London-born folkie Thomas J. Speight has been living life in the fast lane since graduating from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts not long ago. He’s collaborated with Keane, The Staves, and Stephen Fretwell, plus took to the stage with Mumford & Sons, AND supported Travis on a UK tour.
In today’s video premiere for new single ‘Just Where I Want To Be' (Killing Moon 17th Feb) he’s literally in the fast lane, challenging band-mates to a kart race and winning the trophy, although there may have been a little bit of creative licence used: “I've never actually driven a car or a go kart before so my first lap was so slow. The band and crew were cracking up and comparing my driving skills to their grandmothers”, says Speight.
A diet of high calibre influences informed Speight’s childhood - The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Shins, Joni Mitchell – and his own work has even caught the ear of Sir Paul McCartney, who apparently a Thomas J. Speight t-shirt! Watch the accompanying video for ‘Just Where I Want To Be’ below:
You’re a graduate of LIPA, the McCartney funded school for musicians. How was this experience? Did McCartney give you any advice?
I had a great time at LIPA and I was very grateful that I got a place, I didn't think for one minute that I would get in. I was very lucky to have met my band there..they are some of the most talented players and writers I've heard..so I will be forever grateful to LIPA for that, as for Sir Paul.. he actually didn't give me any advice apart from 'I wouldn't change a thing'.
Tell us about your collaborations with Keane and The Staves.
I recorded my first EP with Keane... I think Tim told us we were actually the first people in his studio. It was a great experience for me..they've become great friends and mentors to me. I've known The Staves for a long time..Jess is one of my really good friends and always helps out with guest vocals and before you ask the next question..no l will not give you her number.
What can we expect from this year’s album?
I just want to be make the best possible album I can… It will definitely have the bigger tracks like 'Just Where I Want To Be' and the more stripped back sounds of 'Willow Tree' (2010 EP)
For those yet to see you live what do you bring to the party?
I think people forget music is entertainment sometimes..I just want people to have a good time and connect to the songs. I put 110 percent into my live shows and it's definitely the most rewarding part for me.
Words: Simon Butcher
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