An Interview With The English Singer-Songwriter, TOM WARDLE!
Posted On 12 Apr 2019
Tom Wardle is an English singer-songwriter performing around the world and is a sought after performer across the Hamptons, after moving to New York in 2017. The summer of 2018 has seen Tom perform with Grammy award winners Bryan Adams and Michael Bolton at events in New York, as well as personally being asked by fashion icon Donna Karan to play at her private New Years Eve party in Turks and Caicos.
Specializing in performing upbeat pop, rock and soul, Tom’s powerful voice is often compared to Rod Stewart, with luxury lifestyle Hamptons Magazine calling him “perfect music for a summers evening”. His lively one-man acoustic shows with loop and harmony pedals have proved popular with music fans, with Tom previously holding residencies at some of London’s most famous night spots, including Richard Branson’s The Roof Gardens in Kensington, as well as appearing as VIP entertainment at soccer matches at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
From performing in mountains of Aspen to the sun-drenched mansions of Beverly Hills, to singing at parties on Lake Geneva, Switzerland to the Royal Polo in Oxfordshire, England, Tom’s soulful voice is a fixture at high-end events around the globe.
As well as being a well seasoned performer, Wardle is also an acclaimed songwriter, with his 2014 single, “She Kissed Me”, gaining national radio play on BBC Radio 2, the UK’s largest radio station, as well as a live session on BBC Introducing in front of over one million listeners, with new single “Jacqueline” has gaining airtime on the highly rated BBC 6 Music.
Tom’s brand new record “Jacqueline” was initially produced by Ivor Novello winner Chris Difford of legendary British new wave band Squeeze over in London, and finished off by Wardle and member’s of Brian Wilson’s band in LA. .The record also features musicians from David Bowie’s and Tom Jones’ band. Tom played his first New York City gig in February 2019 at the Brooklyn Bowl.
Learn more about Tom Wardle in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you?
At my home in Williamsburg, New York staring out onto the back garden, and the neighbour’s 20-foot plastic flamingo they have in their garden which stares down into my bedroom window. Looks ominous when it’s lit up at night!
Now that we are into the 4th month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
It’s been a great one so far. It started well, with me playing a celeb-packed party in Turks and Caicos and I’ve been plugging my new record ever since. I’ve played a great gig with the band at Brooklyn Bowl and appeared in Rolling Stone, so it’s been eventful. I suppose my resolutions were just to get my record out there and released and take every opportunity that comes my way. I’m trying to get another record made before summer time, so trying to stick to that.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I’ve been playing the guitar since I was seven years old, wanting to be in Oasis, so it’s always been what I wanted to do. I haven’t seriously considered a career in doing anything else, and because there has been no plan B, I’ve had to make sure that plan A works! I’ve been playing live since I was 15 and it’s addictive. I still thrive off it, and I can’t see that ever stopping.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Not at all. Music has brought me a great life and put me in a lot of places I otherwise wouldn’t have been. It’s opened doors to wonderful and exciting people and I wouldn’t have had those opportunities doing any other job. I’ve always had a great interest in menswear and fashion, and was dating a fashion designer for a number of years, and I think I wouldn’t have minded having my own men’s clothing line at some point. However that industry is much harder than the music industry!
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest challenge is making yourself known and heard, and standing out. There’s no formula for success but all you can do is make music of quality and you hope that it’ll shine through, and stand the test of time. I’ve never been one for scenes, so I just make the music I want to make and know that those that like it will eventually pick up on it.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
For many years I always aspired to live in California, where everything seemed so bright and colorful. Eventually, at aged 30 I got granted an artist visa and made Hollywood my home. It felt like where my music was. The fact I ended up working with Brian Wilson’s producer and collaborator was the icing on the cake for me. Everything had come full circle and I think I realized my sound on the Jacqueline EP.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Jacqueline.” What was the inspiration for this song? How does it compare to the rest of your brand new EP?
