Introducing Interview: Tom Grennan

If you have been tuned in to the blogosphere or radio world over the last few months, chances are you would have heard about 21-year-old, Tom Grennan. 2016 saw the Bedford-born singer/songwriter feature on a Chase and Status single, perform in the Radio 1 Live Lounge and became one of the hottest tips for talent in 2017.

Gearing up for the release of his second EP and his debut tour, we caught up with Tom to discuss how the start of his career is going…

Hi, Tom! It’s the beginning of 2017 and you’re already on the BBC Sound of 2017 poll and MTV’s equivalent. How does it feel to be starting off the year like that? Is it exciting or does it bring pressure on you? 

I think excitement more than pressure, to be honest. To be up against loads of talent is mad. Obviously some of the biggest talent in the world has been on there like Adele and people like that. For me, I’m just so honoured that I’m being named on things like that. It’s mad. I’ve not really done much either so, for me, it was unexpected.

Do you think that makes it even more special because of the fact you have only put out one EP at the moment? 

Yeah, definitely. Because I haven’t done much, people don’t know too much about me and they don’t know what I’ve got in my pocket. To already have recognition off the back of what’s out there is amazing.

You said recently that the EP you put out, ‘Something In The Water’, was you at that stage in your life so how different are things going to be now that you’re this much further? Will things change?

My next EP is a big step up. I’m so excited to get it out there and let people get to know me even more and understand where I’m at now, just a few months after that first release.

Do you think having a management company who work with such a diverse range of artists (The Libertines, Charli XCX) has influenced you in any way? 

Yes and no. My manager (John Dawkins) obviously manages loads of people but he kind of lets me do what I want. But I will always listen to him and follow his advice, he is such a sound guy. I wouldn’t say he has influenced my music but him as a person has taught me a lot since I’ve been with him. Gives me plenty of tips and pointers!

When you released ‘Something In The Water’, did you learn anything from that which taught you how to approach this next release? 

I was so nervous with that first release. Obviously I had never put anything out before but I think nerves are good but I just want to see what happens, go with it and not be as nervous. I just really hope people like it and react to it like they did with the debut.

You featured on the Chase and Status single, ‘All Goes Wrong’ – do you think that was a good way to introduce yourself to the world? 

I think that was the best way. Chase and Status helped me out loads and it was a big step up from where I was. It’s crazy that something like that even happened to me.

It gave you an immediate platform on headline slots at places like Wireless Festival and also at the MOBOs which is a huge step up for anyone. 

Massive! I remember I was playing at The Finsbury and then a few months later I was playing at Finsbury Park. It’s so mad!

You’re from Bedford which has a great music venue and a thriving scene I’d say, did you gain any influences from there?

It influenced my writing massively. I talk about growing up in Bedford, playing football with my mates in the parks and all kinds. It will always be home for me.

Do you reckon you will keep going back for local shows or does it get to a point where it becomes too difficult to be able to do something like that? 

One hundred percent. If I get offered a show, I’ll definitely do it. Playing a local show is always nice, it’s kind of giving back to them and saying thanks. The people that come to those shows were, more or less, there from the beginning and that makes it special. I’m never going to forget about them. It’s where I come from.

Are you keeping track of local bands still? How much do you support them? Especially people like The Scruff. 

The Scruff are like my best mates. They’re sick. If I can help them out and I can do the same then we’re all good. I have a lot of love for them, big up The Scruff! I’ll always support hometown talent.

Amazing band! First proper tour coming up and loads of the shows are now selling out. How does that feel? Quite a rare sight to see something like that happening almost instantly. 

Mad. I didn’t know people knew about me. When Bristol sold out I was just shocked. Has anyone in Bristol even heard of my name before? Do they know who they’re coming to see?

Have you ever played in Bristol before? 

Never in my life! I don’t think I’ve ever been near that place. I’m looking forward to it so much. I’m looking forward to every date on that tour. It’s finally coming round and I get to play in front of new people and meet new fans.

How do you approach a tour like that? It’s so different to working in a studio – do you have to change your mindset? 

This is my first solo tour so I’m going to be learning as I go along. I’m going to give up the drinking for a month, going to the gym and I’m just focusing on my fitness. Making sure my health is at the top of its game so if anything does go wrong, I know I’ve done my hardest to keep it going. It means I can go on stage and have energy, do my job to the best of my ability. You can get so lazy around the studio, there’s a lot of sitting around and waiting. I’ve been doing a lot of practising and tweaking bits ready for the tour.

Sounds like you’re ready to go. We’ll catch up at Bush Hall in London and see how it’s all going! As I’m sure you have been asked at the end of every interview recently, what is 2017 bringing for you?

This year I’m releasing the new EP very soon, tour in February and I’m going to be playing Union Chapel in April which is going to be mad. There’s talks of me going over to America too and writing a whole load more songs. I’m going to keep bettering myself and see how far I can take this. I’m already so lucky but I know I have a lot more to bring to the game.

Thanks Tom, good luck with everything for this year. 

You too and happy new year to everyone reading this.

Tom plays:


6 – Gullivers, Manchester
7 – The cookie, Leicester
8 – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
9 – Bush Hall, London
10 – Louisiana, Bristol
11 –  Joiners, Southampton
12 – The Cellar, Oxford
14 – Bodega, Nottingham
15 – Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
16 – Burdenell Games Room, Leeds
17 – Think Tank Underground, Newcastle
18 – King Tuts, Glasgow

Connor Willis

Connor Willis

Connor is a Music Journalism student at UCA and has also writes for several other leading music websites. As well as taking on the role of putting on gigs at local venues too, Connor takes on the task of doing DJ sets for various companies.
Connor Willis

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