After moving millions of viewers to tears following his show-stopping audition for Britain’s Got Talent back in 2015, Calum Scott became a worldwide name. The northern lad is now embarking upon a huge world tour to support the release of his exquisite debut studio album, ‘Only Human’. Talking to Cornfield’s Content Editor, Calum disclosed the importance of creating music from the heart.

Interview by Evie Kissack


‘Only Human’ marks a profound moment in Calum’s personal life, not least his musical career. Featuring 11 original songs, alongside a beautiful duet with X Factor winner Leona Lewis and a soul-stirring rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Not Dark Yet’, the album is full of sublime musical surprises. It’s the idea of shared collective human experiences that drives the musician – he wants people to feel something when they listen to his songs. By no means has fame enlarged Calum’s ego; the Hull-born artist is as down-to-earth as he is talented. Sharing details of his life before fame and coming to terms with his insecurities, Calum explained how he uses his music as a cathartic release, hoping to encourage others to promote self-love and acceptance.  

Firstly, how are you? You’re currently in Germany and will be heading to Singapore and Australia next week I’m led to believe?

I’m really good, thank you! Yeah, just a casual trip over to blooming Australia…My manager said, ‘We are just going to pop over to Aus’ and I thought, ‘I don’t think anyone just ‘pops’ over there’. 

[Laughs] Are you enjoying the travelling so far? 

Yeah, I mean, there are very few downsides to this industry, but one of them is that it takes a long time to get to places, especially Australia. I mean it is a lot less of a burden than it was sat working in an office nine ‘til five every day back in my old job. I would take the travel over my old recruitment job any day. 

One of the questions I was going to ask you, actually, was how you found the transition from your old job to your new lifestyle?

Oh perfect! [Laughs] Oh my god it’s been a complete lifestyle change. It’s been so surreal for me to go from a job straight outta’ school, straight into a nine ‘til five…I used to dream sat in my office at a desk, I used to literally dream of doing what I do now for a living. To be doing it is very surreal; it feels very bizarre. It doesn’t even feel like I had my previous life. Obviously working in the music industry has its ups and downs, but I get to do a job that I love every single day. The transition to go from ‘a regular guy’ with a normal job to then having support from all corners of the world daily on social media…it was quite daunting at first, but I love it! I’m very humbled. 

When did you realise you wanted to become a musician?

I have always loved music, and growing up my dad would always play music in the car. Whether we were driving to my nans or to school, he would always play Whitney Houston, Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Michael Jackson…all of these really big singers [sic]. I’ve always been a fan of music in all genres. At school I was a drummer actually! I took to drums very quickly; maybe it’s because they’re quite cool and you can just bash them and make a load of noise…[Laughs] I thought I would always be a drummer at the back of the stage. I never considered singing a tune. I sang in the shower, but I guess everybody does. It was one of those things that I thought would never come to fruition – it was actually my sister who was the performer of the family. I was so in awe of her! When she got singing equipment for house I would go and sing my little heart out when nobody was home. One day she was in, and she heard me sing and straight away put me in a singing competition. She essentially forced me to sing! [Laughs] She believed in me so much that as soon as I came off that very first stage in a local competition, there was a passion in me I had never felt before. I had found something I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

I’ve been lucky enough to hear the phenomenal new song ‘You Are The Reason’, released with Leona Lewis. Can you tell me a little about this collaboration? How did it come about?

Thank you darling! It was a really natural meet. Out of the blue I had an email from a writer we have both worked with in America called Diane Warren - she’s written huge, huge songs like ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ with Aerosmith. Diane was like [sic], ‘I’ve done this song with Leona and you’re perfect for it!’ and she put us in touch! The first thing I got from Leona Lewis was an email and I thought, ‘Oh my god I’ve got an email from the actual Leona Lewis…this is crazy!’ From that moment on we bonded. I think, because we share a similar background coming from talent shows - we held an unspoken bond. Instantly we got on so well; she sent me some of her music, I sent her some of mine…then Leona asked to be part of ‘You Are The Reason’ and came back to me with a version she had worked on - I was dragging my jaw along the floor. [Laughs] I’ve watched her from the beginning, and watched her bloom into a global superstar. Now she’s sending me my own song with her vocals written on it – it’s just the most surreal, most exciting experience ever. And since we’ve met we’ve become such good friends. In fact, because we get on so well and mess around a lot and make each other laugh on set we were separated the other day! I got told to take a time out. 

 

“There was a passion in me I had never felt before. I had found something I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

 

[Laughs] Made to sit at other ends of the room?

Yeah! [Laughs] Like in school.

 

How lovely – you sound like you’ve made a friend for life!

