Calum Scott is getting candid.
Hot on the promotional trail for his new album ‘Bridges’ as well as his new tour, the award-winning singer talked with That Grape Juice about both, working with Greg Kurstin, and so much more.
Join us below for his words on these topics and so much more…
That Grape Juice (Ryan): Congratulations on the new album ‘Bridges’ and your ongoing tour, tell me a little bit about the making of this album.
Calum Scott: Mixed emotions really. I think with the first album, I had no expectations. I never released an album before. It was still so very new to me. So, the first album was kind of, and also that was like the infancy stages of me heading somewhere. And so, I was kind of just floating. Like, I want to write about this, and this and this. And it felt a little bit, a little bit chaotic.
But the second album, for me, felt like it was a really focused body of work. I was a lot more particular about what I wanted to say on this album. I feel like I was a lot more vulnerable and a lot more honest. But I used the same inspiration, the same method of songwriting, writing from experience, writing from the heart. But yeah, I mean, the second album, for sure, it was more like a mirror being held up against me, like, you know, saying, what do you want to say now? I don’t want to just regurgitate everything I’ve said before. So, it made me really dig deep into what it is I wanted to talk about. And I think in that there was a lot of self-confidence that I took from that, because, you know what, I’ve worked hard. I’ve amassed an incredible fan base that spans the world. And it’s my duty now I feel to continue writing music that resonates with people on such a deep level.
That Grape Juice: You worked with Greg Kurstin on this project, did that come about and can you tell me what it was like to work with him?
Calum Scott: Greg, that actually came around through a friend of Greg’s from the songwriting session. I was working with a group of songwriters in America. And one of those is friends with Greg’s wife. And I’ve got to be honest. And I said this to Fraser T. Smith, when I first started working with him. I was like, I don’t want to sound offensive. But, I’ve not Googled you. I said I don’t know what you’ve done. But I said, my whole thing is, I want to get to know a person based on who they are. Because from my experience, there’s so much talent, that’s out in the world that people just maybe haven’t had their first break yet or their first big song. And yet, some of the people who have bigger songs, have bigger names. And for that reason, their reputation precedes them. But I always like to give an opportunity to anybody. And so when I was writing the phrase, I said to him, I was like, look, ‘I haven’t Googled you before, and I’m obviously being [that you’re ]an incredible producer. it was the same with Greg.
You wouldn’t expect that he had all these Grammys and all these music awards, because he was just so unassuming, chilled, and just a really nice guy that wanted to make great music. So, we got in the studio and we turned that sort of unrequited love song, ‘If You Ever Change Your Mind,’ which was quite a sad ballad into something really upbeat and positive. So yeah, it was great working with Greg, and it was great working with Fraser T Smith again. But it was just amazing going back to people on the second album to the people that I loved working with the first time around. And, you know, just constructing what I believe is my best work yet.
That Grape Juice: What was your goal with this particular record, holistically?
Calum Scott: I think with this album, like I said, because it was a lot more focused, I really, I had to dig deep for what it is I wanted to say and part of that journey was easy and part of it was more difficult. Especially when we was in lockdown, I was almost due to finish the album and I was in LA, I had two weeks in LA and two weeks planned for Nashville. And like within the first few days of the LA trip, President Trump (at the time) had declared that they were closing the borders. So, I’m going out, I made sure I was back in Yorkshire near my family. And I lived on my own.
I was isolating up there by myself. And I found that really challenging. When I’m not surrounded by my support network, I can be quite destructive with my mental health and I try to rip up songs that I’ve written and was throwing things aside, or people won’t want to listen to these, people won’t listen to that. I’ve just been unnecessarily hard on myself. But within that, actually, it helped me write two of my favorite songs from this album, ‘Biblical’ that I co-wrote with James Bay and Jon Maguire and some other of my favorite writers, and ‘Rise,’ which essentially sort of helped pull me out of that pit that I was in.
I found some of it extremely challenging, but I think what I learned through the songwriting process of the second album is the first album was very honest. The second album was a step on top of that. And I think, of course, I was worried after writing the first album, especially since they’ve done so well, and served a fan base vastly across the world. I felt like, sometimes I was writing in the shadow of it. And then I just realized that actually, without trying to grasp for a creative idea of oh, what is this album? Should it be self-titled, should it be, this is me, like, what am I going to call it? I went back to the album, and I listened through and, obviously, the title track ‘Bridges’ is about a much darker time in my life, and speaks about, a time when I genuinely felt suicidal.
