Ahead of the release of his new album Evering Road, CALM caught up with musician Tom Grennan. He chatted about holding his hands up to past mistakes, why he starts every day with ‘The Tom Shake’ and how he wants the album to lift your spirits during lockdown.
You can sense the anticipation in Tom’s voice as he talks about his upcoming album. Evering Road is an intimate reflection on the street he lived on with his ex girlfriend and the breakdown of their relationship. Describing it as a record about “love, heartbreak and redemption”, Tom is eager for its release on the 12th March.
“Evering Road is about going through a breakup, realising I was the toxic one in the relationship and that I needed to love myself before I could love anybody else. It’s not a breakup album in the sense that I want people to feel sorry for me, it’s about owning up to the things I did and holding up my hands to say I’m a human being and I’ve made mistakes. I wanted to get honest with my lyrics and creating the album was therapeutic for me. It allowed me to open up to myself and other people and start making changes in my life.”
Despite the heavy topic, don’t expect to be reaching for the tissues. Evering Road is an uplifting listen, gospel influences are weaved into tracks and it’s a raw, honest account about moving on from a relationship. His single Little Bit of Love is about toxic masculinity and unconditional love, showing a softer side to the singer. Tom hopes the album will inspire others to speak up when they’re struggling:
“I didn’t want to open up and when I did, it was so liberating for me. My advice would be to be honest with yourself and know that you have people you can talk to, whether that’s professionals, friends or family. When I was honest with myself, I started breaking down that barrier.”
Tom is no stranger to struggling with his emotional health, admitting the difficulties he faced after being attacked by a group of strangers at age 18, an event which left him needing surgery and extensive therapy. Even now, it’s not an easy thing for Tom to talk about, but he touches on his experience with depression and how hard to was to seek support:
“I fell into a massive depression. I didn’t want to leave my house and it hit me really hard mentally. The album is about opening up about emotions and encouraging others to do the same.”
Tom still experiences anxiety following the attack and like many of us, he has good days and bad days. From exercise to slowing things down sometimes, he’s learning his own set of tools that help him when he’s feeling down:
“I start every day doing something I like to call ‘The Tom Shake’ where as soon as I wake up in the morning, I stand up straight and just shake it all off. I mean a proper shake, I go mad for it and it just helps me shake off the negative feelings, get the blood flowing and my heart rate up. It just makes me feel good.
“Exercise has also really turned my life around. You’ll never regret doing it, even if it’s 10 or 20 minutes. It gets those endorphins going which can make you feel alive and energised. I try to stay aware of my mental health too, slowing it down when I need to. It’s great to have good days, but it’s also alright to have bad days.”
Tom’s also been an advocate for positive mental wellbeing in his community throughout lockdown. A face of Tommy Hilfiger’s Moving Forward Together campaign, it’s clear that community is fundamental to Tom and he’s been looking out for them throughout this tricky time:
“My community’s helped me out so much over the years and have always been behind me, so I wanted to give back a little bit. I’ve been walking people’s dogs if they can’t leave their house, helping out at the local food bank and delivering medicine to elderly and vulnerable people. It just gave them one less thing to worry about during lockdown. Community is so important and sticking together at this time is what we need – it’s something I’ll always be passionate about.”
Tom’s keen to look out for his community’s mental wellbeing, aware of the difference support from loved ones and charities like CALM can make when someone is struggling:
“Everybody can struggle with their mental health. Charities and support services give people a voice, allow people to talk, reassure them and make sense of the stuff people are going through. The brain is a crazy weird thing and people need to be reminded that they have that support.”
Evering Road is introspective and candid, an album that confronts what it means to be human, acknowledging the idea that we’re continuously evolving emotionally. Perhaps more than most, Tom understands that music can be a lifeline to people and he hopes his album can give people a boost during this weird time:
“I want to lift people’s spirits and encourage people to get out there and enjoy life. Embrace it, embrace yourself and other people too.”
Tuck into Tom Grennan’s Evering Road from the 12th March, or if you’re looking to get your eyes over more music content in the meantime, read more about musicians on mental wellbeing here.
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Get access here.
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