is a pop singer-songwriter from Manchester, who's proving to be super hot in the music scene right now. He has collaborated with Jonas Blue on the huge hit "Perfect Strangers," played several festivals and headline shows, supported Stevie Wonder at British Summer Time, and was even cosigned by Ed Sheeran and Stormzy. Need we say more? He released his radio-ready track "September Song" earlier this year which is off of his forthcoming debut album and while we wait, we decided to ask him a couple of questions about it and his journey so far.
You've got such an identifiable, soulful voice -- who were your inspirations while you were growing up and making music?
Believe it or not, my first love was the grunge scene, my favourite singers were Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell. There's a lot of blues and soul beneath the loud guitars and in time I delved deeper into that world, discovering Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin and a whole world of incredible soulful music. I always loved all kinds of music though, from Aphex Twin to Lauryn Hill and Bjork to Bill Withers.
Has the UK influenced your sound at all?
Massively, I had my first experiences of music in the 90's, as a kid being in Manchester when britpop was at its peak, there was a guitar in most households... If it wasn't for that I don't think I would have ever discovered my voice. That was the catalyst for all of this. I have a lot to thank Manchester for. The fact that it's so multicultural allowed me to join a Gospel choir and marinade in that for a good few years, whilst at the same time playing in folk clubs and rock bars. It was an incredibly vibrant time.
You recently landed several festival slots the last few months. What's your favorite part about the different vibe at festivals as opposed to regular concerts?
It's always great to get out to the festivals. The best thing is that you get to meet so many other artists and musicians and stumble across new music that you wouldn't have otherwise heard. Also, there's nothing better than thousands of people in a field listening to music and enjoying the summer, rain or shine.
Which song on your upcoming album was the biggest challenge to write?
I wouldn't necessarily say there was any that I struggled to write. Getting the recordings right though is a whole other matter. There are songs on the record that have been through 4 or 5 different versions before arriving at a definitive version. And mixing, some have had up to 30 different mixes before everybody's happy. That's a really long process!
Which song are you most excited for people to hear when the new album comes out?
It's funny because there's still a lot of material that nobody has heard on there so I'm super excited to release it. There are some songs that we've tested live during the festival season and I can't wait to share the recordings. "Change" seems to be a favourite on the live front so I can't wait for people to hear the record!