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ is on the Fifa 2018 playlist – is that a highlight of your career for you, being a huge Man United fan
Yeah! It’s a game that I’ve played for many years. To have it on there is amazing and the audience that is has it millions of people – it’s crazy! Every Fifa track list has been sick over the years, so to be on it is an achievement.
Do you play FIFA with that song playing?
Yeah but I skip it! I’ve heard it too many times. It’s so sick but I’m not one of those guys that listens to his own music.
Lets pretend you can only listen to one artist for the rest of your life… what song do you pick?
Cheeky Girls!!! That’d be funny wouldn’t it?
Could you name a particular artist or person who’s inspired you to make music?
Nah musicians have never been my ‘wow’ kind of thing – I see footballers as my superheroes. With Amy Winehouse and Eminem I’d of been star struck, but as for influencers – my music has just come from my heart. I can’t really explain it, but I just feel this river that flows through and you just jump in your little rubber dingy, jump on the river of melody and if you can sail it, then you’re doing alright!
Your debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ has just been released. What’s next?
I’m going to make more music and get back in the studio. More creating and making stories, meeting new people, making new friends and just seeing what happens really!
Words by Sophie Eastham // @sophyvictoriae