With my latest album ÷, I just wanted to do something different [such as incorporating a big performance component], rather than merely release another album. I love touring, so it has been a lot of fun.
Before I got my break, I was busking and playing small gigs. I was still a musician, I just wasn’t a known one. There are so many talented buskers and musicians out there playing small clubs, and they just haven’t got their break yet.
What I think I have learned about “writer’s block” is that it doesn’t actually exist. Never push trying to write a song, because if you do you will start getting frustrated and you will convince yourself in your head that you have “writer’s block”. Literally all I do when I can’t write a song is put the guitar down and stop trying. Then I leave it for a couple of weeks, come back, and usually all is good.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some immensely talented people – but the Eminem collaboration [on “River”] really sticks in my head. Purely as a fan, the idea of it had been in my head my entire life – so when the call came I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
There are plenty of artists I have respect for and who I think of working with – but I have been saying for a while that I feel like myself and Drake [collaborating on something] really has to happen at some point.
Performing with Beyoncé is the only time I can say I have ever really felt like a rock star. Normally I am the awkward British guy with an acoustic guitar, but when you are on stage with Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder’s band and they start to play electric guitar, you can’t help but start to feel a little bit “rocky” then.
“Literally all I do when I can’t write a song is put the guitar down and stop trying. Then I leave it for a couple of weeks, come back, and usually all is good.”
I don’t think I will do this forever. I am enjoying the here and now – but in terms of music, I don’t think that far into the future because so much can change both personally and professionally.
I have always said I don’t make songs for critics – I write them for myself and for my fans. While I still have ideas, and still enjoy writing and performing, then I am going to carry on.
[Dabbling in acting] has been fun, but it’s not something I am thinking about right now. If I ever got offered something I really wanted to do again, like Game Of Thrones, then I would be up for it.
I have some great people in my life. I have a wonderful fiancée who I grew up with and a set of friends I have known for years; when everything gets a little crazy, and wherever I am in the world, I know I still always have that normality and support. I also bought a house near where I grew up [in Suffolk, United Kingdom] so I have never gone far from my roots.
I really like to go to places that major artists don’t tour. I am so in love with New Zealand, and have played Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. I grew up in a place called Ipswich in England and apart from Elton John and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, nobody ever came there. So that kind of defines my travel bucket list – finding places where artists don’t normally play.
Narrowing it down to three of my favourite cities in the world is so tough, but on the spot I am going to have to go Wellington, Cork [in Ireland] and London.
Singapore is a great place to play and the fans have been so amazing. I don’t always get time to explore the city, but like so much of Asia in terms of building and technology there is so much to be impressed about. Hopefully I can find a little time [this month].
This article was originally published in the April 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine