Out singer/songwriter Calum Scott talks his new album, Tinder and first U.S. tour

By : Aaron Drake
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You might know him by his heartbreaking version of “Dancing on My Own,” but “Britain’s Got Talent” golden boy Calum Scott has much more up his sleeve.

The out singer and songwriter just released his debut album “Only Human” on Capitol Records, and he’s wasting no time in getting it out on tour. It’s his first major tour through the U.S., and many of his LGBTQ fans are eager to see him live. He will be performing with well-known a capella group Pentatonix at his upcoming show in Tampa at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater Aug. 9.

“The thing is, with the album, every song on there has a little piece of my heart, a little piece of my soul. I’m very emotional, very sensitive. You can probably tell that by the album,” Calum laughs. “I’ve told my story in different ways, I’ve talked about the problems I had with my sexuality growing up. Songs on there [are dedicated] to my sister who found my voice and encouraged me to be where I am. Songs about having my heart broken by somebody who I thought loved me and was gay, but didn’t end up even being gay.”

Calum took a few minutes after the first stop on his tour to chat with Watermark about why he’s a sucker for sad songs, the trials of dating as an international performer and what his fans can expect next.

WATERMARK: Is this your first time to Florida?

CALUM SCOTT: It will be my first ever time so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot about Florida and I’ve always wanted to come. I’m very privileged that my music has taken me to all these places I’ve always wanted to travel so I’m really, really looking forward to it.

What’s your favorite song on the album?

Oh my god, it’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! I guess I’ve always been a sucker for piano and sad songs, it’s just in my blood. So I think one of those is “You Are The Reason.” Not so much sad, but just a tribute to love. Love in all of its contexts, not just necessarily the love that you feel for your partners but the people that make you want to get up and see life. When I wrote “You Are The Reason” it was a little bit of a tribute to my grandma who I believe made me the person I am today. It’s just a real tribute to love and I think there’s something really beautiful in the message of the song, which is that even though we face problems in our lives, what we feel for those special people in our lives can get us through anything.

Are there artists who influenced you while you were making this album?

The thing is with your first album you have your whole life to be influenced, and album two slightly less. (Laughs.) When I was growing up my mum would take us to swimming lessons or she would take us to school or she would take us on little holidays. She would always play her favorite artists in the car, which was Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael—all those real big, big singers that sang from a really special place and sang from their heart, just commanded the song and the message. I guess I was very influenced by that.

When I started to grow up and get my own taste and my own flavor I was very influenced by people like Adele, Sam Smith, Sia—all these artists that again, write from the heart and can sing a good ballad. Those guys definitely influenced me and I think that’s probably why I’m such a sucker for sad songs and the piano. I’ve grown up around that, grown up around those big ballads, and they just move me and they make me feel, and I think that’s what good music should do.

You’ve performed your moving song “No Matter What” in London. Are you planning to perform that on tour?

I am actually. I sang it yesterday… I was definitely terrified [but] the crowd was so receptive. When I was performing “No Matter What” I told a little story, like I did in [London] about how I had a conversation with my mum and she had a really beautiful reaction. I told my friends who I thought I could trust and was completely abandoned by them. It just made it so much more difficult to tell my dad who moved to Canada and wasn’t around. So I ended up telling my dad, that being the story of “No Matter What.”

When I was singing “No Matter What” there was a cheer from the crowd, which made me think that people know the song, or at least have looked online and found [it], which blew me away a little bit. When I started the song, like I do when I perform anywhere, I pull myself back into the inspiration that it took to write it and so I was pretty emotional—I’m glad I had my sunglasses on. It comes from a really real place, a very personal place actually. For the most part I wrote the songs on the album with the hope that it inspires. Some people out there who are confused or feel isolated themselves can take my experience and know that there is a lot of love in the world.

You have more original songs online. Do you have plans to release them?

It’s so interesting to see what songs people are inspired by. I saw the other day somebody had created an unofficial music video using some clips from a movie I guess for “If Our Love is Wrong,” which is the song on the top of the album and was basically my song to come out to the world with. It had millions of views—you see things like that and you see the power of the songwriting and how it affects people. It gives you a real indication of what your fans relate to and I think moving forward the songs that I’ve written that are not on the album, if they follow that same formula and people can relate to them and they are from a very honest place, that’s what album two will be.

I don’t tend to change direction and suddenly go a different way. I want to be that same guy that started out—much like Adele, she never really changed, she just carried on telling stories that made her who she was and millions and millions of people relate to that. So I think album two will be much of the same, really relatable songs and very honest. I suppose I’m going to make people cry for a lot longer. (Laughs.)

You’re touring with Pentatonix, how did that come about?

My agent had got in touch with me and said I have this terrific opportunity with this group called Pentatonix. I remember Pentatonix had done a cover of “Dancing On My Own” on YouTube so I knew about them but I’d never seen a show. A cappella groups are not a typical thing in the U.K. I guess country music is the same over there. I saw them perform live for the first time last night and they were amazing.

To say that there’s no music there, they’re creating everything you hear, is just phenomenal. Even not knowing that of course I was like “yes, I would love to support them, they’re very talented. It’s something I’ve never seen before and I would love to be a part of that.” When we announced [the tour] it was a shock because a band such as them and with the following they’ve got, just was a real honor. Obviously on the side of that is that I get to tour extensively in America and get to meet fans that have been waiting to see me live for so long which was a huge deal.

You’re out and dating now, how’s the dating pool?

Good and bad. It’s nice that there’s a lot of attention. I am on Tinder, swiping away. The annoying thing and one of the only downsides to this industry is you’re never in one place long enough. Having the opportunity to go out on a date and to speak to people and create a relationship is tough because it relies on time, and time for artists you don’t get a lot of. It’s great that I’m finally in a place where I’m open to the world and I can be myself—I can be gay and proud, find a date and find somebody who loves me for me, but tough in the fact it’s becoming increasingly more difficult because the label wants to send me halfway around the world. Then they want to send me out on tour, and then they want me to write album two. I guess staying single is helping me write album two? (Laughs.) I am looking to meet somebody. I’ve just got to keep my eyes open and make sure I’m still swiping away on Tinder. I’m assuming he’s just around the corner, it just depends on what corner I turn round to.

Any more exciting projects or collaborations coming up that you can share with us?

I’ve definitely written a lot of songs for the album that didn’t quite make it so there are some artists that have cut some of my new music, which is really exciting… I’ve got songs that I’ve written essentially for other people. I’m also working with some other artists this year and collaborating with them, and I’m also starting to work on album two so there’s a lot that’s going on. This is just really the beginning which is just the most exciting thing ever. I’m very happy and looking forward to everything that’s part of the future.

Calum Scott performs at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre with Pentatonix and Echosmith at the Florida State Fairgrounds Aug. 9. For tickets or more information, call 813-740-2446 or visit LiveNation.com.

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