Singer-songwriter Nick Wilson crafts beautiful tunes that are full of stunning vocals, blissful melodies and carefully thought-out lyricism. As a new artist, Wilson hasn’t done too bad so far, after five EP releases, numerous tour dates and racking up 100 million streams, he’s an artist on the rise. Now, Nick Wilson is about to embark on his biggest musical journey yet, the release of his debut album, Now I’m Falling, which is out August 27th.
House Of Solo Magazine caught up with the talented songwriter via Zoom call to discuss his forthcoming debut LP, touring, having a song featured on Made In Chelsea and more.
Hi Nick, Your debut album Now I’m Falling is out August 6th. What challenges did you face and overcome when writing your first LP?
Good question, I think for me the main challenge was kind of going ahead with it in the first place. It has to be the same for every musician, there is such a weight to your debut record, a lot of pressure, not necessarily external pressure but more of an internal pressure where you’re like ‘I’ve got to get this right, you only have one shot at a first record’. So, for me, that was the hurdle to overcome.
In terms of songs and music, I had a bunch of stuff there and this album, what I really love about it is that it has songs I’ve picked from over the last few years of writing. So the music side was never a concern of mine, it was mainly the hurdle of going for it and getting over that initial fear of putting out a debut record. I think a lot of it came down to the pandemic last year and everything going up in the air and no one’s life was the same after when it all happened, so that kind of weirdly made me think: ‘oh, why am I not doing an album?’ It felt like something that I should just go ahead and do.
That was the main fear and I overcame it and got working on it and the moment I did, it was plain sailing, it was a really nice experience.
Putting out a first record is scary, you always want to put it out at the right time but with the pandemic it’s hard to know when the right time is. Either way, we’re sure it will all go well!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Yeah, you want to release it at the perfect time but the pandemic has showed us that there isn’t really a perfect time to hold-off on anything because anything can happen. That’s what helped me let go and think: ‘if there isn’t a perfect time that’s fine, let’s release it’.
What is your favourite track from the record and why? And is there an unreleased song on it that you can’t wait for your fans to hear?
I can wrap both of those answers up in one, there is a song on the album which is the outro track, it’s called “Black & Blue”. That song for me has always kind of been one of my favourites. It’s a funny one as it’s changed a lot, throughout the creative process and having the song finished, that song for me… I always go back to it. It has gorgeous strings from my friend Tobie Tripp who I’m so thankful could help out. It’s just vocals, piano and strings and I just love it.
It’s really simple songwriting but for me that is what I love most about music, when it doesn’t have too much going on and because of that it feels like it’s really connecting. I feel that is one track I’m really excited for people to hear once the album is out.
On the record you worked with the producers Martin Luke Brown (BTS, Gavin James, Sody) and Mark Elliott, did you pick up any cool tips from them? And would you ever return to self-producing as you produced a few tracks when you first started releasing music…
One-hundred-percent, firstly, up until three years ago everything that I had put out was self-produced in my bedroom. I feel like I wouldn’t call myself a producer, it’s not that good, but it has definitely helped me understand what goes on when I’m in the studio. It’s always important to find the right producers to help you get your sound, it just helps. Even in the short-term and the language you use when speaking with a producer, you don’t have to fumble too much. I’m not saying there wasn’t a lot of that, when you’re in the studio you’re always fumbling and figuring the sound out.
Working with Martin and Mark on the album was amazing, they are friends of mine anyway, so that made it easier. But I love the work they have both done, they are both incredibly talented. So there were things I picked up from them, there were plugins that we were using that I had never used before and found fascinating. One of the things that Martin does amazingly is play along with a vocoder really well. Firstly, he’s amazing at the piano but he’s really good at picking out melodies that you wouldn’t necessarily hear in the first place.
We all worked really well together and there are things I’ve definitely taken away from working with them on the album. It was really cool.
Speaking of musical influences, some of your favourites are John Mayer, Noah Gundersen, The Fray, Coldplay. If you had the opportunity to collaborate with only one of those artists/bands, who would you pick and why?
Good question, I don’t know… I’d love to say all of them. But if I had to choose one, it would have to be John Mayer. Just because I’m a huge fan and I’ve loved everything he’s put out. I think he’s so good at the craft of songwriting but also the musicality. He’s an incredible guitarist, the way he plays, sings and how he writes is just amazing. I feel like if anything, it would be cool to do something with him just to see how he does it. I think it’s always interesting to see the way certain artists create and develop things. He’s just an artist that I’m in awe of, so I’d love to see how he does it.
You’ve got two big support tours coming up, you’ll be on the road with Emily Burns this September and Gabrielle Aplin in March next year. Do you have any pre-show rituals? Do you get nervous at all?
I definitely do. Weirdly I used to not get as nervous, but now before a show, there is half an hour before the gig where you realise what you’re doing, even if it’s a huge crowd or a tiny crowd, it’s just the playing in front of them aspect. Performing is not an inherently scary thing to do when you do it a lot but I still feel like ‘What if something goes wrong, what if I forget the words and fall off stage or something’, so I do get nervous but it all goes once I’ve done the first song.
I don’t have any pre-show rituals but I’ve learnt to take care of my voice a little bit more, warmup and things like that. I never used to do it until a few years ago when someone said: “what are you doing?! You’re going to ruin your throat.” The half an hour before a show, I’m trying to keep as chill as possible, drink a lot of water, couple of warmups and generally don’t speak much to people. If I’m in a greenroom with anyone, I always feel that I’m a little bit quiet and reserved because I’m trying not to use my voice too much. Once the show is over, I’m like ‘great, let’s get the beers in!’.
