With his sensational debut album ‘Only Human’, Calum Scott has given us something incredibly special. The empowering record won’t let you down!
Despite only being released last month, ‘Only Human’ has collectively been streamed more than one billion times which is a phenomenal achievement. Calum’s faultless vocals, impassioned lyrics and musical virtuosity are the reason for his global success.
We caught up with the Hull-born singer-songwriter, who is currently touring the UK, backstage in Manchester. In our exclusive interview, he spoke about: being an openly gay artist, collaborating with Leona Lewis, his favourite lyrics and much more.
You can read highlights and hear our full interview with Calum Scott below!
You released your debut album ‘Only Human’ last month and it’s already been streamed a billion times. Congratulations. How’ve you found the response?
“Thanks man. A billion is never a number I thought I’d be meddling with and yet, cumulatively, we’ve streamed the album a billion times. It’s insane. I still feel like a very normal Yorkshire lad so to have that number against my name is pretty crazy. These songs I’ve slept with for maybe a year and a half now; so to have these songs finally all compacted into a nice little album with a nice little album artwork and out in the world for people to enjoy is just the most amazing feeling ever.”
For people who haven’t yet heard the record, how would you describe it?
“In true Calum Scott style, it’s: soppy, emotional, cry-worthy. It’s all the emotions you’d expect from Calum Scott but there’s also some things thrown in there for good measure. I’ve got some upbeat pop stuff on there and I’ve got stuff I’ve written with the Max Martin camp so it’s a lot more pop and a lot more upbeat. Then I’ve got some covers; obviously I’ve put ‘Dancing On My Own’ on there and a Bob Dylan cover as well. So there’s a whole mash of things in there but just to give people a balanced idea of who I am as an artist and as a person as well.”
The opening track ‘If Our Love Is Wrong’ speaks of your coming out story and we’re sure it’s going empower lots of listeners. How did it feel writing and recording such an important song?
“I think ‘If Our Love Is Wrong’ was definitely a personal thing that I had to get off my chest. Out of the show (Britain’s Got Talent), the press were assuming I was straight. My family back home and my friends knew that I was gay but my dad, by this point, still hadn’t been told by me. I was kind of in a really awkward place where the press could have got hold of something and ran stories. My dad wouldn’t have known and would have found out in a really awful way through the press and not through me so I was in this really weird predicament. So I basically went into a songwriting session and just cried my heart out. I was like I’m in this horrible position, I’m terrified that I’m going to lose my fanbase and I’m terrified that I’m going to disappoint people.
“To give some context to that, when I was really young I’d told my friends that I was gay or that I might have been gay and I was completely abandoned. So from a very young age, I’ve always associated telling people I was gay with either losing respect or losing friendship. I was terrified that I’d just created this moment on the show and suddenly received a huge global fanbase. I was terrified that they’d not accept me. ‘If Our Love Was Wrong’ was definitely a very personal song I had to get off my chest but in doing so, it gave me the biggest relief and empowerment. I’m basically saying in there that I don’t know how people are going to be with it but if it’s wrong then I don’t even want to be right. Kind of trying to empower people and to put it right at the top of the album speaks volumes about how I feel. My journey and stuff hopefully will affect people in a positive way. I could speak for hours about this because I’m so passionate. I just want people to feel like when it’s their time to be able to come out, there are people who’ve been through this and people who know how it feels. There’s a lot of love for them in the world for when they do come out.”
Your single ‘You Are The Reason’ has now reached over one million sales and over 36 million streams. Do you feel more proud knowing that you wrote it?
“Yeah, I mean obviously I love ‘Dancing On My Own’ and I love singing it. Testament to Robyn; she’s an incredible songwriter. But to have a song that I’ve written and that’s come from inside of me hit one million sales is just the most insane feeling ever. Like I said, dealing in the words million and billion for me is just like so much of a dream away that it almost feels like I’m being given fake news. I’m like ‘is it though or is it just my mum pressing repeat?’ you know. Like I say, it’s a massive honour and I still can’t believe it. I’m still counting my blessings every day.”
You’ve also released a duet version of the song with Leona Lewis – how did that come about and how’ve you found working with her?
“Oh, she’s just a superstar. She’s so down to earth and so easy to work with. I think the unwritten bond with me and Leona is that we both come from that talent show kind of vibe and we’ve gone on, stuck our foot in the door and worked hard to get a career out of it. We instantly connected and she’s just so funny. We’re literally getting split up from each other to get work done. It’s so funny and long may we continue to work. I know that there’s plans to so yeah, it’s just so amazing working with her. She’s a superstar singing my song. Again, an unbelievable moment.”
‘Come Back Home’ and ‘Good To You’ are two of our personal favourites on the album, have you got a favourite at the moment or is that like picking between children?
