Alfie Templeman: "At the start of this year I wasn't able to speak at all, there were days where I'd kind of just stay in bed and stare at the ceiling."
Bronte Evans | 30/12/2021
HATC’s Alice Gee sits down with Alfie Templeman shortly after being named Amazons breakthrough artist of 2021. The young singer-songwriter - who was discovered at just 14 - has planted himself as one of the most exciting artists in indie music this past year with the release of his mini-album “Forever Isn’t Long Enough”.
Recent singles ‘3D Feelings’ and ‘Dizzy’, which features fellow indie groundbreakers Chloe Moriondo and Thomas Headon, have been dominating UK radio playlists all winter highlighting Templeman as one of THE artists to watch in 2022.
Alice caught up with Alfie, one year after their first interview, to see how he’s been dealing with it all.
“The last time we spoke was when I was putting out the first few singles for the last project. So yeah, a lot has changed. It’s been great back to gigs, that’s been really fun and eye-opening as I didn’t really know what to expect but it is really good. I didn’t really know how to prepare myself at first, it took having to play a few gigs to remind me what it was like. And then that kind of allowed me to remind myself of all the things that I kind of taught myself, you know like; vocal techniques, how I used to practice. I was trying to teach myself the ways of working through a live concert again. It was all through firsthand experience that kind of helped me get back into the shape of things.”
Templeman was discovered 4 years ago while he was still in school and released his first EP while studying for his GCSE’s. Now 18 and able to tour the country as an adult we welcomed him into the world of adulthood, asked how this new life milestone has impacted him and how it was navigating school life and a music career.
“I’m still a teenager. I’m grumpy as sh*t and at the same time, I’m trying to have a job. It’s been quite a relief though, to leave education knowing what I want to do and going into that because most people leave college, then go to uni and they still don’t know what they’re going to do.’
“It’s just part of growing up and realising that all the things that you used to take for granted as a kid, all of a sudden, just you lose all of that. You gain all this freedom, but then you realise perhaps you’d like to be babies and pampered a little bit. But that’s just weird because now I’m an adult and I can’t do that. But I almost wished I focused on school a little bit more, but I also have different hobbies and stuff I want to try in the future.’
‘The stuff they teach like maths and all that problem-solving stuff is great knowledge to just be able to have because I find that so many of those four marker questions actually apply to life quite a lot. Like parties! How much of this do I bring? Like, I’m not talking about marijuana! It all kind of applies in a way I guess.”
Alfie’s music has always been beautifully upbeat and his latest releases have felt bigger, with a new vibrancy and sense of life experience, we asked how his writing style has changed over the years.
“I feel like in the last couple of years, I’ve been able to describe my feelings a lot better and delve into them a bit deeper. There were things a few years ago that I could have written, but I was too scared about what people would think. I don’t know whether that was because I was in school, or just because I wasn’t quite ready mentally. This new song is poppy and to put that out you have to be in a position to not care too much, and just go for it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve finally had the balls to do it! It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to write about.
I think it’s less about age nowadays, and more about the world we live in. The internet allows people to really express themselves however they want and whether you’re really young or older, people are all affected by that similarly. Especially after the pandemic, people have just decided to be a lot more free-spirited and do the things that they want to do.
There are so many people I knew in school, who since I last saw them, have completely changed. And it’s like, congratulations, you have accepted yourself and you’re now who you want to be and that is amazing, and that is how it should be.”
When we’ve spoken to Alfie in the past he has been very open about his struggles with depression and anxiety, which he believes were heightened by the pressures of being a teenager in this industry, balancing changing hormones with media exposure.
“At the start of this year I wasn’t able to speak at all, There were days where I’d kind of just stay in bed and stare at the ceiling. From the moment I wake up, I’d have a massive panic attack and just end up shaking in bed, and it was physically affecting me as I wasn’t eating or anything. For so long I wouldn’t do anything, it stopped me from making music, it stopped me from going anywhere, it sucked the colour out of everything. And it just makes you feel like you just don’t deserve anything at all. Even if someone said to me, you’re gonna play to a billion people tomorrow, and it will be the best day of your life, I would just shrug my shoulders and go back to sleep. Because there was just nothing that could convince me that what I was feeling at the moment, wasn’t the right thing to feel. For a long time, it was a lot of sitting in my room and reflecting on where I was and what had I done wrong? You know, where do I want to be? What do I want to do? The start of this year was a really big moment for me to look at myself and think, what am I going to do next? It took a good few months for me to figure out what I was doing and slowly picked myself up. I’m happy to say that it hasn’t been that bad since, I’ve definitely had wobbles along the way and things have been bad. But not compared to that before. I got therapy, I started antidepressants, I got the help that I needed. It allowed me to go back to some songs that I was working on and kind of pick myself up and just try and do the complete opposite of what I felt. Which was just like, I couldn’t do anything at all, I thought, I’ll just do the opposite and do all the things that I always wanted to do, but never had the guts to, and that’s when it kind of just cancelled it out a little bit. It allowed me to go out and do what I always wanted to do.’
‘I started to write down every negative thought I had and try to pinpoint them and delve in to find the real root of the problem. It was and still is, a really good way to eradicate some of those negative thoughts. Because more often than not, there are probably so many things in your head that are calling to be the centre of attention that are actually tiny little worries that don’t even need to exist. Sure, you can worry. But most of the time, when you do go into a state of panic, you exaggerate these things and it’s impossible to tell yourself otherwise. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is really helpful for finding the root of the problem. I also make spider diagrams about each of the things that I feel are stopping me from focusing and carrying on in my normal day-to-day life. Making music was obviously a solution because I could pick out all the problems and look for the solution while writing about them.
So for me, it was music, it was seeing friends and spending time with my girlfriend. Doing things for others as well really helped, being able to help others help themselves through my gained knowledge and experiences. But you have to do the homework, the homework is really important, you have to keep checking up on yourself, because I was so depressed I wanted to do whatever to get out of it and I will spend all day doing it, just to not feel this. I understand that it can be hard and a lot of people can struggle with that. Some things can help you and motivate you to go and find the resources.”
Due to COVID-19 Alfie hasn’t been able to tour his debut album yet, with new additions from his catalouge to add to his setlist, we ask how he feels about gettin back on the road and letting crowds experience these tracks live.
“I’ve used the few festivals that I played to test out a bunch of stuff from the album live and it was all good. It was fun. The UK tour that I’m doing next year is still all about that album, so its kind of weird to have new stuff to add in and tour an album thats not my latest project’
I’ve got lots of gigs coming up, I think we’re playing about 28 gigs, most of them are like headliners all over the world. So that’s really exciting. This has never happened before for me, people are going to see me for the first time in different parts of the world. We’re going to New York, Boston, Toronto. Portland, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and LA.”
Alfie’s Tour kicks off in March 2022 and will be in the following cities:
Newcastle - March 2nd
Glasgow - March 3rd
Leeds - March 4th
Manchester - March 5th
Sheffield - March 8th
Nottingham - March 9th
Birmingham - March 10th
Brighton - March 12th
London - March 16th
Dublin - March 18th
Paris - March 24th
Cologne - March 25th
Amsterdam - March 26th
Brussels - March 28th
Hamburg - March 29th
Berlin - March 30th
Munich - March 31st
You can get tickets now from his website
Words: Bronte Evans
Photography: Lillie Eiger