Tuesday 14th March 2017
It’s not quite Spring just yet, but I’m sat here in my office looking out the window to bright blue skies and can’t help thinking how much I’ve missed the Summer sun. Undecided on what to listen to on such a cheerful day, I’m introduced to Reading born Calum Foad and his latest single You & I. Trying his hand at the pop scene, with plenty of charm and an uplifting sound, I’m quickly finding myself singing along to a very infectious song. Likened to Jake Miller and Olly Murs, and inspired by chart-topper Ed Sheeran, it’s easy to understand why Calum aims to be destined for pop success.
Hello! Could you tell me a bit more about yourself? How long have you been playing music, and who or what inspired you to pursue it as a career.
Of course! I’m Calum, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Reading (almost feels like an introduction worthy of a Paddy McGuinness TV show). I started playing piano aged 5 and guitar aged 8, but I didn’t start singing until I was doing GCSE music though. As cliched as it is, in the current climate Ed Sheeran was the inspiration to pursue a career in music. I was very much doing the singer/songwriter thing as he released The A Team, had 1000 people turn up to a free show he played at Camden Barfly and subsequently signed a major label deal. He was THE man!
Your single ‘You & I’ has been out for almost a month now. What have been the reactions so far and how responsive are you finding the audience to your new material?
The reaction has been amazing, far exceeded anything I could’ve expected. The reach has extended beyond just friends and friends of friends, which is amazing! People finding me off the back of things such as the ‘This Morning’ fashion VT is also incredible… Such a bizarre feeling! I hadn’t released anything in quite a few years, so very much went from a standing start but people are really getting on board.
What’s your writing process and how do you know when a song is ready?
It entirely depends on the track, if I’m writing on my own I tend to write very quickly in short bursts. I’m not someone who’ll sit at a piano and play until something comes out, I’ll have an idea pop into my head and run with it. If I’m in a co-writing session, however, it’s a very different dynamic as you bounce ideas off the other person. Generally speaking, I’m my own worst critic, so what I do now is demo anything I feel to be ‘half decent’ and then let my producer hear it.
Are you working on putting an EP or album together and what can we expect from it?
Now that would be telling! I will say, however, I’m heading back over to America to do some more recording with Marc later on in the year.
How was the experience of working with Marc McClusky, and how easy was it to get him on board to help produce your music?
Marc’s an incredible producer and all round lovely guy! The Marc thing came about completely by accident… He’d had some involvement with an app used for triggering backing tracks/samples live – I added him on Facebook to ask some questions about it, he checked out my earlier music, it went from there.
Who did you work with to create the music video for your single ‘You & I’ and who came up with the idea for it? Did you work alongside a team or did you create the idea yourself.
Both the You & I video and the upcoming single video were directed by a dude called Chris Porter, he’s an absolute genius. He really likes to think outside of the box (even if that did involve me having powder paint fired at me whilst bouncing on a trampoline – health and safety eat your heart out). I wanted something vibrant and fun and that idea is what Chris brought to the table.
Being in the early stages of your music career, how are you finding the whole process and have you been given any lasting advice?
Trying to carve out a career in the music industry is no easy thing to do, it’s something that if you really want to pursue, you’ve got to pursue it at the cost of literally everything else. On the flip side, for all the down moments it’s such a gratifying feeling when someone comes up to you and says something as simple as ‘I really like your track’… I MADE that! It’s a feeling that I (imagine) is akin to having a child… You’ve got to take the moments of pride with the moments of them metaphorically sh*ting themselves. Best piece of advice I’ve been given is ‘if you won’t invest in yourself, then why would anyone else’!
Do you have any live dates scheduled for 2017 and where can we see you performing?
All live dates are to be announced, there won’t be a huge number, as I’m focusing on writing this year, so please make sure you come down to the dates that are posted!
What’s your ultimate aim and where do you hope your music will take you?
Truthfully, I just want to be able to support myself doing music full time. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I want to be able to say ‘I sing’… That’s the goal!
Finally, if you were invited to perform on the BBC Live Lounge which song would you cover and why?
Good question! I’m a huge lover of all things 80’s, so it’d have to be something of that era that’s not been on the live lounge before… I’m thinking Steve Winwood ‘Higher Love’ or Womack and Womack ‘Teardrops’.