5th October 2023
Interview: Lizzie Jones
Just as he returns from Seoul, South Korea, having performed his biggest show to date, Reading's singer-songwriter Etham heads on a busking tour in support of one of the UK's leading mental health charities YoungMinds. Commencing on October 5th in Glasgow, Etham will take his musicality to six cities nationwide, finishing off in Brighton.
This year, Etham shared an incredible line of singles that will all culminate with a new EP 'Patterns,' due to be released on November 24th. In our chat, Etham states he is excited to bring more identity to his new music, with more sound and production compared to his previous stripped-back acoustic material.
Raising funds for YoungMinds, Etham hopes to encourage people to talk, ask for help, and acknowledge their struggles, as he's been in a dark place before and knows how lonely it can get. Read our full interview below.
Thanks for talking to ReVamp. Let’s start off with the obvious, was music something you always wanted to pursue?
Music has always been a dream of mine since I was about 9 when I started playing the guitar. Music has always captivated me and I knew I always wanted to at least try and see if people would take me seriously or not and luckily eventually they did!
How did you begin your journey?
I started playing the guitar when I was 9 and when I was 13 that’s when I started to sing to the songs I learned and from there my friends and family gave me confidence to just get better and better and then when I was 14 I was lucky enough to find management that really believed in me and they helped develop my writing and performing.
With all the different social media channels, there is a huge wave of new talent every day, were you ever intimidated when starting out?
I actually had less fear when I started and probably have more fear now because the world seemed a lot smaller when I was younger but now with all these social platforms you realise that it’s just getting harder and harder but I have been lucky to get where I am now and that gives me a lot of confidence to just keep going and give it everything I’ve got.
What would you say is the dream you’re chasing?
Just to be able to write and release music and always be working on a project in music. I’ve been doing it for a long time now and I just can’t imagine it being any different so I guess my dream is just to be able to keep doing what I’m doing and eventually go on to bigger and better things.
Who is your biggest songwriting inspiration?
I have a lot and literally every songwriter/artist that’s out there in the world is my inspiration because to express yourself through music is such big thing to me so anyone who dares to take that chance inspires me so much. But from a young age Ryan Tedder has always been a very consistent inspiration to me.
This year, you’ve embarked on an extensive release campaign (I Won’t, Guilty, Waiting For You, Know Me Yet). What are some new layers you’re peeling off on these singles?
I think these new songs just offer a different and a more evolved sound to what I’ve done before. A lot of my previous releases have been acoustic and stripped and going forward I want to add more of an identity to my sound with adding more sounds/production and just something that offers more than just an acoustic guitar.
You’re going on a busking tour in support of the mental health charity YoungMinds, can you elaborate on the intention behind this collaboration?
I’m so excited to work with YoungMinds because I had a bit of a rough time growing up and I can really relate to those that have been through a similar or worse thing and I think role models and the older generation acknowledging that young people have just as a hard time as older people is really important in shaping the younger generation and making them feel heard and guiding them to better mental health when they feel like there isn’t an escape.
Throughout these tour dates, you will also be raising funds for the charity. What piece of advice or message would you like to leave with the younger generation going through personal hardships?
I think for someone like me that has struggled a lot when I was younger all I can say is that it does get better. It 100% gets better and I was lucky to have great friends and people around me to help and I think that’s why charity’s like YoungMinds are really important.
What helped you get through some of the darkest/loneliest times?
Music has been such an important thing for me that’s helped in the hardest of times. It’s been an outlet for so many emotions and writing/performing has always been a coping mechanism for me when I want to get things off my chest. And also just trying to surround yourself around the best people and genuine people that will be there for you.
You just played a show in Seoul, South Korea. How did this come about? How was it?
It was so amazing. I feel so lucky that one of my songs just connected with people in South Korea and I got to play my biggest show all the way in Seoul, it was just insane.
In November you will release your new EP ‘Patterns,’ what is the overall messaging of this project?
It’s just a combination of things that I’ve been through, sad and happy and I wanted to capture what’s been going on in my life the last couple years. It has a message of hope, happiness and hurt. I was aiming that every song has something that someone can relate and connect to because of the realness of the concepts.