We caught up with rising singer-songwriter Ed Tattersall and talked songwriting, the pressures of social media, and how to unwind…
“I’m going to sit on a beach for two weeks and do nothing but relax. Mind you, I’ve already booked my guitar on the flight so I’ll probably still end up writing or jamming with whoever I might meet..!” says Ed, whose new video for track ‘Delicate Mind’ is premiering below.
You mention it was written during one of the hardest times of your life. Talk us through the message behind the song and video…
At the time we started writing the song I was 20, and like most 20 years olds I was really trying to figure out who I was. I’m someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, and it was around this time that I started developing my coping mechanisms. I think the message from the song is really defined in the lyrics “hear the choir, let it sing…”. This is how I steady my mind when I’m on the verge of a panic attack – for me it’s about embracing the thoughts in our overactive minds. One thing that helped me the most was talking to a mate about what was going on in my head, leading him to talk about his own troubles with anxiety. That’s when I first realised I wasn’t alone, that what I was feeling was normal. I guess we want this song to allow people who struggle like me to know it’s okay, that they’re completely normal, and something as simple as talking about it really helps.
The video is a visual narrative illustrating what a young man is feeling inside, despite these feelings being hidden to the outside world. We want to portray that just because it’s not visible, it doesn’t mean people aren’t suffering inside. People suffering internal angst usually hide it well.
“One thing that helped me the most was talking to a mate about what was going on in my head, leading him to talk about his own troubles with anxiety. That’s when I first realised I wasn’t alone”
Would you say that the songwriting process is a therapy of sorts?
Yes, absolutely, for me the writing process is probably the favourite part of my journey so far. I’m very fortunate to work with songwriter/producer Jamie Petrie, who is both a mentor and a friend. Having someone who completely understands what it’s like to be where I am now is amazing. Not only that, but it’s a real getaway from the outside world – there’s barely an internet signal in his rural studio, so we just get to focus on the music and have a real laugh while we’re doing it. The majority of the lyrics are based on our previous life experiences, so we end up talking about stuff which in turn inspires our lyrics. That’s a cool process, cathartic even. Because I’m literally getting my thoughts out on paper, which I think is one of the best therapies for me.
Have you managed to curb the negative effects of social media?
Honestly, probably not… but I’m much more of a people person, so I try to use social media to my advantage for the purpose of promoting and sharing my live performances. For me that’s the best way to truly connect. I want to resist getting too immersed into that virtual world because it takes away from the beautiful one we live in. The moments we have in life are real and enlightening, yet the first thing we think of is getting our phones out. It might be that I’m sitting around a fire with a guitar and friends under a stunning starry night sky, and the first thing I think is, maybe I should film this. There’s no doubt it’s the best way of sharing that moment with a number of people, but it’s impossible to share the reality of the connection – like the one I feel on stage.
Being in that moment and sharing it with people who come to see me play is the real reason I do what I do. If social media helps facilitate that then I suppose it’s a necessary evil. It’s not all bad of course, and some of the messages of support I get from around the world are amazing. I could be feeling really down and a single message from someone can change my mood. I love knowing people I’ve never met are enjoying my music, and are sharing it with people they’ve never met. What’s really cool is that eventually, due to social media, I’m more likely to meet those people and share a magical music moment with them.
“Being in that moment and sharing it with people who come to see me play is the real reason I do what I do.”
What one piece of advice would you give people trying to break into the music industry?
Understand that it’s about the journey not the destination. Honestly, this used to be something which negatively impacted my mental health as I was so fixed on ‘making it’. I never stopped to look at what it is I was actually doing, and what I’d achieved. You have to work hard, you really do, but it’s about enjoying it at the end of the day. That’s why we do this crazy thing, and try and survive in this insane industry. It’s because we love music, we love people, and we love the freedom of thought. There’ll be days when it will really drive you down – but understand that’s not going to change or suddenly be cured if you ‘make it big.’ What really matters is you look back on that journey and say, ‘that was real, it was fun, and I felt all of it’.
How do you unwind when you’re not writing or performing?
Aha, I don’t think I ever truly unwind, but I guess getting into a series box set or doing some exercise are the obvious ones for me. I play five-a-side football on a Tuesday and that really chills me out. I’m going on my first proper holiday in four years January 2020 and that is when I intend to truly wind down.
What’s next for Ed Tattersall?
Loads of fun stuff! I’m playing my first show in Glasgow on the 12th November at Ivory Blacks, I’m really excited for that. I’ve got some really good friends up there and the Glaswegians know how to party. I’m then supporting So Solid Crew at a charity event in Welwyn on the 23rd November. In December I’ve got my last run of shows of 2019 in London, St Albans, and Bishop Stortford. We’ve very nearly finished my third single “Embrace the Waterfall” and I’m seriously excited to drop that early next year along with a new video. Then I’m just finishing my first album – and most important of all I’m enjoying the journey.
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Get access here.
Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.