SCOTLAND (CelebrityAccess) Lewis Capaldi, without exaggeration, might be one of the biggest names in music this week, at least overseas.
Capaldi’s debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, recently debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and that’s where it stands currently. He’s approaching cumulative streams of 1 billion and is about to hit the US in June. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old singer has already been dubbed “the Scottish Beyonce” and an arena tour was announced even before the record came out.
“It’s a massive statement and it’s a statement I felt we could back up with the demand. People are desperate to see him and it was something we wanted to do to be like, ‘Imagine playing to that many people without an album out. Imagine the possibilities’… It’s a very surreal thing for us,” manager Ryan Walter recently told Music Week. “According to the agents Alex Hardee at Coda and Kirk Sommer, who does Adele, Sam Smith and The Killers at WME in the US, they have never put arena shows on sale pre-album. It’s insane.”
Capaldi, who has been performing since he was 9 years old, has drawn attention for several years, starting with YouTube uploads. In 2017, his first released track, “Bruises,” got about 28 million plays on Spotify worldwide, making him the fastest-ever unsigned artist to reach 25 million on the platform, and he was signed to Virgin EMI Records and Capitol Records shortly after that. Since then he has supported Rag’n’Bone Man on his European tour, Sam Smith, Niall Horan and Milky Chance through North America last year.
Upon release of his current single, “Someone You Loved,” Idolatorpredicted,“[It’s]Going To Be Big…It goes without saying that he’s One To Watch.”The song has since claimed the No. 1 spot on the U.K. charts for seven consecutive weeks. Cumulative global streams of “Someone You Loved,” which also topped the charts in Scotland and Ireland, are fast approaching 300 million.
He has already sold out four back-to-back tours and has been nominated for the Brit Critics’ Choice Award this year.
Capaldi is certainly an unconventional superstar, with a laid-back style and a wicked sense of humor, as displayed with his announcement of his No. 1 debut:
This lad cracks me up https://t.co/rAdlQp6NO7
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) May 28, 2019
In hopes we might give Capaldi a break from the usual questions he was getting on his press days, we asked him about his team: manager Ryan Walter, and his agencies CODA and WME (stateside). Capaldi comes to the U.S. this month.
Slow week for ya? Got nothing to do?
Yeah, it seems that way. Definitely. I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands. Actually, it’s been quite hectic.
We’d just like to ask you a couple of questions about your team. We understand you were discovered by manager Ryan Walter back when you were uploading videos from your restroom but can you get into more detail about the relationship?
So he was managing an artist that I’m a big fan of called Lauren Aquilina and after that, I think, after that, he set up, via the popularity of Sinclair and Soundcloud and all that, for a new type of management voice – that’s the story he tells anyway. So he says he just came up with it and – to be honest – he knew that things had gotten to that stage with me. I’ve seen him do it to this day: he’ll scours for hours on Soundcloud and YouTube for new artists.
He just phoned me in. I got an email out of the blue saying, “I”m this manager, I used to manage Lauren Aquilina, I really love your stuff and I want to come see you live.” So it was just a couple of emails back and forth. He came up to see me at a show. I played an hour at a venue called The Venue in Dumfries, Scotland. I was supporting a band called The Mermaids.
I hadn’t brought anyone to the gig. I had been gigging for a while at this point but hadn’t brought anyone to the show. And yet, he came up and saw me and right there and then said, “Look, I’d really love to manage you and really would love to help you out.”
Sometimes a manager and a client will sit down and write up a five-year plan. Did anything like that occur?
I think Ryan definitely had a plan. I am someone who, for lack of a better term, lacks any ambition whatsoever. I’m very – at least at the time, I basically just playing gigs. I just wanted to play music in some capacity. I wanted to make music in some capacity but not sure how I was going to do that. I wanted to play music and not have to get a job I didn’t like. So I was giggin’ and giggin’ and he came along. I think he had a plan the whole time but he was talking about playing – when he asked me what was my goal, my goal was to play King Tut’s in Glasgow, which is 300, 400-cap room. That was my goal. That was my only plan, for me anyway. He, on the other hand, was talking about doing arenas from the first time I met him.
To me, it seemed, like, “Ah, shut the fuck up” or something like that. It wasn’t something I imagined. But, yeah, I think he always had a plan. And he comes from a social media background and stuff, and I wasn’t on social media! The call of action was to get me on social media.
Just stuff like that. So, he had a plan but I was just going to keep writing music.
Did you play a role, then, in choosing to work with CODA and WME?
Well, I met them both. I met with them, as well as management before we signed. To me, it was just vital. I met with Kirk Sommer at WME and I just liked them. I liked their vibe. Obviously, he had all this background. This person and that person. They walked us through all this stuff but, to me, it was, “That’s all well and good but I just want to ignore it.” I just wanted to get out and to meet them but it was better for me to just get a vibe. I think it’s best to just see if you have rapport and to see if they what they think of things. That was my whole thing.
So, yeah, I met them early. Even now, they’ll come out to the shows and I’ll speak to them. But things are run past me, which is nice. We’re just to put on a second show here and I trust them implicitly. They let me be as consistent as possible, but my agents have been incredible. For me, at least, they’ve done exactly what they said they were going to do from the start.
You’re off to the States soon. How big will this tour be versus your past experiences?
It’s quite bigger. We first came over in January 2017 with the German band Milky Chance, who’s incredible. And it was kind of cool because I think it was their last tour, maybe, off the last record. It was me, a keyboard player, my manager, and a mini-van, driving around America. That was my first experience.
But it was weird. Literally, soon after that, it was just a headlining tour last June, which was, like, the Troubadour in LA, and New York and DC. A couple of other places escape me; it was very small. Plus Bonnaroo and stuff like Firefly and Lollapalooza last year. That was an incredible experience. It was my first headlining tour over there and then to get all these festivals in between was the biggest thing I’ve done.
So I’ll be back doing loads of things we’ve never done before so, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.
Contacts & Information
North American Agency
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London N1 7SL
Polydor Records UK
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Capitol Music Group
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