‘Talent is one thing, but passion and drive is just as important,’ says singer-songwriter Tom Speight.
The road to Tom’s debut full length record has taken more drive than most.
Having began recording the album in March 2018, Tom had a Crohn’s flare-up and subsequently spent two months in hospital, during which time his relationship broke down.
Rather than impede his creative process, he left hospital after such a difficult time more determined than ever to make the best possible record he could.
Having spent the early part of his career supporting acts like Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Travis and Keane he went on to release six EPs over 24 months, which led to his being playlisted on Radio 2.
Now the singer-songwriter is set to release Collide, and here we chat to Tom about the process of recording the album, the difficult circumstances he has overcome, his biggest inspirations and more…
What’s the thinking behind your debut album?
Collide is divided into two parts – me at the start of a relationship and coming out of one. It’s filled with love and hope plus every in-between. I’m really proud of the results. I wrote around 60 songs for the record and put everything I had into it.
You’ve released six EPs prior to this album, what drew you to record an LP now?
I felt like it was the right time to do an album. I wanted to show people I’m an album artist who can create a body of work for a long player.
Can you talk us through the process of recording the album?
I spent around three months in Devon with Chris Bond (Ben Howard’s producer and drummer) working on the songs. It was the best possible place for me to be after being in hospital. Super relaxed and away from the stresses of London! I could focus on making the best record possible .
How was it collaborating with artists like Jessica Stavely-Taylor and Benjamin Francis Leftwich on the record?
Jess is one of my oldest friends.. I don’t think of her as the mega star that she is, she is just a great friend with a great voice. Ben is a gentleman… I reached out after supporting him because I’m a huge fan of his writing style.
How would you say your sound has evolved since your first EP?
I think I’ve got more ambitious and confident since the first EP! I definitely wouldn’t have been ready to record songs like Heartshaker and Strangers Now on the first EP! I’m really proud of all my recordings because I feel like it’s part of my journey to the album.
You’ve suffered serious health problems, what drives you to pursue a career in music?
Music for me personally helps me deal with the stress of my crohn’s disease. I can escape when I’m writing or performing and forget the worries of it.
What have you learned about making music since you first stared out?
That you have to love it to stay in the business. It’s hard to break any act these days and I’ve seen a lot people drop out of the music because of that. Talent is one thing, but passion and drive is just as important.
What are your primary influences and inspirations?
Life in general, getting your heart broken, falling in love, travelling to new countries. Everything inspires me, even TV shows like Stranger Things have some influence on the album. Musically, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Oasis play a big part.
You’ve got a big UK tour coming up, do you enjoy being on the road?
I feel like I’m never not on the road at the moment. In the last four months I’ve been to Brazil, Eastern Europe, America and Mexico. I definitely enjoy touring, but I would say my favourite form of music is creating something new.
What Artists are you most excited about right now?
Phoebe Bridgers is probably the most exciting songwriter for me at the moment. I’m always excited to hear what she does next.
Forthcoming tour dates
3 April The Garage, London
17 April Whelan’s, Dublin
18 April Cyprus Avenue, Cork
19 April Róisín Dubh, Galway
20 April Voodoo, Belfast
23 April The Cuban Embassy, Birmingham
24 April The Louisiana, Bristol
25 April Night & Day Café, Manchester
2 May Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
3 May The Hug and Pint, Glasgow
4 May Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
5 May Hit the North, Newcastle