Mention Calum Scott to anyone and his soulful voice immediately comes to mind. When the 32-year-old opens his mouth to sing, it’s simply magical because we feel and believe every lyric that comes from him.
Following the success of his debut album “Only Human”, the British singer-songwriter is back with another personal single “Biblical”. Recently, we managed to join in on the Calum Scott Southeast Asia Press Conference where he delved deep on his journey to making his second album, personal and artistic growth, as well as finding love.
1. How have you changed and are there some realisations you made that gave you the rise in your music?
I feel like my time away was a real reckoning of who I want to become. I feel like the first album for me, was me kind of finding my feet and finding what I wanted to say to people. And this is crazy, I’m releasing a song, now I’m releasing an album, and I’m touring. So, it’s all a bit crazy. Whereas this time, writing the second album gave me some tranquility and some peace to just discover who I am and what I want to say as an artist. As opposed to somebody who’s been given an amazing opportunity, now I feel like I have responsibility to my fans to create music for people to feel seen and heard and represented, for people to listen to it and feel that it takes them to different place that makes them happy and allows them to cry. All these emotions that we have to have. So, that was my biggest realisation I think from the second album.
2. This is regarding the music video of “Biblical”. At the end of the music video, you were floating alone, does it mean that love is unreachable to you?
The music video is kind of tragic. It is the same as “You Are the Reason” where I feel like I have met somebody and then I am like ‘Oh, it’s not for me.’ And then it is the same in “Biblical” where I am in this water then I find myself alone. I think it speaks more to the fact that in my past, I have not found love for myself. Just yeah, the search goes on. I think that would be my sort of representation that I am still searching for love. In the meantime, it helps me write all these lovely songs. So, I don’t mind being alone if I can write beautiful music for people. For sure, I am still waiting for that love of my life. But maybe I will find it in the next music video [laughs].
3. What is the interpretation of the song titled “Biblical”?
“Biblical” to me means unquantifiable. I was saying to some of the guys yesterday, for me, “Biblical” is like unfathomable amounts of love. I think the reason why we wanted to shoot the music video in the water is because if you think how much water there is, you can’t even measure it. You won’t be able to say, ‘Oh, it’s one billion, trillion gallons of water.’ It is infinite, you know. And I feel like that is how I see “Biblical”. It is the love that I have for my friends, my family, my fans. I can’t say that I love my fans [gesturing] this much because I love my fans [big gesture] this much you know.
So, it is hard to be able to put into words how much love I feel for friends, family, fans, those closest to me. So, “Biblical” for me was about trying to describe the love in that way. One thing that I want people to take away from the song is when you hear the lyrics ‘I wanna have all with you’, you know that in your mind, you see that person, your friends, you family, your loved ones, your partner. Whoever it is that love that you have for that person is just unquantifiable. That would be my interpretation of “Biblical”.
4. You mentioned that coming back with new music could be daunting. Why did you say that and did this happen during the process of “Biblical”?
I think it’s always going to be daunting for an artist to bring out new music especially after some time away because I am so passionate about my fans, I am thinking are they gonna like what I make? Are they gonna enjoy? You know when you were in school, and you do a painting for your mom and bring it back and you hold it up to her? When you were a kid, you just go, look, I have done it. When you are an adult you go, will they like it? Is it going to be good enough? So, I kind of feel like that with my music. I put my heart and soul into these songs, and I desperately want people to love it the way I love it.
So, it was incredibly daunting, but I think I am always going to be nervous because I care so much. So, I feel like that happened during “Biblical”, it happened during album one, it happened when I was singing and dancing on my own for the first time. I just care so deeply which is why I get so nervous. But as soon as I released it, and I saw people reacting to it, and enjoying it… I was just in the meeting room, in the Zoom call, when “Biblical” debuted and I saw all these guys coming in like, wow, and I was like, they make me feel so much better. I am just so grateful that everybody likes the song and yeah.
5. Why does this song speak to you, as an artist and as Callum personally?
Because “Biblical” was made during lockdown, I think everybody knows how it feels, to have love stolen from them. We have had not to be able to see our loved ones, we have to be in isolation, lockdown. Tragically, people have lost their lives and they have not been able to be with their loved ones in their final moments. It is awful but I think in there, it sets the scene for being able to speak about love in such a huge way. I think that is what speaks to me personally as Callum.
