Despite being only 17-years-old, Sunderland-based newcomer Tom A. Smith has already achieved more than most artists do in a lifetime. He played his first ever gig aged just eight, supporting local psychedelic rockers Detroit Social Club at legendary Newcastle venue The Cluny, performed at Glastonbury before he was even in secondary school, and Tim Burgess handpicked him to play his stage at Kendal Calling, making him the festival’s youngest ever performer. He has played live with local hero Sam Fender and Catfish & The Bottlemen, as well as supported other Northern acts on the rise like The Lathums and The Mysterines. And now he is looking to break through with his stunning debut single ‘Wolves’ produced by Larry Hibbitt (Nothing But Thieves/The Snuts/Sea Girls).
Channelling the same warm and euphoric sound as The Cure’s Robert Smith, ‘Wolves’ perfectly establishes his rich and soaring direction through a bold and contemporary lens. With its broad and driven production layered effortlessly over Smith’s own passionate vocals, his debut effort makes for powerful listening and showcases a true talent on the rise.
Speaking about his new release, Smith added, “I wrote ‘Wolves’ during a time when I felt that the vulnerable were being neglected, and in my opinion nothing much has changed.”
Tom A. Smith’s self-uploaded performances have won him fans amongst rock and roll royalty. The week David Bowie passed, Bowie’s widow Iman shared Smith’s cover of Bowie’s Lazarus online, commenting on the emotional impact of Smith’s rendition. Blossoms recognised him from one of his videos as he was watching them from the crowd and invited him backstage, while Morrissey – not a man known to lavish praise or endorsements on others – played Smith’s cover of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want as his walk on music on a recent US tour. Nile Rogers, James frontman Tim Booth, indie legends The Coral, and many more besides have shared footage of his performances across the globe.
“It’s never normal. Every single time it happens it’s surreal,” reflects Smith on the countless pinch-me moments of his career so far. “Music is always what I wanted to do. I just fell in love with it. I asked for guitar lessons when I was four. It’s all I’ve ever known.”
Having achieved so much so soon you might think Smith would be content to rest on his laurels a bit. Been there, done that sort of thing; fire up the PS4 and tell your mates about that time you played Glastonbury. All his achievements so far have done though is to stoke Smith’s creative fire and make him want to achieve more as an artist, a performer and a songwriter.
“I’ve just kept sticking at it, but it is never something that I 100% just thought was going to happen,” he says. “It’s a competitive world and I’ve just kept at it.”
When Covid hit at the start of 2020, Smith spent lockdown honing his craft and writing songs constantly. He set himself a challenge of writing a song a day, in as many styles and genres as he could think of.
“At the start of 2020 I probably had about eleven songs, but then I thought, ‘OK, right, I’m really going to go for it now…’ I spent seven hours a day every day working on and recording music,” he says. “I think I’ve got about nine albums’ worth of songs now!”
LISTEN TO ‘WOLVES’ HERE