I listen to a song like Nobody…
and am curious and stunned. I wanted to speak with its creator, Tom Pointer, about the background of the track and what meaning it holds. He talks to me about being compared to the likes of Paolo Nutini and what sort of music drives him – Pointer tells me about his ambitions for the year.
I asked the songwriter what music means to him and whether there is a new artist we should check out; how he spends any time away from music; he compares Nobody to his previous single, Ruby – ending the interview with a great song shout.
Hi, Tom. How are you? How has your week been?
Great, thanks! My new single, Nobody, came out last week and I’ve been working hard in rehearsals for my next headline show.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I love Soul music and I’m a Soul artist, but I create a blend of blues-tinged Pop with some R&B influences thrown in for good measure.
Tell me about your new single, Nobody. What’s the story behind the song?
Nobody is a song about false pretences, not just of people, but also of the world we live in. Most people grow up being told strictly how life works: ‘You need this to do that, you can’t do that without this…”. In my experience, you should always rely on your personal instinct; you should make your own story.
How do you think it differs from your debut, Ruby? Was it a surprise seeing radio stations and the public take it to heart so quickly?!
Nobody has plenty of attitude, but I think Ruby has more emotion. Ruby is about a friend who went through a personal struggle and the laid-back feel gives the song a lot of feeling.
Yes, I was very pleasantly surprised! I couldn’t have asked for more support for a debut single.
Might we see an E.P. or album later this year at all?
I’ve been writing and recording with the producer Lewi White for two years now, so my E.P. is finished. I have some unreleased tracks I love - so, I’m hoping to release it later this year.
You have been compared to the likes of Paolo Nutini and Alabama Shakes. Which artists have been important in terms of your own sounds?
I went to see Alabama Shakes two years ago in Brixton and that gig will always stay with me. I had chills - they were a force of nature. I listened to a lot of Paolo Nutini growing up, but I think it was The White Stripes who inspired me to start playing the guitar. I only started singing and writing a few years ago. I was hooked on James Bay and I had to give it a go.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
I’ll be at The Great Escape Festival and a show at Le Reservoir in Paris - my first time performing in Europe!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
To keep performing live! Being on stage is how I started. It’s the best test; there’s nowhere to hide.
I also work closely with producer Lewi White in the studio and his talent is integral to my sound - so, I want to continue working with him and finish. Whether it’s released this year or next, I can’t say…
Music, to everyone, has different meanings. What does it mean to you? How important is it in your life?
It’s a creative way to ask questions, tell a story or make a point. I’m a very relaxed person but, if I ever have any stress or problems, I throw it into a song.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I performed at an intimate Sofar Sounds gig in my hometown of Southampton in 2017. I have a lot of fond memories growing up, so I was very grateful for that opportunity.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
James Bay. Cup of tea and a pack of ginger biscuits.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t compare yourself: make your own decisions and enjoy it.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sam Fender
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Sam Fender. Manchester-based, very talented and lyrically-provocative.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m a keen swimmer - which is a perfect escape. When I’m at home, I swim in the sea with my dad all year round.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Sam Fender – Start Again
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