And I think that is such a heavy topic. And because I’m such a massive advocate of mental health and better mental health, it just, it was already a bit of a panic and a bit of a worry putting a song like this on this album, because I was still sort of ashamed of that story. And even to this day, not many of my close friends knew about that story, because it was something that I buried. But writing, it helped me. Not only, it helped with my feelings, but I thought, you know what, if I’m going to be dishonest, this should be the name of the album. Let’s, you know, let’s not just go. This is a song about a dark tunnel. I said, let’s make it an album that is going to hopefully make a difference, that is going to be used as a medicine, and then show people that I am not afraid to have those conversations. I think it’s important, and I think it’s necessary to have those conversations. So, it was kind of like that and then obviously, there are so many different things that you can take from this album that bridges over troubled waters, bridges between myself and my fans. There are so many different ways that you can package it, but for me, it was about standing behind an album that hopefully was going to make a difference.
That Grape Juice: You recently released your collab with Kygo and Gryiffin called ‘Woke Up In Love’ and it’s already burning up the charts, can you tell me a bit about it?
Calum Scott: Thank you for the kind words. It’s something that I have wrestled with over the years of should I do dance stuff, should I do features with DJs and dance producers and stuff like that? And you know what, I think all that I want to do is do something that feels sincere and genuine. I’ve always looked for something that feels like a real song, that feels good, it feels like something I can stand behind. And I think with the Lost Frequencies one that we’ve just done it, it’s also like this let’s not break bread by it. It’s fun. Like what I do in my own project is quite emotionally intensive.
But for me, these collaborations give me a little bit of escapism from my own project. It allows me to step into a world I’ve never been to before. I mean, in March I was out in Dubai, singing on the beach, with Lost Frequencies and I was just up for it. And it’s been incredible and I think that with this Kygo one, similar to myself and Felix from Lost Frequencies, we’d spoken years ago about collaborating, and I was having that conversation and Kygo and I were talking. I looked back through a text and we were talking in, I think like 2017. I was working with Jonas Blue on a song and me and Jonas had debuted the song at V Fest, and there were talks about it being a single and then that kind of went away, and then Kygo went and said I’ve received this from Jonas Blue, it might be really cool to jump on the front.
So we got on the front back then and it was really cool and we talked and were excited about it. And then as is this industry, some things come and go, and for his schedule, or whatever, my schedule, so it disappeared. And then it was about four months ago, it was very, very recent, I got another message from my label saying look and Kygo’s got this song called ‘Woke Up in Love’ that he’s doing with Gryffin and he’s asked if you’d be interested. So straight away I text him and I was like well, it’s about his work. He was like the other song didn’t happen. He’s like I’ve always wanted to work with you. I was like let’s get on this song together. And I had the demo and it is like the Lost Frequencies song is a real song. It speaks to me.
We got on Zoom, we talked about it on FaceTime. And then I recorded the vocal before I came on tour. And then just as we finished our American tour, I flew out to Vegas to meet Kygo and Gryffin, and we got a little private jet and we flew over and did a little music video for it. And we got to hang out and chat and it was really cool, man. I think these collaborations are always fun because you’re just putting talent into a pot and just letting it stick for a little while like it’s slow cooking.
And what you get out on this occasion has been delicious and that’s the excitement of it. You just don’t know what recipe you’re going to end up with. But yeah, they’re two very talented boys. I’m very, very proud to be sharing the song with them.
That Grape Juice: Now, you’re currently on tour in support of your album and it’s called the bridges world tour, what can fans expect to see at your concert?
Calum Scott: Oh my God. I mean, just being able to go out and tour again. After the last two years, it’s just been incredible. And we’ve been in America for six weeks. I have recently started my European tour. It’s exciting, man, getting in these rooms again and singing to actual people and not boom screens.
You see the likes in people’s eyes, that wall of applause, the singing back, it just has made me fall in love all over again with music and what I got in this for the first place, which is to sing live and experience that magic the people in the room. Yeah, and we’ve got so much more to come. We’ve got the UK, we’ve got the rest of Europe, we’ve got Asia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. It’s just incredible. And music has taken me to these places I never thought I’d go, like Japan and South Africa and all these incredible places just blows my mind.
That Grape Juice: What can fans expect from Calum Scott in the future?
Calum Scott: You know what, I think this tour has been the most extensive I’ve ever done and I’m enjoying every single minute of it. Of course, I’m looking forward to a little holiday, a little break after this. But now obviously my focus and my sights are on this. And then I’ll probably start working on the third record. This is a whole list of collaborations and projects that I’ve waited to get involved in, and that I’m looking at outside of touring.
I think for me, the most important thing is to just enjoy whatever comes your way. The last two years have shown everybody that freedom can just get taken away from you like that and I think it’s about going out and enjoying life. And like I’ve even started to look at what my future looks like in terms of my family and my circumstances and I’ve always wanted to be a dad. I’ve always had that paternal instinct and the older I get, the more I think about it and that might be something that I look at in the near future as well.
So, it’s exciting. It’s worrying ‘cause there’s never a right time. But I think that’s the joy of it, I suppose. And I think that’s something that I’m very passionate about for the future. So yeah, who knows? Who knows? Another album, little baby, who knows?
Calum Scott’s newest album ‘Bridges’ is out now.