Ben Kempton chats to Tom Grennan.
Curled up in a ball on the sofa wearing piss yellow shades to cover a droopy set of lids is Tom Grennan. Wearing an oversized black hoodie and a pair of vintage maroon Adidas trackies is quite the contrast to his usual sharp indie-urban-gentleman style. “Sorry man, had a show in Nottingham last night. I’m hungover as fuck and look like a tramp.”
Wildcat Grennan, who oozes an edge of old-school rock star, kick-started a remarkable year with his Chase and Status collaboration ‘It All Goes Wrong’ in 2017. “They heard a song of mine and called me up. I had the backbone of the song ready and we got it going. They helped me out massively and I will always be thankful to them for that.” His centrepiece soul vocals got Grennan the airtime and recognition to launch solo.
A hat trick of EPs included hit tunes ‘Something in the Water’ and more recognisably, ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’. Featured on FIFA 18 and the Sky Sports Premier League advert, Tom Grennan has cunningly become a part of the household. “Hearing my songs on such a massive platform is mad. Mad is the only word I have for it. I’m humbled by it but I have to say when I hear my song on FIFA now I just have to skip it.”
With growing prominence and an upcoming album, which he is convinced is going straight to number one, his free spirit persona which is worn on the sleeve of the pop star becomes a burden. “I have got to tone it down a bit now I’m in the spotlight but I do like to go crazy once in a while.” With a ruffle of his uncontrollably messy yet somehow perfectly tailored hair he confesses, “My lifestyle has definitely landed me in trouble sometimes, but fuck it. Nothing I’ve been arrested for, just been a few fucking tear ups once in a while but that’s just that.”
Growing up through school, trouble maker Tom didn’t aspire to be selling out venues across the UK. “I didn’t think I’d be famous and I definitely didn’t think I’d be touring the UK. If it wasn’t music I’d be working on a building site with my Dad or trying to travel the world. Before music life was just normal. Went to uni and did boyish stuff.” It begs the question of how he discovered his talent, humbly replying, “I was doing some Karaoke at a party really pissed up, singing ‘seaside’ by the Kooks and it started from there really.”
Above the infectious pop melodies, Grennan’s music boasts his uniquely husky soul voice which packs a punch on stage and through his records. “I’m a big fan of soul music, especially old stuff like Ray Charles, Robert Johnson and Elvis. I know it’s nothing to do with me and my voice isn’t anything like that but it’s old soul and where I get my influence from.” Alongside his vocal ability, Grennan also thrives off his style and ultra-confident personality. “As much as I love soul I did grow up listening to grime, which is a bit different but it’s where I get my edge from.”
Tom Grennan’s album is out on the 6th July and he’s doing festivals all across the country accompanied by a European tour. After shaking hands and thanking Tom for his time, he retreated back to the foetal position.