I think as an artist, again, I was searching for a song like this when I was writing the album and I felt that even, I spent all of 2019 writing the second album, and during the end of 2019, I thought I’ve got some beautiful songs but I was still looking for songs like ‘You Are the Reason’, and ‘Dancing On My Own’. When we found the song, I was just like, this is it. This is what I want to go singing to every corner of the world, over and over and over again. So, I think as an artist and as a person, it speaks to me very deeply.
6. Are there any special features we can expect from the upcoming project? Such as featured musicians, or producers and why did you choose this song as your comeback?
Well, this song was written with the incredible James Bay. So, he is part of the song. There will be other songs that I have written with other artists and very well-known producers. I have gone back to work with my producer Fraser T Smith from my first record. And going back to write with Jon Maguire who wrote ‘You Are the Reason’. I think the second album is the chance for me to go back to my favourites and discover if I can write even better with the people that I have wrote amazing songs from the first record. For now, there are no collaborations, but not to say that there won’t be in the future.
So, I feel like “Biblical” represents this growth in my performance, and in my vocal delivery, my lyrics and sets the scene for the album. So, that is why I want it to be the first thing the people hear when I come back.
7. How personal is “Biblical” to you and why do you consider this song as a rescue song?
When I was in lockdown and isolating by myself, I didn’t see any friends and family for at least two months. So, I kind of felt imprisoned in my own home. I mean, I am an artist, so I’m used to travelling and meeting all these people and hugs and kisses and being there with people. I have been performing to fans for the last five years now. When we had to lockdown, everything shut off and I was being really hard on myself. I found myself looking through the stuff I have written for the second album, and tearing them up, throwing them in the bin. This isn’t very good, that is not very good, and I just did not feel like I was good enough, anymore. When I was in lockdown, my producer, Jon Maguire, sent me the song, he said, ‘Look I have this idea, I think this will be perfect for your second record’.
In that moment, I just felt so uplifted, and I sat on my chair, thinking that is a sign of a really beautiful song. I played it for my mom and sister, and they were crying. I think if you manage to find songs that can do that to people, that’s magic. That is Harry Potter kind of magic, you know. So, I felt that this song really spoke to me, and it definitely was a rescue song, you know from a pretty dark place.
8. Most of your songs are about love and relationships, do you prefer sad songs or happy songs? And why?
“Watermelon Sugar” was my jam through the summer, but I don’t think that I can write a happy song. I guess it is in my nature to be the sad guy and I am okay with that. I wouldn’t say “Biblical” is a sad song that is emotional and powerful. It speaks of love in its enormity. So, I would probably sing more sad songs and leave the professionals to do the happy songs.
9. Back in 2015, you received the Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell in “Britain’s Got Talent”. If you can name another event that could mimic the same feeling, what would it be?
There has been several moments during my career where I have been blown away. And I think one of them was definitely when I released my first album because I got to tour around the world. When I physically held my own album in my hand, I was like, Calum Scott, oh my God, this is my album, this is crazy. That was definitely one of my favourite moments.
Every time I go on stage, I would always have that moment where I was like, you know, just take a breath because these people are there to see you and that is beautiful. I am so grateful for every individual person that stood there, singing the songs back to me. There was a moment when I sang ‘You Are the Reason’, in Indonesia and I stopped singing, and allowed the crowd to sing the song and I just openly cried because I couldn’t believe that people knew this song, the song that I have written, and singing all the words. Its very overwhelming. And I think that is never going to change.
10. How have you changed compared to the Calum Scott three years ago when “Only Human” was released?
I feel like I have grown and matured since the first album. I think ‘Only Human’ was Calum Scott in his infancy stage. I was thrown into this career and I was rolling with the punches, kind of surfing the waves and trying to catch up with all the fires that were burning all across the world. I didn’t really have a moment to sit back and go wow, this is crazy. I would be on a flight, then I was in a hotel room, then I was doing press conferences, and then I was singing for thousands of people, and then I was on a flight again, and the cycle continued. I think it was just so crazy that I did not have time to sit and think.
