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Live at Leeds has been a huge success again this year, hosting stages and venues across the city with a whole array of the hottest indie rock musicians across the UK. Gareth Burroughs travelled there to snap the great and the good as they performed to the festival crowds. He met up with Tom Walker, a singer songwriter from Manchester. 

Tom’s career defining new single ‘Leave A Light On’ looks set to establish him as the country’s next breakout global star. Produced by Steve Mac, the Brit Awards 2018 Producer Of The Year, ‘Leave A Light On’ was written by Tom and Steve and can currently be heard on the new Sony Bravia TV advert currently on TV in Europe and in the UK from next month.

tom walker and gareth

Tom, I’ve just got to say before we get stuck in, your voice is amazing, man. I watched the set and took some pictures of you earlier down in the pit.

Aw, nice one man, thank you. Were you down the photo pit? Haha! I thought I recognised you!

Yeah man of many talents… It’s such a nice venue as well…

A beautiful venue: really good sound and really good crowd actually. It was a busy gig, yeah, it’s a weird one doing a gig at kind of 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect but they were actually pretty into it, so yeah I was very happy

How did you get started? I know you mentioned the song ‘Just You and I’ – was that the start?

That was kind of the start of it being a bit more serious than it was. I did kind of a couple of songs and then released ‘Just You and I’ – it was a song between a song – well that’s what the label thought you know. While we were working on something else, that really kicked off and went mad in America and I ended up doing The Today Show that was my first TV thing The Today Show in America – it was absolutely nuts! So that just kicked everything off you know. All the stuff I’ve done so far is definitely added to what we’ve got now that was the first moment I thought wow we’re going to america we’re doing the today show this is actually happening.

So who is your personal favourite band?

Of all time? ACDC big time. Yeah – ACDC I went to see them when I was like nine years old in Paris and guitar wise they’re an influence on my music –  the solo stuff. I think I’ve nicked quite a lot – quite a lot of Angus Young – not as good but you know they’re all pentatonic blues scales basically – I had an SG when I was younger, when I was like 16. I had that for a bit but, yeah, that’s why I started playing guitar because I want to sound like Angus Young – that’s what kicked off my musical journey being massively into them.

Your new single is ‘Leave a Light On’ – I’ve seen the video and that’s the single as well?

Well, yeah,  it’s not new anymore. I think it was October 2017 – no no – what year is it now? Sorry it’s been a long day – but yeah –  that’s done really well in Europe.

‘Leave A Light On’ is out now.

What’s the inspiration behind that?

It’s about one of my mates who kind of lost his way drinking a bit too much and I had a chat with him about it a few times – I was really frustrated because I couldn’t get through to him and eventually, I mean this is two years ago, he’s absolutely sweet now but at the time he was really lost, didn’t know what to do what to do and I was worried about my friend. One day I just wrote the song about it. I didn’t really think it would be big.

What’s the meaning behind the video? Where was that shot?

Croatia. Beautiful place. But yeah it was important to do a video that kind of represented what it was a bit about. I’ve not been in a lot of them and I kind of like storyboard stuff you know but the guy who was lost at sea was my mate and there’s a girl in the water – but is she there is she not? That was kind of him being in a bit of a state basically.

What do you like about Live at Leeds Have you played before?

This is my third year in a row which is amazing so hopefully next as well. It’s a wicked festival – nice that the sun is hot today – it’s so good. I’m from Manchester, it’s kind of similar weather but look at it! There’s not a cloud in the sky – it’s mint. It just makes everybody look so much happier – but yeah it’s a wicked festival. I like festivals that take advantage of the venues in town – there’s some amazing venues in Leeds. We played The Chapel which is next door to the church a few months back so it’s nice almost double the crowd capacity for this gig. The stained glass window is amazing it frames the stage.

Are you anywhere tomorrow?

Yeah, I’m at Hit the North Festival in Newcastle – I’ve got 35 festivals this summer!

Which festival is your favourite to attend?

I’m really looking forward to British Summer Time ’cause Bruno Mars is playing and I’ve never seen Bruno Mars live and I’m going to do my set and get to watch him so that will be absolutely sick. Also Boardmasters because Fat Freddy’s Drop one of my favourite bands of all time so much so that I actually referenced them in a song of mine called Blessings. Its like Fat Freddy is the drop on Spotify in the song, so I’m buzzing to actually see them live – I’ve only seen them once before – Alexander Palace in London.

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Do you have an album coming out?

Well, the Blessings EP is out now and I’m really looking forward to releasing my debut album either the end of the year or next year.

Is the album ready or is it recorded?

We’ve got all the songs, we just don’t have all the songs recorded because I’ve got a lot of gigs this year and not a lot of time. I’m not rushing it I’m not putting out something that is not absolutely banging so I want to get it right. Loads of people moaning that they want it but you know they can just wait!. Sorry –  I don’t want to put out something this rubbish it’s got to be really good. Sweet!

The 2018 UK tour is on sale now. Grab your tickets here:

Tom tells me he rarely checks his Facebook messages (we dont blame him), for any comments he asks everyone to hit him up on Instagram instead @iamtomwalker



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