“Nice. It’s like picking my favourite child. Yeah, for sure. I think ‘You Are The Reason’ was always a special one for me anyway because of tributes to my grandma. It’s a song that’s written where everyone can take their own reason specifically so it’s very relatable. Even if it’s somebody that’s no longer with us, it’s nice to sort of immortalise them. I suppose every time I’ve sang that song live, it’s always had the biggest reaction. I think that’s because you can see from the songwriting and from the performance that it comes from a very genuine place. So ‘You Are The Reason’ is obviously a really special one to me and probably ‘Hotel Room’ which is like my ‘Dancing On My Own’; that rejection but from somebody who’s not even gay. It’s the most frustrating thing ever. I always fall for the bloody straight guys. Especially with the gay community, it’s obviously very relatable but even outside of that too. Even just wanting someone to say ‘I love you’ in the same way that you mean it instead of just in a casual way throwing it around.”
You’ve named your sister Jade as a huge inspiration and you wrote ‘Won’t Let You Down’ about her – how did she react when you first played the song to her?
“Well I was actually away from her when I sent her it. So she had it in her earphones, she didn’t have me there to just play up to and she was just like FaceTiming me. Her mascara had gone all over her face, she looked like a panda and I was like ‘what the hell has gone on?’ so she was like I’ve just listened to the song. Because of the way it all happened with the show and everything like that, I think she was just so overwhelmed to have me sort of tribute her and reappreciate her through my music. To hear it on track is quite something. When I played ‘Hotel Room’ to the guy who’d broken my heart, he cried. I think it’s because music really moves people but when it’s written about you, it’s even more personal. Jade cries every time I play ‘Won’t Let You Down’ live and it’s nice because it means that I can tribute my own sister on my album.”
You’re currently touring the UK, how have you found the shows so far?
“Mad. I still feel like when I’m out there, a headline act is gonna come on. I did it with Jamie Lawson and I’ve done it with Emeli Sandé so it’s very bizarre because I’ve never had my own tour. I’m like waiting for the headline act to come on and be like ‘get off, it’s my turn’ but I have my own support act and it’s my own show. It’s amazing. Everybody is there to see a Calum Scott show so it’s very overwhelming. I’ve cried at every single one and I don’t think I’m going to stop.”
You also have tons of international shows lined up and the album has charted all over the world – is it overwhelming to see so much global support?
“Insane. That whole Europe run is going to be mind-blowing. I have never gone into those markets and done my own show. To know how well they’re selling and that there’s people dying for me to go to these cities; I’m very nervous but very sort of honoured in the same way. Like I’m nervous in a great way because I’m just so eager to get there and perform for these guys who’ve really been patient in me going to their country. To know how well the songs are doing before I even get there makes me more excited. I see on the iTunes charts and stuff that my songs are creeping up in Germany and in France and in Sweden. I’m just like when I get there, people are going to know these songs. With the UK one, people are singing the lyric to every song and I’m blown away by it. In Dublin, I think I spent the most part just in shock. When I started the tour, I was like ‘oh my god, everyone knows all the songs’. It’s just unreal.”
What does the rest of 2018 have in store?
“I have got this tour that I don’t want to end but I’m already working on album two. I’m working with other artists this year as well on their projects and I’ve got more music videos to film. I’m going over to Australia, America and doing a lot of stuff in Europe. I’ve got loads planned this year. Towards the back end of the year, I think I’m going over to Asia and doing a bunch of stuff over there which will be the first time for me. Planning a world tour I think is in the pipeline. I’ve just done little bits but to do a full on world tour and have a poster would be so amazing.”
If you could leave a message for your fans, what would you say?
“Oh my god, thank you from the bottom of my heart literally. Like I’ve just said, I know I would be nowhere without every individual contributing whether that’s supporting me on social media, buying my album or coming to see a show. None of it is glanced over as just a number. I’m sincerely grateful for every single person who helps me to do what I love to do every single day. I will continue to entertain until I can no longer do it so just the biggest of thank yous.”
‘Only Human’ is available here on iTunes and here on Spotify. It’s an early front runner for our album of the year. The emotional record features Calum’s double platinum hit ‘Dancing On My Own‘ and his latest single ‘You Are The Reason‘ which was recently certified platinum in Australia.
As mentioned in the interview, Calum has lots planned in 2018. He will be performing all over the globe and filming more music videos too so watch out for those soon. You can keep the gifted vocalist on your radar by following @CalumScott on Twitter. We will also keep you updated.
Since his Britain’s Got Talent audition in 2015, Calum Scott has gone from strength to strength. The charismatic singer is rightfully taking the world by storm. Long may his success continue!
What do you think of ‘Only Human’ by Calum Scott? Which are your favourite tracks on the record? Make sure you let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix!