Calum Scott came into the public spotlight during the ninth season of Britain's Got Talent, where he performed a cover of Robyn's classic "Dancing on My Own." The reality show was a rollercoaster of a ride for the new artist, as his sister Jade was turned down during the audition by Simon Cowell. Calum went on to place sixth overall in the competition.
Following the experience, he released an album called Only Human. He then toured and collaborated with fellow pop singer Leona Lewis on the track "You Are the Reason."
One single he released, "No Matter What," later covered his experience of being gay and the search for acceptance.
His new album will be released soon and this songwriter is currently warming up for Irish rock band The Script. He talked about his journey with Windy City Times.
Windy City Times: Where in the world are you calling from?
Calum Scott: I am on the tour bus parked in front of the venue for the concert in San Francisco. We had the show in Los Angeles yesterday and it was magic. I can't even explain to you how amazing it felt just to be back out there and singing to a crowd. People sang back to me and I saw so many faces. It was mind-blowing!
WCT: I interviewed Glen Power, from The Script, backstage one time and he was very nice.
CS: They are all really nice. I had the opportunity to work with [Script frontman] Danny O'Donoghue before touring. We worked together on a very personal song. When they announced their UK dates, I texted Danny and asked to be brought on the U.S. shows. I got a message from my manager later that The Script wanted me to open for them. I guess our friendship was paramount for me touring with them.
What a nice feeling to tour with guys I am friends with. This industry is about having incredible moments, but this is the best!
WCT: What have been the challenges of bringing your music to U.S. audiences?
CS: There are so many people in [that country] that it is hard to get around to everybody. It is such a huge country that it still blows my mind that I can drive all night in a tour bus and still be in the same state! How is that possible? It takes me two hours to go from one side of the UK to the other…
I remember promoting "You Are the Reason" on a radio tour for three months and noticed how vast the country is. I am trying to chip away at listeners with my song "If You Ever Change Your Mind" by appearing on Seth Myers, Live with Kelly and Ryan and Dancing with the Stars.
It is about keeping my music in the center of people's minds and not stopping. The only way I know to do that is to be sincere and genuine. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
WCT: How do you describe yourself as an artist?
CS: I am an artist [who] tries to speak to people's hearts and souls. I hope that happens whether it is someone going through an LGBTQ+ journey, coming to terms with mental health or losing a lover.
I try to be the guy after the show that you can have a pint and a packet of crisps with. I am very down-to-earth and real. I just tell my stories to people. That makes me relatable and takes away the glitz and glamor of the industry. I am just like everybody else. I fly that flag!
I am a sensitive boy so there are sometimes people in tears at my shows.
WCT: I will bring my tissues! Your friend Leona Lewis came to the local gay bar Sidetrack to make an appearance one time.
CS: Amazing! She took me to The Abbey in L.A. a couple of years ago. She is worshipped there.
WCT: Did you want to be a singer before auditioning for Britain's Got Talent?
CS: I started singing when I was 22 years old. I was a drummer in school, so I was quite happy to be in the back of the room on a drum kit. I wasn't in the front of the stage and nowhere near the limelight at all.
My sister was the singer in the family and I used to go see her at theaters where she would perform. I was always perplexed that she could sing in front of a lot of people. I tried to simulate that in my own way in the shower or the bedroom. She overheard me one day and decided to take it upon herself and entered me in a karaoke contest one time. I didn't have very nice words for her, I will be honest, but it was the best thing that could have happened.
I sang in a small club in Yorkshire with about 10 people in the room. I felt euphoria there and knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I happened upon a beautiful instrumental version of "Dancing on My Own" and put my vocal into it. I showed it to my mother and sister and they both cried. I knew I was onto something special with that song.
I auditioned for Britain's Got Talent with the song but things didn't kick off with it until I released it as a single. It was crazy. All of a sudden I was signed by Capitol Records. I wrote an album and toured with it.
I am surprised that I am not bruised throughout my body from the amount of pinching I do on a daily basis. It is ridiculous!
WCT: Describe coming out as gay. Were your sister and mother always supportive?
CS: Yes, they were supportive. Obviously, as a young guy, I was terrified of what people would think. There is a song on the first album called "Only You" that explains my coming-out journey.
