Tom Wardle released a new single yesterday, and took on our Solo Act questions to boot. So have a read, then listen to the music below!
Nottingham, but now living in Williamsburg, New York for the past two years,
How long have you been playing as a solo act?
I’ve been solo for 15 years now. I had my first (and only) band when I was at school, 8 Idle Hands, and had a fantastic time, but been solo since then.
What are your influences?
I’m a massive Beatles and Beach Boys fan. Those two bands are everything to me – harmonies, melodies, songs for every emotion. I’m also into The Faces, Thin Lizzy, Squeeze and Paul Weller (Style Council is his best iteration if you ask me).
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Glorious power pop! I just want to make uplifting music, that’s been my mantra since the get go. I love making my song with loads of rich layers of instruments and harmonies. Fortunately on my past two record I’ve been working with Brian Wilson’s producer who has really enriched my sound and helped me achieve what I envisioned. I’d say what makes me unique is my foghorn raspy voice, which often gets compared as a cross between Rod Stewart and Glenn Tilbrook (if you can imagine that – I can’t!).
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Always influenced greatly by past romances and what could’ve beens, “missed chances and the same regrets” to quote Paddy McAloon, another one of my heroes. But there’s a lot of positivy in my songs too, about looking forward to the future and what could be, romantically or otherwise.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
I’ve been doing between 150-200 gigs a year since I was 19, and I’m 33 now! My live show consists of me and my acoustic guitar, with a loop pedal, overdrive, compression and vocal harmony pedals added in there too. I thrive off taking requests and improvising and having a laugh when I’m playing. Music’s not meant to be all serious, right?
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Last year I had Cuba Gooding Jr come and do a couple of duets with me. He was in the venue where I was playing and was loving it, and he asks if he can come and sing one. He’s got a belting voice and we did Don’t Stop Believing (his choice) in a key the was far too high! But I think we just about pulled it off. Another highlight was having Margot Robbie dancing in the front row at one of my gigs for the evening, she was stunning.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I’ve only got one guitar, a 40 year old Gibson hummingbird copy, and it plays beautifully. I had a Takamine Cooltube preamp put it in too so it sounds really rich when it’s plugged in. I use a Ditto 2x Looper and. Boss V2 vocal harmony pedal as well just for some flavor.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Got my brand new single “Secret” out on Friday 12th June, and I’ve teamed up with audio tech startup IRIS Listen Well to be the first artist to use their new technology to incorporate it into the mix of my song. Their app (IRIS) is worth checking out. When I was writing Secret I envisioned some kind of comeback video montage when I wrote it, and Nottingham Forest (my team) have picked up on it and have used it in some of their video montages of the season for the fans, which I’m thrilled about.
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?
Want to really push this single to US radio and start building my name up over here. I’ll be releasing another new single, Saviour in July as well. Hoping to be gigging in New York all summer should venues open again.