Tom Walker October 10, QMU, Glasgow
“It seems that every other song in the charts is about jewellery and clubs and Lamborghinis,” said big-lunged singer-songwriter Tom Walker recently in relation to the appeal of his massive worldwide hit, Leave A Light On.
A mid-tempo gut-wrencher about watching a friend lose their way to drugs, it has so far racked up sales of over 570,000 in the UK (1.8 million worldwide) and has reached number one in the iTunes charts in 16 countries since its release back in October 2017.
Born in Glasgow, brought up in Manchester and a graduate of London College of Contemporary Music, Walker plays this full UK tour ahead of the release of his debut album What A Time To Be Alive on October 19.
Produced by Mike Spencer (Years And Years, Rudimental, Jamiroquai), the album’s title is sincere, with the 26-year-old aiming to make pop with depth while finding reasons for optimism in a troubled world.
Though he may appear to come from nowhere fully formed, Walker has been quietly releasing tracks for a few years.
Anything but quiet though, is his gutsy, gravelly voice. Coming “late to the party”, he only realised he could sing after deciding to try out his own compositions as he didn’t yet know anyone who might fit the bill in London. On the album he even shows off his falsetto in Now You’re Gone, a break-up duet sung with Swedish pop star Zara Larsson.
Walker had first heard Larsson perform a version of her hit It Ain’t My Fault for Radio
1, a track also produced by Spencer.
“Strangely, I didn’t think our voices would work well together, but we have a really nice back and fourth,” says Walker.
He adds: “She’s obviously a whole lot bigger than I am and she’s doing her own thing, so it’s very cool she jumped on the track and I’m absolutely buzzing about her being on my debut album.”
What A Time To Be Alive’s cover, created by artist Craig Alan, features Larsson and Spencer among the cast of over 2000 people involved in some way in making the record. “There’s been a lot of people working on this, and who have influenced this, no matter how big or small,” says Walker. “The whole concept of the album for me was all the people involved coming together to make a
Clockwise from left: Tom Walker; and Tony Iommi, who visits Paisley Town Hall on October 12