Award-Winning Artist, Tom Grennan On Affordable Ticket Prices And Music As Escapism

"I want everybody to be able to afford one of my shows and not have to worry about paying a bill the next day."

Like all great love affairs, it started in a pub. Performing to a small gathering of happy locals, it was here that UK artist Tom Grennan first his voice. A decade later, the esteemed artist might have traded pub karaoke for buzzing arenas, but despite topping the charts with hits songs such as ‘Little Bit of Love’ and ‘Remind Me,’ Grennan still knows how to lend his voice to a crowd.

Sitting down with marie claire ahead of the release of his new album What Ifs & Maybes, the singers opens up about the power of music as escapism, affordable ticket prices and why he wants to become Australia’s favourite English boy.

Marie Claire: You wanted your new album What Ifs & Maybes to be a form of escapism. Why was this important?

Tom Grennan: This album is all about spontaneity. It’s about taking a risk and being able to feel comfortable in the uncomfortable. I don’t think it is a good thing when you’re feeling too comfortable. I want this album to lift people up and let them jump into the deepest waters.

MC: Which artists offer you that form of escapism?

TG: The War On Drugs is a band that really takes me to a different place. Elton John, Amy Winehouse, Prince and Eminem also all do that for me. Listening to their music makes me feel like jumping on a rocket and leaving this Earth. I just hope that I can do that for people too.

MC: You said that you want “this album to be for people who haven’t got the confidence or feel like they can’t get somewhere.” Is this something that you’ve struggled with?

TG: I’ve always been someone to take risks. If I walk into a room and there’s a big door inside, I’ll want to know what’s behind that door. [So the album] is about being able to jump into the unknown. Of course I feel nervous but 99 per cent [of the time] when I do take the leap, good things happen.

MC: Initially you were training to be a professional footballer. How did your career change come about?

TG: I was at a pub and I love to get a little bit weird at the pub, so I jumped on the karaoke machine. People told me that I was pretty good, so I started singing, taught myself how to play guitar and started writing songs. You’ve been performing since you were 18.

Tom Grennan
(Credit: Sony.)

MC: What’s been the biggest learning from your career thus far?

TG: It doesn’t matter if you’re singing in a pub of one or a huge stadium, you always put in the same amount of effort. I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is to always work hard. I’ve still got the same work ethic that I had when I was singing to a small pub crowd. I treat every gig as though it’s my last because you never know who’s in the crowd. One gig can change your life, you know?

MC: There’s been a lot of discussion about the exorbitant cost of ticket prices for gigs. You said that amid the cost of living crisis you wanted to try to bring down the price of tickets for your new tour as much as you can. Why was that important to you and how were you able to achieve it?

TG: I tell the team I want these tickets to be affordable for people and we can all still make money, even if a ticket is £20 [approximately AU $35] cheaper. I want everybody to be able to afford one of my shows and not have to worry about paying a bill the next day. Music should be accessible. Everybody should be able to enjoy live music.

MC: You said that you tried to up the level of how you write songs and put them together for this album. How was your process different?

TG: I didn’t settle for anything less. I explored more avenues and I didn’t go home until it was fully finished.

MC: You were in Australia last year. What did you love about playing
to a crowd here?

TG: I feel at home here. I’ve got this urge to become Australia’s favourite English boy.

What Ifs & Maybes is out now. Listen here.

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