Struggling with a sore throat towards the end of his UK tour, Tom Grennan sits backstage at the O2 ABC in Glasgow a few hours before he’s due to perform. His tour manager had been running around the city like a headless chicken trying to find a steamer after they’d left his at Shepherd’s Bush. With that hunt coming to no avail, Tom sits with Brig nursing a hot cup of honey, lemon and ginger instead.
This is your biggest UK tour to date. How does it feel playing to such big crowds?
Yeah. It’s definitely a big step up, man. From the last tour I was playing in venues… like, the biggest venue was around 400 people and now it’s over 1000. It feels good, man. The jump’s good. I like the pressure of it and to be fair there’s not much pressure anymore. I’m lying about that but it’s good, though!
Obviously, your throat’s starting to take the hit a bit coming towards the end of the tour. So, apart from the honey and lemon is there anything else that you have on your rider normally?
Yeah! I have some hazelnuts, almond nuts. I’m trying to be healthy but there’s, yeah, Pringles and a bottle of brandy.
Cool! Is that your drink of choice normally then?
Yeah, man. But my voice is definitely starting to feel it now, though.
Yeah, I bet! Singing for that long while you’re on tour must be pretty intense.
Yeah, man. It’s fun, though. It definitely is [the dream].
Speaking of the tour, how did you go about putting together the setlist with the album not out yet?
I don’t wanna give away all my songs on the album, ‘cause obviously the album’s not out yet but I wanted to give the set most of the album, I suppose. I think I’m not playing like three or four songs off the album. I just wanted to play songs that people would know, but give them a taste of the album as well.
Are there any tracks in particular that you really love to play? Is there a song that gets the biggest reaction out of fans or anything like that?
It’s all different reactions to different songs, man. But ‘I Might’ has been going off. ‘Praying’ has been going off. ‘I’ve Found What I’m Looking For’, ‘Sober’, the new one, they’ve all been going off pretty much.
You talked about all your tracks like ‘Found What I’m Looking For’ and you’ve had your collaboration with Chase and Status. So, are there any other artists that you’d really like to collaborate with?
Yeah! I’d like to, if I could, like, in the future, I’d love to do something with Kendrick Lamar. I’d probably love to do something with Adele. Yeah, man. Oh, and Drake!
Oh yeah, that’d be a good one! So, are there any tracks you’ve been listening to a lot of while you’ve been on tour?
Um, we’ve just been listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin.
The classics… awesome! So, seeing how far you’ve come, what do you think the next step is for you?
What’s my next step? Um… hopefully a number one album and to just keep going on, man. I’m doing a job that I love and I’m very blessed to be in the situation that I’m in, so just try and keep it going and just work hard and create more music.
I read on NME a while ago that you were working in Costa right before your music career really took off. So, what’s your coffee order normally then?
I don’t drink coffee, man. Nah, I hate it. It’s disgusting! It was just a job that was going, innit. I could make a mean cup of coffee but, nah, not for me.
Speaking of NME, what do you think of it not going to print anymore?
It’s a shame, man. It was the biggest music magazine in England. I didn’t really buy it as a kid but I definitely got it later on in my life. That’s where you’d find out the new music, find gigs, um, find out about what’s going on in the world of music and obviously it’s online now. Everything’s online, we live in an online world, innit, but it’s a shame. I don’t really like an online world to be honest.
I totally get that. I think NME is where I discovered you as well. Between that and getting played on Radio 1, would you say they’re two of the biggest influences that helped you get pushed?
Yeah man, 100%! NME’s a massive supporter. Radio 1 have done wonders for me. Yeah, they’re wicked, mate.
Tom Grennan’s debut album Lighting Matches is out July 6.