I trusted my friends at first and told them I was gay. They were the ones that abandoned me. I guess they were young and didn't understand things. It was tough losing all my friends at once.
Thank gosh for music that has helped me process it and let go of that weight. Luckily my mom and family were incredibly supportive.
With "No Matter What" I wanted to write a song where you could see both sides of it. I am very aware that people have a tough time telling their families. Sometimes families will abandon people like my friends did. Sometimes they don't understand and it will scare them so they push that person away. I wanted to share that story and represent that.
Since then so many people have messaged me and told me I helped them come out with that song. That for me is success. I don't need nominations or plaques on the wall.
If I can have an impact on somebody and change their life, I am incredibly honored to be part of that and share the moment.
WCT: Will you sing the Robyn cover of "Dancing on My Own" at the Vic?
CS: Maybe. [Laughs] Give the people what they want!
WCT: How do you tackle the range of the new single "If You Ever Change Your Mind?"
CS: I don't know why I keep writing songs like this because I am going to have no voice left!
"If You Ever Change Your Mind" is a great one because it is sad in the context of being tethered to a current or ex-lover. When you try to pull away then it keeps bringing you back.
The producer is Greg Kurstin, who did "Easy on Me" by Adele. There is a flavor to it and a groove that gives it movement. The point of it is driven home in a positive way.
I think everyone can relate to not being able to sever all the ties of a past relationship. That was definitely me. I would get texts saying, "I miss you" and it would yank my heart out of my chest. I wrote that song from an honest place.
It has been fun to do something that is still emotional but has a rhythm and a mood to it, especially with the show last night. Nothing excites me more than sad songs at the piano. It is nice to do something a little more groovy where I can see people's heads moving a bit. That is the point of a live show to have that experience.
Don't get me wrong, there are ballads on this setlist, but "If You Ever Change Your Mind" is dressed up in a really cool production.
WCT: How do you take care of your vocal cords out on the road?
CS: I love some red wine, so I have had to knock that on the head because it is not a golden syrup that soothes your voice. It dehydrates you and is not good for vocals however delicious it tastes!
I try and work out every day. I try to eat well, but I had Korean barbecue last night, which was not planned…
I do warm my vocal cords up and try to be sensible. I am sure you can tell I love to talk, so I have a hard time shutting up, Jerry. That is my kryptonite. How can I not talk to people like you?
WCT: I appreciate you speaking with me. Some artists won't do interviews or talk while out on tour.
CS: I could wear a shirt that says, "I'm on vocal rest so don't talk to me," but I am not that kind of person. I have to manage myself and drink a lot of hot tea. I have to practice discipline.
WCT: What can you tell our readers about the new album?
CS: It is a snapshot of a time when I finally feel confident and comfortable. I am a gay man who is an artist and songwriter. I feel assured of what I am doing. After the first album, this has given me an objective and goal to continue writing this kind of music that is helping people.
It is a huge honor and now my job to continue to pull inspiration from my life and experiences. I am not the only person who has gone through heartbreak and loss. I tell my stories so they can become everyone else's stories.
I have had time with this album to think about what I want to write. It is me at a more elevated and grown level. It is a coming-of-age album for me. I have settled into my shoes as an artist now and I am excited. We have been teasing music and have a little more to come before the release of the album.
What an amazing time to be alive. We are finally coming out of the pandemic, but we still keep our distance from each other. I had fans coming up to me last night when I was trying to get on the tour bus. How could I not come over to say hello and give a hug?
I am thankful for everyone that listens to my music. They come out to shows and buy my music. This career is a dream come true. The new album is right around the corner and I can hardly wait for people to hear it.
WCT: How hard has it been on the tour so far to be the opener when people are coming to see The Script?
CS: It is daunting, a bit. I have watched The Script for years and have enjoyed their music. They have big vocals and energy, then I come on with a ballad.
I have a band with me, but I try to draw it down to just me and the piano. You could have heard a pin drop last night. I am so excited for the rest of this tour. It is an honor to support these boys, but I am enjoying this tour on my own!
See Calum Scott and The Script on Thursday, April 7, at the Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., after a venue change from the previously planned Riviera Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at JamUSA.com .