No Sheet Music Covers is a go-to collection of reworked classics created by a diverse pool of Artists, Arrangers and out and out music lovers, just for Sync. Production Coordinator, Elle Lord, got the chance to sit down and catch up with singer-songwriter Tom Walker, speaking about his humble beginnings covering classic songs, to covering his own music for the Sony Bravia campaign in 2018.
2019 really is Tom Walker’s year. Winning Best British Breakthrough Artist at the Brit Awards, and his debut album entering the charts at number 1 a week later is only the start of it. His brand-new show is about to hit the road, touring first around the UK, then into Europe, the USA and Australia.
Tom Walker! What A Time to Be Alive!
What a year it’s been!
You won a Brit
I have indeed.
Got your album to number 1
How does it feel?
I’m very blessed, very busy, and really happy. Things you don’t think you’ll get in your life, a number one album and a Brit, to get those in the same month is pretty mental.
I bet! You must be extremely busy. How do you chill out?
I spend time with my fiancée Annie – she’s the light of my world – and my lovely housemates. We hang out on Sundays. We make a big den in our living room, order as much takeaway as we desire, watch our favourite films and love life to its fullest.
What are your favourite films then?
Top Gear isn’t a film is it… I love James Bond although it’s not very chilled. A good chillout film would be Mowgli or Life of Pi. I like cinematic, colourful films.
Favourite film soundtrack?
The Bond films have the best soundtracks. I also love the Drive Soundtrack – the Kavinsky synth music is really great, I heard it was all analogue too which is cool.
Memorable soundtrack influences?
Any Bond film. I want to do the next Bond Film theme song, can you tell?
Kind of! There’s quite the theme of cover songs being increasingly used in soundtrack and advertising at the moment. Why do you think that is?
I think there’s a whole new wave of artists coming from YouTube who are constantly doing covers of well-known songs which feeds well into Sync as everyone enjoys hearing a variation on a classic! It’s great that people get the chance to express themselves on a platform which can get picked up by anyone.
You won Sync Artist of the year 2018 for Sony Bravia/”Leave a Light On” – What did it mean to have your music synced with picture?
It feels really different because it goes to a much wider mass audience, that you wouldn’t necessarily get to just by radio. Not everyone listens to radio, but pretty much everyone watches TV. When I got the Bravia Campaign, the song went up in the Shazam Charts from top 20 to top 5. I think the song actually got near number 1 through that campaign, so I’m really grateful my music was used in sync. We also got to go in to Angel Studios to re-record the song with an orchestra and make it super cinematic. It put a different light on the song, and showed it wasn’t just this bit shouty thing with a hook in it, it could also be this beautiful cinematic thing which I thought was really cool.
So, you enjoyed covering your own music – how important is it for artists to be covering each other’s music?
It’s always good to cover songs. The more you cover another artist and the more you learn from their melodies and lyrics, and you always end up taking a bit in which you can then apply to your own song writing. When I wrote “My Way” I was listening to Post Malone for ages, and I got inspired by his beats, and the way his lyric flowed so that massively influenced that track. I also covered Adele’s “Hometown Glory” for the Live Lounge which has influenced some new stuff I’ve been writing. Getting a look into other artists’ minds is helpful as it gives you a perspective of where to go next with your own writing.
“Hometown Glory” sounded epic in the Live Lounge!
Thanks. I’ve done some bad covers in my time! I used to do a pub gig where I covered loads of songs and they sounded shocking. I did them anyway because I knew people would sing along. But some Artists have the ability to bring a whole new perspective to a song, and perhaps make you like a song you didn’t like in the first place. When Ben Howard covered Carly Rae-Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” it completely changed the feel of the song – it took it to a whole new audience. It was good for him and for her and that’s the beauty of sharing music. Connecting different people with different tastes let’s people branch out and discover new music which they may not have originally listened to if it wasn’t for that cover.
When you were picking which tune to cover, were there any rogue guilty pleasures that came to mind?
Spice Girls! I sat in a room for hours trying to make a Spice Girls song work; I thought I’ve got a coolish voice I can do this. Sounded awful.
Have you heard covers of your songs?
There’s a kids choir in New York which covered “Leave a Light On” which was ridiculously cool. I always think it’s nice to hear something flipped on its head, or remixed, as it gives you insight into a different producer’s mind. Hearing something you wrote getting a different flavour or twist is always interesting.
If you could perform a cover song with the original artist who would it be? I know your music is reggae influenced – would you pick for someone iconic like Bob Marley?
Not Bob Marley, I’d be way too scared to do that. I reckon I could do something sick with Paolo Nutini – just a few lines in “Pencil Full of Lead” or maybe a tiny bit in “Iron Sky”.
Rooting for that one! What else have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
Touring lots! I’ll be performing in Japan which will be a first, so I’m super excited about that. Will hopefully be fitting in as many festivals as possible too.
Will we be seeing you at Glastonbury?
I don’t know yet! I’ve blocked out some time in my calendar for it just in case, can’t be turning down Glastonbury can I! If I’m not playing, I’ll be going with my mates.
Thanks for chatting and good luck with everything in the upcoming year – not that you need it…