Interview / Saint Raymond

Nottingham-born singer-songwriter Saint Raymond is set to make waves when his debut album is released in June this year. I spoke to him ahead of his upcoming UK tour next month, discussing the perks of performing live and his friendship with Ed Sheeran.

You spent the majority of last year touring with Ed Sheeran. What was that like?
That was amazing. I think it’s an experience that kind of comes around once in a lifetime. That experience of being on the road is something that I’ll remember for a long time and I learnt a lot from it as well which is exciting.

Was it quite different performing to much bigger crowds?

Yeah, I think it’s really weird because you get into that mind set of being scared because it’s so big but when you step on stage and you know, you can’t really see people close, in one way it’s less scary. I used to go out to the queue outside and do a couple of songs acoustically and for me that’s more nerve-wracking than playing to all those people because they’re just there and you can see if they’re not enjoying it, so it was a different experience for sure.

What’s your favourite thing about performing live?

Something that never gets boring is people singing songs back. You never expect it to happen. You see it on telly, watching Glastonbury, like “I’d love that one day”. And when it happens, it keeps you going. A lot of people say “don’t you get bored singing the same stuff for nine weeks on tour?” but you don’t. That thrill of the crowd enjoying it is something that makes it feel like you’ve played it for the first time every night.

Are you excited to do your own tour next month?

Yeah, it’s an exciting one. Obviously touring with Ed Sheeran is incredible but you go to playing those crowds from a festival vibe — it’s exciting that people are there, knowing that people have bought tickets to see me and it still plays on my mind a little bit but I’m excited.

Are you excited to play Birmingham?

Yeah, I’ve had quite good gigs in Birmingham, it’s always good fun. I’m excited, I think it’s cool and a nice progression as well. I played there in September 2013 and there were only a handful of people there so it’s exciting to see it grow nicely.

How does it feel knowing that in a few months’ time you’ll have released your debut album?

It still freaks me out a little bit. As an artist, that’s the dream, to get that album out there. Obviously I’ve been writing and touring for a few years now so to be at that stage, yeah, it freaks me out.

How have you found the album-writing process?

I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve spent a few years doing it and to be fair, until it’s released, I’ll still be writing. That’s one thing Ed told me: don’t stop writing because you might get your best song a week before the album. I’m just well excited. Ed was telling me the same thing with ‘Thinking Out Loud’, which became one of the biggest tracks of the album, he wrote that not too faraway from the album coming out — you just never stop basically.

Was there any kind of pressure for you when writing the album due to the success of your previous EPs? Such as Zane Lowe making your song Hottest Record of the Week?

Yeah, I think in one respect the praise was amazing and it really keeps you going. But for me personally, the way I’ve always looked on praise is that it’s brilliant, but if you focus on that too much you take your eye off the ball. For me I’ve always been focused on the music, focused on what’s important and when you get this praise it just keeps you going and encourages you to crack on.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write a song?

I’m really weird – I just write whenever really. I might have an idea for something first thing in the morning but then I’ve got my own studio set up at home so sometimes I’ll go there at 11 at night and I’m there until 4 in the morning. I just go with the flow really.

What do you think your favourite song is of the ones you’ve released so far?

That’s a tricky question. A personal favourite of mine is probably my most personal song ‘As We Are Now’ [taken from the Young Blood EP].

You’ve been dubbed as one of 2015’s most up and coming artists but is there anyone else that we should look out for, anyone you’d pioneer for this year?

I’m in to quite a few people at the minute. I’m a big fan of a Scottish band called Model Aeroplanes — they’re really cool. I’m a really big fan of Prides, Fickle Friends… there are quite a few cool little bands coming up that I’m excited about.

One final thing… are you any good at a Birmingham accent?

This is the thing that annoys me, I’m actually alright at accents but the Birmingham one… I suck. [attempts to say ‘Burminghum’] That’s all I’ve got. I want to master it.

I’m sure when you come next month you’ll be able to pick it up.

Yeah, hopefully, that’s a plan.

It was lovely talking to you. I’ll see you next month on tour!

Super, I’ll see you there!

Saint Raymond is kicking off his UK tour at Glasgow’s ABC on 8th February. Get tickets hereHis debut album is due for release on 5th July 2015, pre-order here.

Words by Kirstie Sutherland

[Originally written for Redbrick Music]

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