Calum Scott: "I think every album I’ve done has been a snapshot in time. I want to tell stories; I want to take people on a journey through my mental health and how I’ve gone from moments where I didn’t know if I could carry on."
Jade Poulters 23/07/2022
Calum Scott was happy to sit down with HATC and discuss all things his new album as it gave him a much welcome break from signing the thousand or so album sleeves his dedicated fans had preordered before its release on June 17th. Giving his hands a break, we got to dive into this new record, his lockdown journey and life on the road.
HATC: Let’s talk about your new album Bridges what headspace were you in when you were writing it?
Calum: For me, this is a coming-of-age album. The first album (Only Human, 2018) was very much built around me being thrown into this incredible world after my version of “Dancing on My Own” and how that completely changed my life. I was suddenly signed to Capitol Records and given an album deal and it was all just ‘whoa this is crazy’. It was a collection of all the emotions and experiences I went through over that time and was my best first attempt at writing an album. I’m still very proud of it and happy that people related to its vulnerability. That became a goal and an objective going forward, to give myself to my music and be that vulnerable so people can continue to resonate with what I’m writing.
This new album takes off from that and holds a mirror up to myself and asks, who am I now. It was 2019 and there was suddenly a stillness I had never felt before and started to get quite tough, but I became more confident with my writing and more aware of what I wanted to talk about.
I was meant to have two weeks in LA and two weeks in Nashville, right at the top of 2020, but obviously, lockdown happened so I went back to Yorkshire by myself. The first few weeks I lost all motivation, at that time I just felt like there were so many bigger things going on in the world than me writing an album. I hadn’t been on my own that long my entire life, but the stillness of lockdown gave me the time to look through my catalogue of stuff that was beautiful, but I had dismissed.
“Bible” was the first track that was written which is about this love for somebody beyond measure, which came from being isolated and just thinking about the love I have for people. “Rise” the second single, came from the idea of dusting ourselves off and picking ourselves up again, really about trying to motivate myself. I ended up writing “Bridges” with Danny from The Script, which is probably the most vulnerable track I’ve ever written about how much darker my life was when I was struggling with my mental health. By the end of lockdown, I had 13 tracks.
I think every album I’ve done has been a snapshot in time. I want to tell stories; I want to take people on a journey through my mental health and how I’ve gone from moments where I didn’t know if I could carry on. It’s a long and sometimes painful journey to where I am now, but now I’ve never been more confident.
That’s great to hear. So the process must have helped you emotionally then, dealing with some feelings and figuring out others you didn’t know were there?
In some way, it is painful, because it’s like digging into old wounds and rummaging around to try and bring out what you felt at the time. Some of these songs took hours to write and it was very, very tough to sit and explain to Danny how I felt and relive those moments, but it was important for me to do that.
I saw the first album as a sort of coming out journey. I think that helped a lot of people, either in their own journeys or to become more compassionate. Seeing how the songs resonated with people was very emotional for me, as all I’ve ever wanted to do was help people. So, it just made sense on this album for me to be even more honest seeing I could make a difference made me more assured and confident. I had a new objective, because if I can make a difference or make a change with my platform being an advocate for mental health awareness or the LGBTQ+ community it feels worth it.
On this album there is a fuller sound in the tracks, especially ‘Heaven’. Was that a conscious decision production wise to add more depth to the sound to reflect the depth of the lyrics and themes?
Definitely. I wanted to take the DNA from the first and create the second from that, not necessarily a blueprint copy, but to take the essence and the honesty and immerse that in a more evolved and developed sound. I spent a lot of time trying to craft my songwriting, strengthen my vocals and step outside of my comfort zone, which I never thought I could.
When I was writing “Heaven”, “Rise” and “Biblical” there was just a moment where I realized how significant they were, so I wanted to give them everything. I wanted something bigger in the delivery, something that had tempo, movement, and ambience in the feel.
I don’t know why I’m writing songs that I’m terrified to sing live just because they are so reaching, but I think that you can hear the emotion in those moments. When I was writing I spent time asking what do I want this album? What kind of noise do I want to use on this album? There’s been a lot of thought that’s gone into that.
You were just on tour with Danny and The Script, that must have been exciting to get back on stage after the past two years and back to almost normality?
I just did two and a half weeks with them in the US, and it was just so magical. I mean being back out and performing in actual venues where you can see people in person not on a screen or virtually, it’s a real audience who are sat without masks on singing the words back to you. You could see the light in their eyes, and it was just the most amazing feeling.I think everybody is going back to shows excited, I’ve got my own world tour coming up in July until November and I’m so excited.
Looking back as well as forward, what would you say would be the biggest change and challenge in your career so far?
Life changed for me beyond recognition, in some ways, I went from working in the human resources office, to then touring around the world with people knowing my songs and singing them. You know, my name would be announced, and people would cheer. It was hard to come to terms it if I’m brutally honest. I was never after that kind of thing; it was always just the love music for me. So I think adapting and accepting that it’s not just Calum from home now was a big, big change for me.
Calum’s sophmore album Bridges is avaliable to buy and stream now. Tickets for his world tour from July-November are also still avaliable to purchase from CalumScott.com
Words: Jade Poulters
Photography: Scott Hull