WORDS FILIPE PHITZGERARD + MAISIE DANIELS - IMAGES JOHNNY JORDAN
Edinburgh-born, London-based Callum Beattie is the singer-songwriter whose anthemic music is a sweet-sweet trip into dreamland as each of his songs carries romanticism and honesty through and through. Beattie's unquestionable commitment to being true to himself makes him approachable and easy to connect and chat to because; he keeps it real.
From his humble beginnings back in Edinburgh through discovering his passion for music and the pub karaoke nights with his dad; Callum dreams while working hard to see his dreams becoming a reality. His unique personality and authenticity are captivating to a whole new level as this young musician manages to hook us not only with his music but his beautiful accent and charisma which shines brightly from the first second he starts talking to us. Beattie writes and sings about the things we all feel and experience while being unafraid to look vulnerable before his audience and after a busy season writing and finishing his highly expected debut album 'People Like Us' out on May 15th, Callum kicks-off his tour in London before heading back home to a series of gigs. We had the pleasure of catching up with him before his second show in London where we heard more about what these last few months have been like, the preparations for the album, and more.
Filipe Phitzgerard: How have you been? Callum Beattie: I've been well, been busy. I have been writing a lot and preparing to release my first album. Obviously, they are songs that are really personal to me so a lot of time and work has gone into the album and I am just excited for people to hear it.
F.P: Has it been a stressful or emotional process? How would you describe the process of putting the album together? C.B: Oh wow. Stressful... I'd say that the recording process can be very stressful because you are working against the clock and it costs a lot of money and you gotta get it done. I think sometimes you don't get it recorded the way you want and you need to do it again but if you have to do a third time then can feel quite stressful and exhausting but you want
to get it right.
F.P: Are you quite a perfectionist? C.B: Yes. I am really bad. Especially with lyrics. I had written a song and I went to record it I felt I needed to change it because it wasn't quite right and by the time I finished making the changes it was a completely new song. [Laughs] My manager was like "did you write another song? Wasn't this meant to be a different song?" [laughs]
F.P: How are you feeling about tonight? Especially after all the work with the album and now the expectation of what people will think? C.B: Last night I was quite nervous because it was the first night of the tour but now I am alright because I think I know what I am doing. [Smiles] I am just excited to play my songs to people. It is like when you create a piece of art and you just want to reveal it to the world. There is a lot of excitement for sure.
F.P: But your works of art are so personal and intimate to your life and stories; how do you feel about sharing that with people, total strangers? C.B: The most personal song I have written was 'Some Heroes Don't Wear Capes' and that is the story of my dad bringing me up and stuff and the first time I performed that song, at Sofar Sounds in London, I went on to perform and I didn't think or feel I was going to be emotional but then two minutes in I was crying [laugh] so I think there is a challenge in performing lyrics that are so personal but I'd rather just be real with people, you know?
F.P: Don't you think that makes you even more approachable? C.B: Yes. Definitely. I don't think there is any point in trying to be cool. I always thought this was a funny concept, like, "what is cool?" How do we define that? For me being cool is being successful in what you do. Cool to me is like... the Beatles. [Laughs] I've never really been all about the cool-distant kind of person. I wanna be real to people and what you see is what you get, you know what I mean? [Laughs] I think just be nice and treat people like people. Even on stage, I guess it is Scottish humour, but I will just say things that are real to me. I will talk about my own stories on stage and sometimes you get people who don't understand or who get a bit shocked but I am still being me... like, 'what you see is what you get.'
F.P: You're gonna be touring back home in April, right? C.B: Yeah. I will be playing in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
F.P: How are you feeling about performing home? Does it feel much different than performing in London?
C.B: Oh, one hundred per cent! I think it's because you see a lot more familiar faces. In a way, I do prefer, because you have a lot more support because you see your family and friends so that can be quite comforting because then you know at least someone will like it [giggles].
F.P: Does the English crowd feel much different than the Scottish one? C.B: The Scottish crowds are definitely rowdier, but it is really hard to compare because they are very different crowds. In London, people really stop to listen to the songs and the lyrics.
F.P: You mentioned you played at Sofar Sounds a while back and tonight is also a more intimate setting. How do you feel about that intimacy on stage? C.B: I actually like it because people can really hear what you are singing and in some ways, it also makes me more vulnerable and real to people. You can't hide behind a bang or the loud instruments but you are there connecting with the people who are listening to you.
F.P: How do you prepare before you go on stage? C.B: God's honest truth, there is nothing too exciting about it but I like to have a couple of beers and the go straight on. If I have a pub nearby I will go to the pub for a couple of beers and I don't think about the performance.
F.P: Do you get nervous before performing? C.B: Oh absolutely. For me is a constant battle because you start doubting yourself or getting worried about everything working out the way you want but once I am on stage and things start happening then my brain stops freaking me out and I can relax. I think every artist goes through it because you want to make sure what you are doing is good enough not only for the people you are performing but to yourself.
F.P: So, the album... how would you describe the album? C.B: I would say 'anthemic' but for me is more than that. For me is autobiographic because it is all about my life and the stories I lived. The lyrics are very personal to me so that honesty is translated into the songs. I think authenticity is the key feature in the album.
F.P: We are really excited about the release! Thanks for chatting with us and have a great gig. C.B: Oh, thanks mate. I appreciate it.