I’m still ner­vous... I’ve gone from pubs to singing for 14,000 peo­ple

As Lewis Ca­paldi cel­e­brates his de­but al­bum, the Scot­tish singer-song­writer talks to LUCY MAPSTONE about his dis­be­lief over his suc­cess so far, his so­cial me­dia persona, and why fans keep giv­ing him silly sun­glasses

Llanelli Star - - SOUND OUT -

LEWIS Ca­paldi swears as much as the Gal­lagher brothers, loves to drink Buck­fast on a night out, and he has the voice of an an­gel. He’s also in­ex­pli­ca­bly mod­est for some­one as tal­ented as he is.

The 22-year-old Scot­tish singer­song­writer, whose tri­umphs over the past cou­ple of years have given him a ca­reer he could never dream of, is a de­light to talk to. But he’s still a bit be­wil­dered by it all.

“I’m com­pletely sur­prised about it,” he declares.

“For lack of any bet­ter phrase, I don’t have a f***ing clue what’s go­ing on!”

There is much to talk to him about, from his rise to fame and his ac­co­lades, which in­clude a Brit Crit­ics’ Choice Award nom­i­na­tion, a place on BBC Mu­sic’s Sound of 2018 list and his seven weeks at num­ber one with his sin­gle Some­one You Loved.

There is also his pen­chant for dis­cussing his toi­let habits and mock­ing him­self on In­sta­gram.

Lewis is al­most as fa­mous for his so­cial me­dia shenani­gans as he is for his heav­enly voice and charis­matic, emo­tional bal­lads, but he says the two seem­ingly at-odds facets of his persona were not planned.

“I don’t re­ally pay much mind to what I put on so­cial me­dia, as you can prob­a­bly tell,” he jokes.

“I just act like a t** and film it for a laugh, but the mu­sic side of things I put thought into.

“Maybe peo­ple like me be­cause of a com­bi­na­tion of the two, but I never set out to be any­thing in par­tic­u­lar. I don’t have a clue how to write a song that does well, or how to do any­thing on In­sta­gram.

“I don’t know the first thing about so­cial me­dia strat­egy.”

Lewis has 1.8 mil­lion In­sta­gram

fol­low­ers and 405,000 on Twit­ter, and they have be­come ac­cus­tomed to his hi­lar­i­ous self-filmed videos in which he mocks him­self, of­ten in a pair of bizarre sun­glasses or a not-so-fetch­ing shell suit.

Hav­ing been dubbed “the fun­ni­est mu­si­cian on so­cial me­dia” by a num­ber of out­lets, one of his most pop­u­lar mo­ments saw him com­plain­ing about block­ing his toi­let in a fancy Amer­i­can ho­tel, but dis­cov­er­ing the ab­sence of a plunger or toi­let brush.

The sun­glasses in par­tic­u­lar are a com­mon trope of Lewis’s. It means fans are now giv­ing him more shades than he can deal with.

“When­ever we go on tour I’ve got a suit­case full of ridicu­lous sun­glasses,” he says. “But I’m get­ting into it. I love it now and it means the world to me.”

Away from so­cial me­dia, Lewis is, above all else, an ex­tremely tal­ented singer-song­writer and gui­tarist whose de­but al­bum is sell­ing fast.

Ear­lier this year he an­nounced a huge arena tour, head­lin­ing venues such as the SSE Hy­dro in Glas­gow and London’s Wem­b­ley Arena, and sell­ing out in min­utes. It was re­ported to be the first time any­body planned a tour in such large venues be­fore their de­but al­bum had been re­leased.

“I mean, I was quite con­tent when we were do­ing our tour at the end of last year,” Lewis says.

“We were do­ing gigs in 2,000 ca­pac­ity rooms and I was like, ‘This is in­cred­i­ble, this is as big as I’m ever go­ing to get and that’s ab­so­lutely fine’.

“I’ve al­ways been quite laid-back. When I first got my man­ager, I said all I want to do is play King Tut’s, which is a place in Glas­gow for 500 peo­ple – that’s a goal.

“And then I did it, and now it’s gone be­yond any­thing that I could have ever hoped for. So all of this is a com­plete f***ing sur­prise.”

He was ner­vous when he an­nounced the arena tour weeks be­fore his de­but al­bum, Di­vinely Unin­spired To A Hellish Ex­tent, was re­leased.

“The peo­ple around me were say­ing, ‘Look, this is the right move’. And I was like, ‘OK cool, I’ll give it a go’. So we did it, and now it’s sold out.

“Even now, I’m still ner­vous. It al­ready went from small pubs to a few thou­sand ca­pac­ity rooms, very quickly, and now it’s go­ing from that to 14,000 peo­ple.”

It’s a long way from half a life­time ago for Lewis who, at the age of 11, started per­form­ing in pubs.

“I started play­ing the gui­tar when I was nine, be­cause my older brother, who is six years older than me, was do­ing it,” he ex­plains.

“I started writ­ing songs from that age too, and when I turned 11, I wanted to play gigs. My brother, was in a band, and he got me into pubs. Ob­vi­ously I was 11 so I wasn’t al­lowed to be in a pub, so I’d have to go and hide in the bath­room be­fore

I played, and I’d al­ways leave im­me­di­ately after.

“I did that, kick­ing around through­out Scot­land from then un­til the age of 19 or 20.”

Lewis was in and out of bands through­out that time, but was bet­ter off as a solo artist, record­ing songs on his phone and up­load­ing them to his Sound­Cloud ac­count.

“My man­ager now, he found me on­line through that. He was just scour­ing Sound­Cloud and just hap­pened to find one of my scratchy demos and emailed me out of the blue... and here we are!”

With the al­bum sell­ing fast and the arena tour ready to go, talk turns to the fu­ture, which Lewis hasn’t thought much about.

He’s still keen to have a night out drinking Buck­fast Tonic Wine and lager with his friends in Scot­land when he can, “like any nor­mal 22-year-old”, he says, and he’s banked a “four-day ben­der” later this year to cel­e­brate the suc­cess of his sin­gle Some­one You Loved.

But when asked about his big goals, he pon­ders for a mo­ment.

“I’d maybe like to have a top five al­bum, that’d be nice,” he says.

“And get to that level in dif­fer­ent territorie­s too. The UK is lead­ing the pack at the mo­ment, which is great, but I’d love to, way down the line, have that some­where out­side of the UK.

“I’d like to see what we can do in Amer­ica, and if I could do a col­lab­o­ra­tion with some­one at some point.”

He adds, with a laugh: “It’s good to have goals, but I dunno! I’m not a very am­bi­tious per­son.”

■ Lewis Ca­paldi’s al­bum Di­vinely Unin­spired To A Hellish Ex­tent is out now.

Lewis Ca­paldi seems slightly be­mused by his cur­rent fame

Fans send Lewis silly sun­glasses

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