I blooming hope so!


The album is fantastic in that it features more upbeat tracks like ‘Rhythm Inside’ alongside heartfelt ballads. How did you come to select the tracks for the album, and what is the meaning behind the album’s title ‘Only Human’?

For a start, when I first began song writing I didn’t really know what to do. I had never written songs before, and was new to the whole thing. The only thing I knew for certain when I was writing was that I had to stay true to myself. I heard songs about going to the club and going to parties, but it just wasn’t me. I knew that I would have to write something emotional and honest and genuine. I started writing songs like ‘Hotel Room’ and ‘You Are The Reason’ - sincere, genuine songs about heartbreak and sadness. But I also wrote songs about empowerment and excitement and confidence…even the frustration and desperation that comes with love – but in a good way. I started writing stuff like ‘Give Me Something’ and ‘Good To You’ and ‘Come Back Home’, songs with a bit more power behind them. I wrote 70-odd songs for the album because I was just writing –

-Wow…

Yeah, because I wasn’t thinking of creating an album, I just wanted to write great songs. And so I started whittling down the songs until I felt I had a great concept album - showing people that no matter whether you go through the highs or lows, or you feel happy or sad, you’re only human. You’ll get where I’m coming from…if people feel upset or guilty, and they apologise and say, ‘I’m sorry’ often people respond with, ‘Don’t worry, you’re only human’. There’s a beautiful message in that. So the lyric ‘How am I supposed to stop myself from loving you’ comes from the fact that you can’t. You can’t just stop yourself because you’re only human and we all feel. There’s no two ways around it. Everyone can relate to human emotion. I really wanted to write stuff that reflected me as a person, but I also wanted to encourage other people to be who they wanted to be. There are quite a lot of songs on the album that are about my sexuality and the issues that I had with my sexuality. I wrote it [the album] because it brought me a lot of comfort and actually soothed me. I spent so much time in my life not being able to deal with a lot of things. I wasted a lot of time in my teens and even my twenties being fearful of other people’s judgements. Actually, when you think about it, I should never have been fearful. People should love me for who I am. I’ve tried to write about those experiences not only to give myself therapy but to help other people also. I tried to write ‘Only Human’ with the hope that it inspires people to be confident, to love themselves and just to be happier with who they are. I feel like I’ve achieved that. 

 

“I knew that I would have to write something emotional and honest and genuine.”

 

I think that’s such a beautiful message to promote through your music. I absolutely think ‘Only Human’ will have a positive response because it is so genuine. Do you have a particular favourite song to perform?

With this album, every song is like my baby [sic]. I have a huge attachment to every one – that’s why the album was so hard to create because how do you decide which songs to disregard and what do you send out to the public to listen to? When I’m performing live you see the effect songs have on people, then and there in the room. I live for performing live – live is my thing. I love that I have my UK and European tour coming up and for me, the songs I love to perform live are the ones that move people. I must admit, ‘You Are The Reason’ is one of my favourite songs to perform live because it has that impact and that power where I actually physically see people moved. Whether they’re in tears, or just stood fixated on what I’m saying – I can see them relating the song to themselves and their own personal lives, which as a songwriter, is such a huge deal. When you see how people feel about your music there in the moment, it’s the most magical thing ever. But then you have the other side of the scale; upbeat songs like ‘You Give Me Something’ that always gets people stood up with their mates all jigging about – people really go to town. I love being able to do both ends of the scale and have moments that get people rocking.

I think you’ve just explained the album perfectly. It has a brilliant balance between catchy songs and reflective ballads. Speaking to you today it’s so clear to see how passionate you are about songwriting. 

If there’s one thing I can confidently say, it’s that I write from the heart. I just knew from the start I wouldn’t sing about things like going to the club and getting wasted – it’s just not in my nature. I am a sensitive lad, as you can probably tell. [Laughs] I just want to change people’s attitudes and inspire people to be more compassionate and understanding. In the LGBT community it’s about being brave and understanding that there is a lot of love in the world and you shouldn’t spend your life torturing yourself because the only thing to do is to embrace yourself and who you are. That’s what I want to do with my music. It does mean a lot to me. 

It’s definitely an album that spreads messages of self-love and positivity; which is so refreshing. I think it’s an album that will capture people’s hearts. 

Thank you darling. [Laughs] You’ll see it written all over my face at the show; there’s no B.S with me. I’m very serious about my music and the messages behind it.

 

Thank you for your time!

Thank you for chatting to me my lovely, it's been a pleasure.

 

Calum Scott will perform at Birmingham’s O2 Institute on Sunday 22 April 2018. 

 

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