I had just moved to Hollywood, and I ended up having a night that really made me realize how far I’d come and how far away from home I was (Nottingham, England). I went back to where I was staying and wrote the song about the girl and about where I found myself – lost but grateful, and more importantly, hopeful. I wanted to write a song like Angie by The Rolling Stones, and I think we really captured that feel on the record. It’s really slow, compared to the rest of the EP, but it probably rocks the most.
What was it like recording this collection? What was it like recording it with musicians from the bands of Brian Wilson, David Bowie and Tom Jones? How did that all come together?
It took two years from starting the project to finishing it! During that time I’d moved to America, had a relationship end and then reestablished myself in Los Angeles. It was initially planned as a quick three track EP with a more country-lean to it, with Chris Difford from Squeeze producing the sessions in London. I did two days with Chris and the band and then ran out of money, and then time. Chris was great though and gave his blessing to finish the record without him. When I moved to Los Angeles I met long time Brian Wilson band member Scott Bennett and he helped me finish the EP. We added two new songs and made a great record.
I was fortunate enough to use one of my all time favorite drummers, Neil Conti of Prefab Sprout on three of the tracks, as I did my previous record at his studio in France, so he flew into London to lay down drums for me. Scott McKeon, who now gigs with Tom Jones, played on my first ever EP ten years ago and it was great to get in touch with him again and have him lend his lead guitar to the record. He’s phenomenal and really gave the songs character.
Scott was a fantastic help with vocals on the record, with all his harmonies learnt first hand from the master, Brian Wilson, he really helped will the sound, and we roped in is band mate Probyn Gregory for some horns on my reggae track!
What has changed about your style of music? How has your creative process grown over the years?
I think my lyrics are more reflective as I get older, but I still strive to make the same music as I always have – upbeat and positive pop rock. I still write the lyrics completely separate to the music, and then I do my best to match them up later on. I prefer to write the song and complete it first before committing it t any kind of recording or demo.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
I love social media, especially Twitter. You can find out so much from there. I give out cards at my gigs where people can write their song request on and pass it to me, or tweet it to me, and I’ll read them out on stage. That works really well. I’m pretty good at keeping up to date and keeping fans up to date on things. I can’t say that I don’t have time to do it all because I do. I love the interaction. It’s instant feedback on what you’re doing from the people that you’re doing it for – what could be more helpful than that?
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
In terms of inspiration, The Beach Boys are my biggest influence. Something so magical about those mid-sixties records and the group’s harmonies. I’d love to integrate some of that into my next set of recordings. I’d love to get Van Dyke Parks arranging some strings for my songs, and I’d love Chris Difford’s lyrics to write to. I will have to ask him!
Where can fans see you perform next?
I am going to be performing all summer across the Hamptons on the east end of Long Island New York, but there will be gigs at venues across New York city with my band too.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I’d like to reunite the cast of my favorite show, British TV comedy Phoenix Nights, and film a mini one off episode that climaxes in me performing at the Phoenix Club’s Talent Trek night!
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
A grand piano. I love playing piano as a hobby because I’m always learning on it! Every time I see one in a pub or lobby I have to jump on and play it. Usually something by McCartney or Elton John.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Coming from Nottingham, I’d love do a song for a decent Robin Hood movie, but there hasn’t been one in a long time! Other than that, I know Margot Robbie is doing good things with her film production company so I’d like to work with them. And it’s been a long held ambition to do the James Bond soundtrack. Would love a crack at that. There’s one in the works at the minute so there’s a chance!
Do you remember the first time you ever heard one of your songs on TV, in a movie or elsewhere? What was it and how did it feel? Where were you when you heard it?
I remember hearing myself on national radio. I was in the car and it sounded magical. It’s always been an ambition of mine to be on national radio and have millions of people hear my songs. I felt really proud.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Positivity, resilience, hope and romance.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Give it a listen with headphones in! And I’d love your thoughts and feedback on the tracks. It helps me and encourages me.