Scotland born and Manchester bred singer-songwriter, Tom Walker, is experiencing a rise to prominence at an accelerated pace. He’s still yet to release his debut album but he has already sold out shows up and down the country, his popularity continuously being enhanced due to some masterful live performances, meaning he’s gone from playing 200+ cap rooms to 2,000 cap venues in the space of just a few short years.
Walker is still very much the new kid on the block but he has spent years honing his craft and developing a style that’s often an eclectic mix of genre bending songs, all the while managing to stick to a signature style with his gravel tone and rasping lyrics. He’s been a constant on the UK touring circuit and has opened for mainstream artists such as George Ezra, Gallant & Jake Bugg as well as headline gigs that have helped spread the word on his talent.
It wasn’t until the release of his first EP, ‘Blessings’ in 2017 via Relentless Records when the world sat up and took notice of Walker’s talents, specifically his runaway hit song, ‘Leave A Light On’ which received considerable radio airplay and shone the spotlight firmly on him as it amassed a staggering 150+ million streams and still climbing.
While hard graft and success doesn’t always go hand in hand within the music industry, it’s always great to see someone reap the rewards as Walker takes to the stage to play to a sold out O2 Ritz, underneath his signature fisherman beanie and a beaming smile no beard can hide, he kicks the night off with ‘Fly Away With Me’, showing his impressive vocal range early on and singing with swagger as he beckons the crowd to sing a long and fly away with him.
Without missing a beat, Walker and his three-piece band crash into the rock n roll riff heavy ‘Heartlands’ and the R n B beat driven ‘Play Dead’ sending deep bass vibrations around the room, from the floor to the ceiling everyone could feel the effects as the air is filled with the raspy vocals of Walker. As the band rip through the empowering anthem ‘My Way’ it’s captivating chorus and robust drum beats sends energy levels through the roof, visibly buoyed by the crowd’s passion, Walker points the mic toward the audience and giddily bounced around the stage as his lyrics are sung back to him with fervor.
The band are running like a well oiled machine and for anyone who didn’t know any better, they’d assume they have been playing together for decades, only pausing as Walker remarks to the crowd, “This is fuckin’ mental, Manchester” basking in the moment to reflect on his year on year rise, playing to 700 people a mere 6 months ago to playing to more than double that tonight. The sentimentality of playing a hometown show was not lost on the singer, as he dedicates a song, ‘All That Matters’ to his gran who celebrated her 81st birthday that very night, Walker wasn’t satisfied with that though and brought her on stage to orchestrate a mass sing along of ‘Happy Birthday’ to her and present her with flowers. A truly heartwarming moment that helped show the singer’s humility despite his rise to prominence, an endearing quality to have when so much is changing and success continues to raise your profile.
Walker’s set showcased his varied musical style and his infectious joyful energy was spread throughout the room as he played upcoming collaboration track with Rudimental – ‘Walk Alone’ and teased his upcoming debut album release with ‘Angels’ before finishing with his end of the world anthem ‘Rapture’. For the uninitiated this of course was not the end of the set, saving the biggest for last, ‘Leave A Light On’ ended the night with the crowd engaging with every lyric, singing them back toward the stage and up to the heavens, Walker’s elation is evident by a grin as big as the Mancunian way.
Playing on stage seems to come naturally for Walker, his performance reeks of sincerity and his joyful spirit spreads like wildfire, making it impossible not to leave his show smiling. Couple that with his penchant for writing catchy songs with a unique range of vocals and you’re on to a winner. The future is looking bright for Tom Walker and the light is definitely going to be left on for a long time.
Tom Walker’s full debut album ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ will be released March 1st via Relentless Records – pre-order here – www.iamtomwalker.com
Fly Away With Me Heartlands Play Dead My Way Walk Alone Blessings All That Matters How Can You Sleep At Night You And I Angels Rapture
Encore Not Giving In Leave A Light On
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