Redbrick Meets: Tom Walker | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Redbrick Meets: Tom Walker

Kylie McCormick chats with Tom Walker about his recent EP and packed festival season

If you Google Tom Walker you find a myriad of people with different types of jobs. But, while it may be a common name, Tom Walker the musician is not your everyday, generic singer. Hailing from Manchester, the artist is hard to define, mixing in elements of rock, reggae, singer/songwriter and R&B into bluesy, understated tunes. Tom is a talent that defies definition. Playing all over the world this summer, I was able to catch up with Tom after his appearance at Barn On The Farm.

Your sound is super unique, with so many different genres finding their way in. Could you take me through the process of finding your voice and sound?

Tom: It definitely didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken years; ever since I was young my dad would play me all sorts of different music, from The Police and Ray Charles to Foo Fighters and DeadMau5, and loads of random aspects have stuck. I’ve been playing guitar since I was really young and played in a few bands so it’s all sort of come together in the last couple of years. I never realised I could sing until I was at uni and had to sing for one of my song writing assignments and my tutors were really impressed, I didn’t really think much of my voice before that. 

'Finding my sound has taken years, random aspects from different genres have stuck'

You’ve released a handful of things in the last month, with Blessings, ‘Just You and I’ and ‘Heartland’ coming out one after the other. What is your writing process like?

It varies massively for each track, depending on how I’m feeling, whom I’m writing with and where we’re writing. The best tracks have always just come to me without even trying. I wrote ‘Just You and I’ in my basement at like 2 a.m. when I was feeling really down and that’s the track that’s really blown up for me so far, so I guess you never know when a good song is going to come along.

I loved hearing all the fans sing along with the new stuff. How has the reaction been to the recent releases?

I can’t even put it into words, it’s totally amazing! To hear from fans across the world and their different stories about how my music has affected their life is so surreal, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. I’m starting to get recognised more and more and still can’t get my head around it. To be able to do what I love and it affect people in such away is something I know I’m really lucky to be able to do.

Summer is always a fun season for artists. Any highlights so far?

We’ve only just started and I’ve played something like 40 shows already across 30 cities (don’t quote me on that). To play at Glastonbury was obviously a dream come true and also having the chance to support an artist like George Ezra is a massive honour. There’s so much that’s gone on I really can’t pick a highlight at the moment, and it’s still very much going on now, so maybe if things get a little quieter I’ll have some headspace to reflect on the whole experience properly. 

'Glastonbury was obviously a dream come true, I know I'm really lucky to be able to do what I love'

With all the festivals you’re playing this summer, how do you craft a festival gig? Any different from a normal show?

Honestly, I just hope the songs I enjoy playing are the ones the fans love hearing, even at Barn On The Farm fans were singing back to me so hopefully I did something right. I think there’s still some tweaking to do set-wise before we hit the nail on the head for a festival set but I’m always overly critical of myself anyway. If the audience go away happy then I suppose I’ve done a good job.


Music contributor from Los Angeles. PhD in Music Festivals and Identity. (@kyliemccormick)


10th July 2017 at 11:00 am