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We spoke to Tom Grennan the day after his headline show at London’s Union Chapel, to discuss his upcoming UK tour, cats & dogs and more…
Judging by your Instagram, it looks like you had a really special gig at Union Chapel in London last night – how was it?
T: It was good! I had a bit of a sore throat yesterday, but it went down really well, the last song was a real moment.
You were recently out in LA – what was that trip for? I think it was on your Instagram story, you were out running – are you normally quite an active person or is running part of a New Year’s resolution that you’re actually doing?
T: It was for writing really, I’m not as active as I used to be but I’m trying to keep my beer belly off to be honest! I thought “Why not? It’s 9am, I’m in LA, it’s sunny, I’ll go for a run”, it was good for the brain.
You have a really soulful voice but it also fits quite well in a rock ‘n’ roll context, with that said, would you say that the kind of music you listened to when you were growing up has shaped your distinctive voice?
T: Music wasn’t a huge part of my life, to be honest with you. But the music I was growing up listening to was really just my mum’s music, she was listening to people like Queen, The Carpenters, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna, all of that kind of stuff. Eventually I got into grime music and I still love it but it didn’t really shape my voice much. But I properly started getting into music when I was in a band with a few mates, we just did covers, mainly Arctic Monkeys really. But it brought the ‘attitude’ into my voice.
You started out gigging in pubs around Bedford – coming from a smaller town, did you find it harder to breakthrough compared to musicians in big cities? What did you have to do to make the jump from just gigging locally to becoming known across the country?
T: I was gigging in Bedford and I realised that if I wanted things to get bigger, I’d need to move out of there. And so I thought I’d be best going to uni in London because then I’d be able to get a student loan, so at least I had something to live off. I’ve got lucky really, I’m very honoured to be in the position that I’m in and I’m very humbled by the whole thing.
You recently did a session in Maida Vale Studios for BBC Introducing – how was that experience?
T: Mad, mental, wicked… You could feel history in there, and the presence of legends.
You’ve got another UK headline tour this September and October – what can we expect from this tour compared to what you’ve done previously?
T: The previous tour was just me and a guitar and a piano. But this tour will be with a full band, and it sounds so good, my band are amazing. It’ll be high energy and then we’ll try to take it back down to ballads and stuff, then BOOM! Back into the high energy! Like a Thorpe Park ride.
Finally, a bit of a random question, but are you a cat person or a dog person?
T: Definitely a dog person… Cats are so rude! They don’t really love you, they only love you if you feed them! Dogs are true companions, but I suppose you don’t have to worry about cats as much…
Tom’s latest EP ‘Release The Brakes’ is out now.