It’s become a thing now where you have to really self-care and look after your voice as you’ll be touring a lot. It’s like warming-up for a marathon in a sense.
It is! The thing that I learned is that your voice is a muscle and if you overwork it or don’t treat it right, then it’s not going to do what you want it to do. It definitely is like warming-up for/running a marathon. I’m such a wuss when it comes to any sort of alcohol, I’m always really conscious about what I put in my body the day or two before a gig because I’m conscious about how my throat is. I have so much respect for people that can perform and also do other things but I’m one of these people that are overly conscious about their throat and vocals. Maybe it’s for the best!
What sort of covers did you put up on YouTube years ago when you were learning to sing and play guitar?
It was pretty much anything that I was listening to. The first few years of myself uploading covers was more for me to try and learn what I want to sound like and how to sing as opposed to trying to get views. I was covering Coldplay, The Fray, John Mayer, all of these older artists. Gavin DeGraw was another one, I was obsessed with him when I was younger. They’re all artists that I think have distinct sounds and distinct voices, Jeff Buckley is another one. And that is a reason why I love falsettos so much because of trying to learn Jeff Buckley songs and that was a way for me to kind of mimic them.
A lot of my early YouTube covers… I’ve put them on private as they are not good haha. But a lot of those early ones was me trying to get a sound, I listen back now and think ‘damn, I really didn’t know what I was doing’ but I can hear myself learning by mimicking other artists. Coldplay was one of the main ones, I love Chris Martin’s voice, so I was trying to mimic and get that sound.
You’ve previously said that with your music you like for the listener to find a message in it and that it’s not for you to decide what the message/meaning behind your music is. But what would you hope that people take from your work?
For me the main thing is that every song I’ve put out, written or worked on, has come from a place that I’ve gone through or dealt with. Not something that necessarily effects me immediately but it’s been something I’ve felt and needed to talk about. The only thing I want people to take when they listen to my music is to be able to find something in it that they can relate to. Even if it’s in the smallest way possible, something they can hear and be like ‘oh, I’ve felt that’ or ‘I’ve been through similar things before’. I feel music is one of those really amazing things which helps us figure out more about ourselves and what we feel about things. It also helps us process emotions and as a songwriter, that is what it is for me. It’s definitely a free form of therapy, so on the other side, if you’re listening to my music, you’re hearing something in it that you can connect to and think about in some sort of way.
And if you don’t, that’s fine as well, sometimes you just want to listen to music because you don’t want to think about anything. So that is why I say I like my music to be something that a person can take anything from it. Once you start saying ‘this track is about this thing’ or ‘this is how it should make you feel’, it kind of shuts off people from making their own personal connection to it. If you are listening to my stuff, take it as you want, I just hope it helps you in someway.
100 million streams is no easy feat for a new artist, what do you think has helped your growth as an artist so far?
I honestly think and this sounds a bit wishy-washy but the main thing is trying to be true to who I am as a person and as an artist. As a musician the only thing you can do is put out music that you would want to listen to or what you want to be talking about because it’s a lot easier to spot something that’s not true or dishonest from a musical or songwriting standpoint. If you listen to artists that do what they want to do, it’s easier to connect to and that is the main thing about music. If you can connect to something then the battle is won, that is something you will go back to and want to listen to more.
If you can’t connect to something then it’s a little bit harder to bridge that gap and I think the easiest way to not connect with someone is to be dishonest. So I’ve tried to just put out music that I would listen to and not really think about who might be listening to it. I kind of forget about all that when I’m recording and releasing music, anything that comes after is a bonus. Like the 100 million streams which I’m super grateful and thankful for. I never expected one-hundred streams, so everything past that is a bonus and great to have, that’s my outlook on it all anyway.
When something seems too forced in music it just doesn’t sound right. People look for authenticity!
I couldn’t agree more, it bleeds into the conversation with social media. It’s that thing where if you’re yourself then your music might not land or it might not take off and that’s fine. But if it does land and takes off then people will connect with your music on a different level compared to if it’s something you’re forcing yourself to do. I never want to be the sort of artist that does something for the sake of chasing views or streams, I rather have none of that and be putting out music that I feel comfortable and happy with putting out.
Speaking about putting out music, one of your tracks was previously used on Made In Chelsea, tell us about that…
It was very weird, it’s crazy! It was one of those things where we were told just before that it was going to be on an episode and I didn’t know anymore than that. I was watching the show kind of waiting for it and I almost didn’t notice it haha. Then it clicked. It’s always weird but an amazing feeling hearing your own music on something like that. I’ve found so many artists from Made In Chelsea and certain tv shows as well, where you listen to something, you like it and then you go look-up the artist. So it was crazy to think that some people might have done for my music when watching the show.
It was a really weird experience but it was a bonus and really cool, I’m super grateful for that.
Finally, what else would you like to achieve this year?
I think if you would have asked me this a couple of years ago before the whole world kind of got turned upside down, I might of given you a different answer. But at the moment, where we’re coming off the back of the last year, I’m just grateful for being able to keep putting music out and going on tour later in the year with Emily. Those are the things that I’m really looking to do and I’m super excited to get back on stage.
And because those things are happening, I’m really happy with where things are at, I’m one of the lucky ones, as I’ve been able to keep doing what I do throughout this pandemic. So there’s nothing crazy massive that I’m looking to achieve, just put the debut album out and hope it connects with people and hope they like it. I’ll continue writing for whatever that comes next and play some live shows.