I managed to get 10 minutes with Tom Grennan before his tour arrives in Newcastle to talk about first gigs, football and his new album Lighting Matches...
What would you say your first musical memory was?
TG: My auntie used to have a jukebox in her living room and she always used to play Queen on it, so I grew up a massive fan of Queen.
I read that you played football to quite a high level when you were younger, so do you remember when you decided to devote your energies towards music and why you decided that?
TG: Yeah, I just think that football wasn’t for me anymore. I wasn’t really getting any better, and girls and alcohol got involved, but thankfully music came into my life. I never ever thought it would but it did, and I’m so grateful and buzzing that it did because I’m much more suited to this life than football.
So it sounds like you getting into music was quite accidental then?
TG: Basically yeah.
Do you remember where and when your first gig was, and how you felt beforehand?
TG: It was in a place called The Bear in Bedford, I was buzzing man, it got lively in there.
Did you bring a load of your mates down?
TG: Yeah it was a crazy one, everyone was just jumping over tables and shit, it was mad!
Your album Lighting Matches has been out for a few months now, did you expect it to get as brilliant a reception as it did and for it to really push you up a level in terms of how bug you are?
TG: Yeah man, I mean I knew it was a fucking good record but I never thought it’d do what it has done, every day I’m still buzzing about it to be fair. I do think the record is wicked though, sometimes I hear it and I think fuck me this is a good record.
What was the writing process for the album, can you tell us anything about how it came into being?
TG: I went into the studio and I was just writing loads of songs, I had a backlog of maybe 100-200 songs, and we just had to whittle them down to get the album together.
Do you have a favourite song from the album?
TG: I love ‘Little By Little Love’, I just love that song.
One of the first tour dates is Newcastle, is that one in particular that you’re looking forward to?
TG: Yeah I’ve done a few gigs in Newcastle before, I like Newcastle a lot. The crowd always seems to love it up there.
Are there any other dates that stand out on that tour as ones that you’re excited to play?
TG: The whole tour really, Newcastle, Glasgow, London, Manchester, I’m excited for all of them.
You’ve sold roughly 30,000 tickets for this UK tour and you’ve just finished a European tour, does the scale of what you’re doing ever get a bit daunting?
TG: Not really, I’m buzzing. You know what, I’m going to smash it, it doesn’t scare me, I’m a bit overwhelmed but excited for it all.
You’re clearly amassing a quite big following, and as you continue to grow is there one gig, festival or achievement that you’re aiming for?
TG: Yeah, Glastonbury, and I want to play Wembley Stadium mate.
And do you have any short-term goals for the next year or two?
TG: Just to release another album and to be doing exactly what I’m doing now.
Are there any bands or artists who are producing music at the moment that you’re really enjoying?
TG: I really love the new Wolf Alice album, apart from that not really mate, I’m listening to a lot of older stuff at the minute.
Lastly, a hypothetical question for you - if you could only listen to 3 artists/bands for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
TG: The first one would be Amy Winehouse because she’s the queen of England, the second one would be Led Zeppelin because I just fucking love it, and the last would be Gram Parsons, because his lyrics and his voice are just mesmerising.
Tom Grennan's tour continues thoughout October: www.tomgrennanmusic.com/tourdates/