EXCLUSIVE: Etham opens up before his upcoming busking tour in support of YoungMinds
Starting in Glasgow, Etham will perform in six cities, raising funds for mental health charity YoungMinds.
"The journey of one of the UK's most talented singer-songwriters, Etham comes full circle as he revisits old memories of his busking days as he gears up for a busking tour across the country in support of YoungMinds, one of the nation's leading mental health charities.
On the high street in Guildford, Etham used to busk for hours and be satisfied with the thought of hopefully brightening someone's day. In our chat, he opens up about going through challenging periods in his life and his musical trajectory not always being sunshine and rainbows. Fuelled by hope and faith in his talents, Etham focuses on putting hard work in and is committed to his craft long-term.
Stay tuned for more day-to-day updates on Etham’s busking locations on his Instagram @etham.
Welcome to Head Above The Clouds, how are you doing today, where did we catch you?
Hey I’m very well thank you and I’m actually in Glasgow at the start of a busking tour I’m doing for of a charity called YoungMinds in support of young peoples mental health and I’m going to be making way down all the way to Brighton stopping at Manchester/Liverpool/Birmingham/London and then finishing in Brighton.
Starting off with your upcoming busking tour in support of YoungMinds, what a great cause, how are you feeling before heading out?
Really excited because I haven’t busked since I was around 15/16 so it will be fun to re-visit some old memories of busking and to do it for a great cause just adds to excitement.
Does busking take you back to the beginning of your career?
It does, I used to busk in the high street in Guildford for hours on end and wether it be really cold or really hot it’s still such a great feeling at the end of the day knowing that it may have brightened someone’s day and it was also just such great practice for me.
What do you feel reflecting on time when you started out? Would your younger self be proud?
I think he would yeah. I always said if I can just do enough to make this my full time job then I’m doing something right and I never thought it would actually take me this far at the level it is and I still feel like I’m at the beginning.
Was everyone supportive when you started pursuing music full-time?
Some were and some wasn’t but I think entering a career like music I think you’re always gonna have some people question it but you just gotta work hard and believe you’re worthy of pursuing a career like this.
Who would like to love to make an album with? (anyone from the industry)
Personally for me I’d love to make an album with Mark Ronson or Jimmy Napes or both!
Would you mind sharing how this collaboration come about?
Well I’ve always wanted to help younger people wether that be in music or in anyway I can and luckily this opportunity by chance came around so I jumped at it.
Would you say you relate to the issues YoungMinds deal with, if so, could you elaborate for our readers please?
Yeah I can really relate because I had a bit of a turbulent upbringing starting with my parents who had a messy divorce that ended in us losing our house and pretty much everything me and my sister thought what was our lives and it deeply effected me because I was 9 years old not having a clue what was going on other than just seeing arguments and kinda having to figure a lot of stuff out for myself and it still effects me to this day so I can really relate to those who are going through a similar thing or any type of turbulent situation that they can’t control.
At HATC, we often give artists and creators a platform to open up about their mental health struggles. If you feel comfortable sharing, what was the darkest period of your life?
I think for me there’s been a few especially those moments growing up but I think the worst was when I got dropped from my previous record label and getting into adulthood the support from others and my family wasn’t really there so I had no one to really turn to and covid just hit so I had no money, could barely pay my rent and the thought of being homeless was an hourly thought for a long time. I was just at the lowest point I think I’ll ever experience in my life possibly and when I was trying everything to get out of it I felt like I just kept hitting walls but after a long time of just not giving up I luckily found a way out but it took a while for me to get over what I had been through but with hard work it really does get better and that experience now is a huge driving force for me so I do everything I can to never be in that position again cause it really wasn’t nice.
What helped you the most to keep your head above the clouds?
I know it’s cliche but it was just hope, I’m not one to just give up so I had no other option other than to just hold onto hope and work hard until something gave.
You just performed in Seoul, South Korea out of all places, this was marked your biggest show to date. How did you grow such a loyal audience there? How was the show?
Yeah it was so amazing, I feel so grateful that my music connected out there. It was kinda random how it took off there, basically a big band from Korea covered one of my songs and then it just kinda blew up and I’m so grateful for their support and doing that for me. The show was incredible and everyone was so insanely lovely and amazing. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my life.
On November 24th, you will share your new EP ‘Patterns’ with the world. Without giving too much away, what can your fans expect from this body of work
They can expect just a more evolved sound and more honesty in my songs. Every song is really personal and drawn from my own experiences and I’m really excited to also have music videos which I’ve been working closely with an amazing director called Damian and he’s so amazing and I just can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on for the past year.
Are there any behavioural patterns of yours you would like to change about yourself?
I think for me I have a massive fear that it’s all going to be taken away from me, for example, my house, my money, my career, my life, it’s just something I constantly think about and I’m making a huge effort to start living in the moment instead of worrying so much about the future but also just work hard so the future just handles it’s self.
Looking ahead, what are you working towards? Are you brainstorming new sounds, experimenting with new genres?
I’m currently just about to start working on my new EP and also have had the pleasure on working g on other peoples projects and feel so lucky to have that because working on other peoples songs is so fun to me because I get to experiment with new sounds that I can maybe eventually put into my own music.