INTERVIEW: Scottish Singer Lewis Capaldi Dishes on Songwriting and Streaming
    • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2017

    • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

    Just last month, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi released his debut EP, Bloom. The EP, which sounds like the love child of Jack Garratt, James Bay, and Hozier, features the simplistic yet powerful tune "Bruises." It amassed over 26 million streams on Spotify - and, oh yeah, Capaldi is only 20 years old. Pretty hard to believe when you hear his deep and soulful croon.

    In light of the EP release, we had the chance to talk to the singer-songwriter about the songwriting process, his streaming success, and what's coming up next.

    You just released your debut EP, Bloom. How are you feeling? What's the typical post-release process look like?

    I feel great! It's amazing to finally have a body of work out that people can really get into. I've been writing music and playing shows since I was twelve but had never actually released anything prior to "Bruises" at the end of March this year, so it kind of feels like the EP has been 9 years in the making in the sense that I feel I've been getting better and growing as a songwriter throughout that time. The EP is the product of all that hard work, especially considering all the songs on the EP (excluding "Bruises") were written this year, the most recent being "Fade," which I wrote in August.

    The next few months following the release consist of touring, I'm actually on a European tour with Rag'n'Bone Man at the minute. Afterwards I've got my own shows in Hong Kong, two headline UK tours, one in December and one in February, both of which are close to selling out which is unreal. And then in January next year I've got my first tour of the US supporting Milky Chance. Beyond that, it's just more writing and recording!

    The EP is super soulful. Who are some of your influences?

    The earliest music I heard was from artists like Fleetwood Mac, Elvis, and Queen. Every year, when my family would go on holiday we would drive from Glasgow down to the south of France and my Dad would play Rumours on repeat and my Mum would always have Elvis or Queen playing. That was what initially sparked my interest in music. But it wasn't until I was already playing music that I came across a video of Joe Cocker doing a cover of "With A Little Help From My Friends" on this Beatles' Live at the BBC documentary that realized I wanted to perform. Building on that, Paolo Nutini was a big influence growing up, his music was the first modern kind of pop music I had heard with some soul influence in it. Kings of Leon are another band who I've always loved.

    And what's it like to write with such great other songwriters, like Malay?

    Surreal. Months prior to working with Malay, my managers had asked me for a list of people who I would like to work with, Malay was one of the first names on the list, but at the time it obviously seemed pretty unattainable, so when I was told we would be working together a few weeks before we flew out to New York, I was over the moon. The fact that the session was so easy and that we wrote one of my favorite songs is just a bonus. I'm really lucky to be able to get to work with as many amazing writers and producers as I do!

    A lot of your listeners come from streaming you online. Not to invalidate your success - but where do you think you'd be without platforms like Spotify? Do you think the change in the way we listen to music is a good or bad thing?

    Streaming has allowed me to reach a much wider audience than I ever could have hoped for in such a short space of time, playlisting on streaming platforms has made not just mine but all artists music more readily accessible - and I think that can only be a good thing. Almost everyone who's bought a ticket to my shows or followed me on Twitter or Facebook and are now invested in the tunes I'm putting out has found my music through streaming, so for me it's really been the launching pad of my career.

    Has growing up in West Lothian ever inspired your music?

    Absolutely, I don't write very much about the town I grew up in in my music but I think coming from a place that has such a vibrant live music scene has been a huge inspiration to me. Even now, when there aren't as many live venues as there use to be there, the amount of bands making great music has increased. As well as that, a lot of nights out I've had in West Lothian have ended being back at someone's house or flat with a guitar and with everyone playing tunes. So the music there has always been a big inspiration for me pursuing this as a career.

    What's coming up next for you?

    Mainly just getting out and touring as much as possible, writing as many new songs as I can and trying to get my music out to as many people as I can. Hopefully it won't be too long a wait for my next release either!

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