At just 18-years-old, Guildford talent Tom King is already making a name for himself as an honest songwriter with the vocal chops to match. With a style similar to the likes of Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, and Adele, it seems to be just a matter of time until he skyrockets to an equal amount of fame.
We caught up with King to talk about his creative process, making music videos and advice for aspiring songwriters.
How early on did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I’ve always been super into Musical Theatre so that was my go-to profession. However it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I thought I really wanted to give singing a shot! It was mostly encouragement from my amazing singing teacher that really gave me confidence to start taking steps towards being an artist.
Were there any artists, in particular, you were drawn to growing up?
I’ve loved a variety of music growing up. I’ve always been in love with Adele and Sam Smith (my two big influences). I was obsessed with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga when I was younger as well.
What’s your creative process like?
It differs, more recently I’ve been lucky enough to go into studios and do co-writes with some really cool people, but when I’m on my own I usually like to build up a chord sequence first and then build on top with lyrics and melody etc. As I say this changes all the time, sometimes a melody will come to me in the shower, or driving my car, or some lyrics will pop into my head at any random time.
Do you prefer to write whenever inspiration strikes or do you set aside time to get in a creative headspace?
When I’m by myself I will ONLY write when inspiration strikes, I feel that’s when my songs are the best. However now I’m starting to write in the studio, with other people and you have to book in months in advance it’s not as easy. I try to write things down if I ever do have ideas so then I can come back to them in a session and hopefully have all the creativeness flow back.
Earlier this year, you and director Pedro Romhanyi created the visuals for “No Mans Land” in just two days (and during lockdown no less). What was that experience like for you?
It was great! It was the first proper music video I’d done and it was super cool working with Pedro. He was amazing, he had so many ideas and knew exactly what to do. He made it easy.
You also recently released your single “Be That for Me” with an absolutely stunning music video to match. Were there any difficulties or aspects of filming on location that you didn’t expect?
It was definitely tricky lugging all the equipment around, as it was just me and Caitlin. We also had a really tight time frame because we wanted to film it at sunset, so we had about an hour to get all the shots filmed. It worked out ok in the end though 🙂
You’ve been very open about the fact that “Be That for Me” comes from a very real, honest place. When writing from such an emotional place, is it hard for you to find the right words to articulate what you’re feeling, or do they just flow right out?
I feel like for me they definitely just flow, especially when I’m feeling a certain way. When I try to write songs that aren’t about me, in particular, I notice I take a lot more time over the lyrics and the overall song. When something really means something to me it just rolls off the tongue.
It goes without saying that 2020 hasn’t gone the way anyone was expecting… Has the mess of the year affected your plans for the future?
It’s been very scary and unpredictable but taking one day at a time is the only way to get through it. To be honest I try not to plan too much into the future and take things as they come. Things seem to be changing every day so we will have to see.
Lastly, do you have any words of advice for young aspiring artists out there who aren’t sure where to get started?
Just start! Write that first lyric, put out that debut single. People seem to be scared to put stuff out there. Everyone starts from somewhere. Everything you make gets better and everything will grow, just remember to be patient.
Check out King’s brand new single “Hiding Away”!
He revealed, “I wrote Hiding Away with Jonathan Quarmby in a session at RAK Studios. I spoke about an experience I had with someone where everything was secretive and all I wanted to do was break free from it. We came up with the line ‘Hiding Away’ and it all fell into place. I love songs that tell a story, so wanted to incorporate that when writing the lyrics in the verse. I love the feeling the song has; it’s liberating and uplifting. The video was loads of fun to shoot. It’s the first music video I’ve shot with a team of people. Jack was an amazing videographer and Laurie had come up with a great concept and storyboard. I really enjoyed searching out the locations in my neighbourhood. I’d never realised there were so many cute houses! We started filming about 4pm and finished around 10pm. While we were packing up the neighbours asked us to turn down the music, so it’s just as well we were finished by then!”