The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi chats about his rocket to success, an upcoming tour, and doing things at his pace

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With his first UK headline tour completely sold out and a second well on the way, Scottish newcomer Lewis Capaldi is certainly impressive for a new artist, especially one who has only put two tracks online to date. ‘Bruises’ and ‘Lost On You’ have amassed a staggering 35 million streams globally, with both tracks demonstrating a mature understanding of classic song writing, whilst Lewis’s captivating vocal keeps things distinctly contemporary. Not bad for a 21 year old who only left college and wrote ‘Bruises’ a year ago.

Could you give a quick introduction to yourself?

My name is Lewis Capaldi, I’m a 21 year old singer from Glasgow. I played my first gig here a few weeks ago, and that was after the release of my first single ‘Bruises’.

So has this year been mad for you?

Aye, it’s been hectic to say the least. We put the single out not knowing what to expect, thinking it might just get a few plays and stuff. Then I woke up the next morning and it was top of New Music Friday in the US. Ever since then it’s been non-stop and my feet haven’t touched the ground. The last six months have been so fucking fast-paced. August was my first headline show, and literally yesterday I came back off a tour with Rag’n’Bone Man in massive European venues. It’s been such quick exposure. I’ve been gigging for eight years and it feels like all that was a practice run for this.

How was supporting Rag’n’Bone Man? How was he?

It was class. He’s lovely. I supported him once before in Hamburg back in May, and that was the fucking worst gig of my life. He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve met, but I took my own equipment over and it was a fucking disaster. None of the guitars stayed in tune, I was having issues with the amp and I had to do the last song a-cappella.

So that tour has just finished?

Yeah I got back home yesterday. I’ve not been home since before Halloween. I’m off to Hong Kong in a few days.

Your headline tour starts soon…

Yeah I think it’s the 27th, but it’s going to be pretty hectic from Hong Kong to Milan to Reading to support Jake Bugg and then straight to my own tour. The response to the tour’s been unbelievable. After I got over the initial shock, I wondered if anyone would actually come and see me, so to have sold out this tour is amazing.

So who are your biggest musical influences?

Paulo Nutini has always been a big one for me, just because he’s from Scotland.  I heard Joe Cocker sing a Beatles song and I knew I wanted to sound like him and then I discovered Paulo. Beyond that, my mum and dad got me into Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis from a really young age, and I’m a massive Bob Dylan fan. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Sia. I totally missed out on her, and I’ve recently got her album. She’s fucking class. I was a proper indie rock kid, but I never listened to proper pop music until I was 18 ’cause I thought I was too cool. Then I realised I wasn’t cool at all.

The EP is available and your tour is nearly here, so what’s next for you?

I write songs every single day. I’m working on the next single now for January, and something else for March. I’ve got no plans for an album yet. I still think it’s in the distance a bit. It’s still really early for me, so I’m just writing and recording, so just more of the same. I want every song to be better than the last, and just keep up this momentum and see where it takes me.

So are you taking some time off for Christmas?

After the UK tour I’m in Holland, and I get back on 22nd December, and then New Year I fly to America for a tour with Milky Chance.

Sounds like you’ll be busy! Thanks for chatting to us today.

No problem, thanks for taking the time to interview me.

You can catch Lewis Capaldi at Sound Control on 7th December.