British singer-songwriter Tom Walker signed with Relentless Records in 2015 and continues to write and release successful singles through incredible talent and intense dedication to his love for music.
His EP ‘Blessings’ was released last year and his track ‘Leave a Light On’ reached number 1 in the charts throughout Europe. With a sold out tour and over 150 shows in 2018, Tom Walker talks to us about his future plans, his favourite pizza topping and how surreal life feels at the age of 26.
It’s your first festival of the season! How does it feel to play Live at Leeds today?
Really really good! Played a wicked venue today too.
How did signing with Relentless come about?
It was back when it was just me and my acoustic guitar – I was writing songs and singing them live. I didn’t have a band or any musicians then. They picked one song up called ‘Home’ which I’d written with one of my friends at uni and we went for a meeting then it all happened really fast!
So you weren’t posting your music online or promoting through social media?
No I literally had nothing out. I couldn’t find anything that was good enough but they really helped me work on that and helped me build my sound. I was just playing small local gigs covering songs when they signed me – I think I got paid £40 a gig. All of those gigs I played where nobody really listened helped to make me into the artist I am today though!
You released your ‘Blessings’ EP last year, what’s next? Is an album due?
Yeah there’s an album coming – it’s called What a Time to be Alive. I’ve got 150 gigs this year, and included in that there’s 35 festivals so it’s a very busy year! I’m trying to record as much as I can but I can’t say when it’ll be finished. I’ve done half of it so far, but I don’t want to rush the rest by having to squeeze it in so I’ll wait until I have more time.
Where do you find the inspiration for your lyrics?
Whatever’s going on in everyday life. Reading books and listening to songs sometimes, but mainly things that have happened to my mates, my family or myself.
Do you think it’s easier to write about those situations in lyrics, rather than discussing them or dealing with them in real life?
I think there’s definitely an aspect of that. It’s like a form of therapy, if I’m feeling a bit shit about something then I’ll write a song about it and I do feel better afterwards for expressing it.
Where is your favourite spot to write?
I don’t think I have one! I don’t mind writing at home or around studios. It’s nice to mix it up – if I spent ages in one place I’d get bored of it.
Your music is a various mix of sounds, how would you personally describe it?
I would say it’s pop formatted songs with hip-hop beats, a little bit of blues guitar and the tiniest splash of reggae.
What do you do in your spare time, is your life 100% music focused?
I don’t have any spare time really! I had two days off and I slept so much because I was so knackered. But that was actually really nice. Other than that I just chill and do normal things like watch TV.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Switzerland was really really beautiful. We did a road trip and the views were amazing.
What’s your favourite pizza topping?
Ham and mushroom. Every time.
Do you have a party trick?!
I can do a back flip on a trampoline. But I do need the trampoline, so I guess it’s not much of a party trick! I’ve done a lot of drunk trampolining!
When was the point where you realised you really loved music?
I went to see AC/DC with my dad in Paris when I was nine years old, and ever since then I moaned for a guitar so my dad eventually bought me one. I started playing and fell in love with it. I wasn’t great in other classes at school but I seemed to have a natural ability for music. I play a bit of drums, bass and piano too. Singing whilst playing guitar well took me a while – I think only in the last nine months I’ve actually become good at that.
What would you do if you weren’t a musician?
I was a chef for ages but I wasn’t great at that. Then I was a photo booth attendant but I wasn’t great at that either! Looks like it’s a good job I’ve got my music!
You’re playing a lot of festivals this year alongside touring (including a few shows in America) – does life feel surreal?
Yeah it’s crazy. This year has gone so fast! My team are amazing, they keep me sane and in check on tour. We just did a sold out European tour which was incredible. It’s just nuts! You’re working so much you don’t really realise what’s happening until you step back and go ‘wow, look what we’ve actually achieved this year.’
What can we expect from you for 2019?
Definitely a new album and I’m going to make the live shows as amazing as I can. I might bring in some backing singers and a brass or strings section because I think that would be incredible. I want the shows to keep getting better and better!
Words by Sophie Eastham // @sophyvictoriae