My interview with singer-songwriter Tom Walker takes place just before his sold-out show at Fallowfield’s hipster haven Fallow Café on the last night of his debut UK tour. Speaking with Tom is like meeting an old friend: he is vibrant and in high spirits ahead of tonight’s eagerly anticipated show, the final of five sold out shows across the UK.
Raised in Chelford, tonight’s show feels like Tom’s homecoming, and later in the evening the amass of friends and family in the crowd confirms this. Reminiscing about the past few days, he says “It’s been a sick tour, really really good… it’s been a real eye opener for me.” Having extensively toured in the past Tom remarks, “It’s the first tour that people have actually come out to see me.”
Talking about previous tours he mentions how this tour has been a step up from previous ones, reflecting on how he used to drive himself to shows in his Volkswagen Fox: “It was great, but it was hard to enjoy yourself when you know you got to drive later that night.” During this tour, Tom has been upgraded to his own tour bus, “with a TV in the back…we’ve had a sick time just rocking about”. Result.
Tom seems in awe at having sold out his own tour, reminiscing about his Bristol date the night before: “I don’t even know that many people from Bristol.” Recounting his sold-out London gig at the Camden Assembly a few days prior, he beams “there were two hundred and forty people singing the words. I choked up a bit.”
Talking about his recent success with single ‘Just You and I’, a recent BBC Radio 1 track of the week, it’s no surprise why Tom is making a name for himself. “It’s all happened organically… we’ve not really pushed it”,” he says, but with over four million plays on ‘Just You and I’ in the past two months alone, the fans are clearly enjoying Tom’s sound. Recently selling out an Amsterdam gig with little promotion, there’s clearly a buzz for Tom’s music.
Describing his sound as soulful “with a bit of blues, hip-hop, a little splash of reggae and credible pop,” Tom notes that he gets lots of different descriptions of his sound, with one listener describing him as having a voice like Amy Winehouse. “I was like wow.. I’ll take that!” Tom himself cites artists like Paolo Nutini as a source of inspiration: “I like the fact he takes time to write an album and then takes it out and plays it.”
Tom has been working on his craft for many years, dividing his time between Manchester, Leeds and London. He tells me about a house share with twelve other musicians in Southgate, North London, which he cites as a hub of creativity where he was able to perfect his craft. “You’d walk round the house and everyone would have their own studio set up,” he beams.
Tom praises his parents as being very supportive with his career path, and seems genuinely elated that they will be coming to the show tonight: he mentions a previous show that his dad attended but couldn’t approach him afterwards due to the fans surrounding him. They bought Tom his first guitar age eleven, preferring to buy him music instruments rather than more traditional game consoles for boys his age. “Until I got out of Chelford I was doing everything on my own, recording things and putting them all together.”
Tom’s plans for after the tour include an afterparty in their swanky tour bus, a well-earned skiing trip, and the release of a four-track EP recorded with Jim Abyss, who has worked with the likes of Adele and Arctic Monkeys. He also teases a twelve-date European tour with a band whose name he can’t reveal.
One thing that’s no mystery is that this is just the start of Tom Walker’s rise to musical stardom, with this much buzz surrounding just a few songs.
You can follow Tom Walker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @iamtomwalker.
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