2018 was my live year where I performed across Southeast Asia. When that finished, the label told me to go and write the second album. It got me thinking, like what is it that I want to say now? I have talked about my journey, I have talked about my childhood, I have talked about my relationship with my family, my friends, partners, heartbreak, I have talked about everything that I have experienced in life so far.
So, I felt like I had to mature, and I had to kind of grow up a little bit, I just felt like I had to really strap myself in and say okay, this is not just me going wow, I get to write an album now, but what do you want to say? How do you want to say it? Who do you want to work with? I think that empowered me as an artist. I am not just the guy from “Britain’s Got Talent”. I am not just the guy who sang a cover of “Dancing on My Own”. I feel like I am an established artist now. I feel like I have a mission to continue to show love and appreciation to the fans that have kept me on this path. I think the second album definitely gave me an opportunity to put my big boy boots on. It is like the boy to man thing, literally.
11. How has the pandemic and many lockdowns challenged or offered you a breakthrough in the creative sense?
I think the pandemic and the lockdown had definitely broken my motivation. It definitely stifled my creativity because as a person and as a human, I experience things in life whether that’s travel, or heartbreak, friendships, jealousy, triumph, sadness all these things that we go through which kind of suits the first album being human, we go through these emotions. The difference for me between the first and second album was that I was not able to experience these things because we were in lockdown and I was looking to release the album in 2020 and start touring. I had all these plans and it’s been two years since I released music.
It was not until “Biblical” where I was like, maybe I should be writing about love and you know, when we get out of this, we are going to see the opportunities, what we are going to do when we leave the lockdown. So, two of the songs that I feel like probably my strongest well-written in the lockdown, so as much as I said that it stifled my creativity, I think it pushed me to write something beautiful as well. So, it was kind of like a bit of both. I know many artists who had gone through the same thing where they said, I just didn’t want to write. Because as a creative person, you want to be free, you want to travel, you want to live and enjoy. I think the lockdown kind of stopped that. Hopefully, we are looking to come out of this lockdown. Hopefully, soon.
12. What can we expect from your second album? How is it different from your first one?
I think the second album is going to be me 2.0. I feel like I have elevated my song, my music, my lyric, my performance. I feel like I have time to grow up and I have never been more Calum Scott than I am today. Because Calum Scott is not just the guy from England, in Yorkshire. He is the artist, he is the songwriter, he is the storyteller. I think the second album will be a step up, there are definitely some songs in the second album that will be less sad and a little bit more like happy and make you feel confident, make you want to go and seize the day when we get out of this lockdown. So, yeah, I think it is going to be a well anticipated second album.
13. Tell us the story behind the visuals of “Biblical”. Were you behind the visuals as well? And what was it like from the conceptualisation of the filming of the music video?
It’s funny because when I was visualising the music video for “Biblical”, I kind of visualise that in space, so I kind of thought it would be cool to have two people, couples, like the violin player or the ballerina, whoever it was, who is going to play a role in the music video. And have them be weightless, and dancing in space. When we collaborated with directors, Franklin and Marchetta, they said to me, ‘We see the music video being on the water’. And I was like, huh, because I have the same idea of that weightlessness, and they were like, that is really cool. We joined heads and we spoke about the idea, and we just wanted to demonstrate these moments of love in like slow motion, but more held in suspense, you know zero gravity, just feeling of weightlessness. Because that is how love makes you feel sometimes. It gives you the butterflies, and it makes you feel like you were just held in suspense, just beautifully held there.
I am almost the observer, that is there, looking into the surreal world and be like, wow, these moments of affection like, it is a biblical moment, unquantifiable amount of love. And then I go ahead and smash through, thinking that I am going to find love. There I am, on my own, in the water. So, I think it is everything that we could have wished for. And the video is doing so well, and everybody is commenting that the YouTube video is just so gorgeous, so lovely. So, I am extremely happy with how it came out and I just hope that everybody else loves it as much as me.
14. When is the album dropping? Can you specify when exactly it is coming out?
I have been sworn to secrecy so I cannot tell you that. But I can tell you that we have listed the tracks. We are looking at the artwork. I am writing my thank you notes. So, it is in the pipeline. It is going to come. I cannot tell you exactly when, but it will be sooner than you think.