Sunday, May 07, 2017

Weekend Diversion: Calum Scott

The past couple weeks, I’ve shared videos I stumbled across on New Zealand’s free-to-air music video channel. This week’s artist is one I was reminded of, but someone I first saw elsewhere: Calum Scott.

Callum shot to fame on the first episode of the 2015 season of Britain’s Got Talent. He was there mainly to support his sister Jade, who was auditioning for the show. She wasn’t selected, and he had to follow her. His audition is the video above, a slow version of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” [WATCH], a song that had been a mild hit for the Swedish singer in 2010.

After his audition, Simon Cowell hit the “Golden Buzzer”, which sent Calum straight through to the live semi-final shows, which was a big deal. At the time, Cowell said, "I've never ever in all the years I've done this show heard a guy with the talent you've got. Seriously. And the version was sensational, which shows to me that you're more than a singer, you're an artist and that's why you got that (the Golden Buzzer)."

Calum got through the semi final, but ended up sixth out of twelve. He eventually released “Dancing On My Own” as a single:

The song reached Number 2 in the UK and Australia, Number 5 in New Zealand, and Number 15 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. It was 2x Platinum in the UK, 3x Platinum in Australia, and Platinum in New Zealand. There were also dance remixes (like this one), but I personally prefer the more spare arrangements.

His first single of a song he wrote, "Rhythm Inside", was released earlier this year (video below). "It’s the polar opposite of 'Dancing On My Own',” he told Billboard. “You’re not in the corner anymore, you’re right in the action. There are a lot of songs about love and how it starts, whether that’s realising it yourself or coming to find it later on—but no sort of talk about the actual feelings that are created from love and passion. I wanted to go a little bit deeper into the internal side of it. Like, the beat of your heart, your hair is standing on end, and the adrenaline. I wanted to capture that. It’s a hopeful song and it’s more positive.”

The song has not been as successful as “Dancing On My Own”, but he’s said his goal is to like one of his own idols, Adele, and be consistent as an artist. That suggests that not every song will be a commercial hit, though if he’s like Adele, some could be huge hits.

I like "Rhythm Inside". It’s a nice pop song that's pretty much as he described it. This song is also the connection to that music video channel: I was watching one night and this video came on, and I wondered if he’d ever publicly come out (or, maybe, if my hunch had been correct). It turns out he had, and discussed what it means to be a gay artist in an interview with Attitude, an interview that I thought was quite interesting.

So, I first heard Calum Scott on Britain’s Got Talent (and only because my brother-in-law and his daughters shared the YouTube clip above with us), and, just like Simon Cowell, I’d never heard anything like it in all the years of talent competitions. I was reminded of all that because I happened to catch the video for "Rhythm Inside", and that made me want to know a little more about him, and that, in turn, made me want to share his music.

Personally, I hope he has huge success. This certainly seems to be the era for singer-songwriters that have soulful delivery of well-written songs. Long may that continue.

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