Heartbreak Kid: Tom Grennan Interviewed

Heartbreak Kid: Tom Grennan Interviewed

Searching for life lessons in the aftermath of a break-up...

Tom Grennan’s 2018 full length debut ‘Lighting Matches’ captured the hearts of many, but when his own heart was broken, the songwriter found solace in creating sophomore album ‘Evering Road’. Named for the Hackney road he lived on with his ex-girlfriend, ‘Evering Road’ looks back at his less than perfect behaviour as a boyfriend and his journey through the split.

To the English artist, ‘Evering Road’ represents “the story of love, heartbreak and redemption”.

We spoke to Grennan from his home - over the phone - about why he is “buzzing” that ‘Evering Road’ is out.

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‘Evering Road’ was originally due to be released last year, but the delay gave Tom “time to reset” and “prepare emotionally and physically for this album to come out”. While he acknowledges that it’s been a tough year for everyone, he remains optimistic. “I feel like there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for sure,” he says.

‘Evering Road’ seems to be the product of a *lot* of soul-searching and reflection. He describes himself as the “toxic one” in the relationship”. “I didn't love myself,” he continues. “I had to love myself before I could love anybody else.”

There are a lot of different emotions on the record. Tom talks us through them. “I think there's a lot of sadness, but there's also a lot of realisation and uplifting emotion there where I'm so honest, I'm so truthful. And it's me saying ‘Iml holding my hands up for the things I've done. And I'm not here to shy away from that’. But, I think, there's all sorts of emotions. And there's someone who wants to be a better man in there. And I've definitely become that.”

“I would describe it as a break-up album, but I wouldn't say it's a sad, ‘cry about it’, ‘blame it on her’ kind of album.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite with anthemic, soaring tracks. “I just keep saying the word ‘honesty’. But that's what it is. I've realised that I had to be honest to become better. So this is a breakup album, but not not like your usual sad one. It's an uplifting breakup.”

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Writing such personal songs was “therapeutic” for Grennan. “It made me understand a lot about myself and made me heal and it allowed me to have space to think - space and time to write songs and open up about everything I was going through and it was amazing. It was an amazing healing process”.

If Grennan’s debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ was where he was trying to find his voice and find his feet in the music industry, ‘Evering Road’ sees him use his personal experiences to flourish. “[With ‘Evering road’] It's the first time I've actually felt like I'm a proper artist and the first time I've like, really stepped into an artist’s shoes, and I'm very, very proud of it.” The process has taught Tom about the type of artist he wants to be as he goes from strength to strength.

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Tom’s recent chart-topping collaboration with Ella Henderson, ‘Let's Go Home Together’ is on the album too. “She's an amazing artist, and so talented,” he says of Ella.

Tom’s live stream shows have been met with high demand. “Twenty seven thousand people tried to come in at once, and we crashed the system - which was crazy. It's been lovely to connect with fans and, and keep fans engaged and me being engaged with them too through this lockdown. I've been talking to loads of fans and we've been just connecting and, and yeah... they like friends. And I [feel like they feel like?] I'm their friend too. So that's what I want.”

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When asked what might have happened if there hadn’t been a break-up, Tom Grennan responds: “I don't think there would [have been] a second album. Well, there might have been one, but it would have been shit, because I don't know what I'd be writing about.. I can't really tell you. This album needed to happen. I needed... I didn't love myself at that time. I needed to be honest with people and be honest with myself. And that's what's happened. And I'm just so grateful for this album.”

On upcoming tour, he comments: “I'm so excited. I feel like we haven't seen a live show in so long that feels like forever. And honestly, I can't wait to just do and be doing, doing what I love. And not only that, it's like, so many people have lost their jobs through this. It's not just the artists, but backline and venues and everybody - so many people have lost their jobs. And when all this is over and we can actually get back to normal life like everybody's going to just be back to what they love doing. That's from fans coming into the venues from bands and artists playing the songs and everybody who is involved in the background has their jobs back and it's just been a sad time for everybody.”

“But finally, there's a green light being shone and and there's something to look forward to and I can't wait for people to be coming and watching and singing and just feeling normality again.”

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Tom Grennan's new album' Evering Road' is out now via Insanity Records.

Words: Narzra Ahmed

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