It all began when he provided the guest vocals on Chase & Status’ 2016 single When it All Goes Wrong. And in the years since, Tom Grennan has established himself as one of Britain’s biggest breakout stars.
After being selected by Annie Mac in 2018 as BBC Introducing Artist of the Year, his debut album reached number 5 in the charts and now, just three years on, Grennan’s latest album, Evering Road, is at number one. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, the Bedford native actually had no aspirations in music when he was younger and instead trained to become a professional footballer, playing for Luton Town before his career stalled.
After spending the first lockdown at home in Bedford, Grennan moved back to the capital last year, into a flat in Belsize Park, so we caught up with him to chat about lockdown, London and shopping small.
Which part of London do you call home?
Right now, I call North West London home. I was in East London for about five or six years. I was at home in East, but now I’ve left East and gone North West, and to be honest with you, it’s feeling like home! So I’m happy here.
What are your go-to independent business in your neighbourhood?
There’s a place called Pellicci’s. It’s a cafe on the high street in Bethnal Green in my old neighbourhood. It’s an Italian. They’ve been there for years and they’re just the best. If you haven’t been there, you should, because it’s amazing!
Which independent brands will you be buying from this summer?
Pangaia. And anything that is environmentally friendly.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received?
I took my parents to Barbados. That was a really nice moment.
What’s the most London thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve done the Jack the Ripper tour!
How do you treat yourself?
I treat myself with a Deliveroo on a Friday night.
What’re your favourite London hotspots that you’ll be returning to ASAP?
Best kept London secret?
There’s this little wine bar. It’s under a bridge in Waterloo and you go right underneath it. It’s a banging wine place.
What do you love most of the London shopping scene?
There’s so much variation shopping in London. There’s always unique pieces you can find. Whereas, where I’m from in Bedford, you wouldn’t be able to just go out and find a one-off, special piece of clothing. There’s always new little shops appearing - I love pop ups. I find them online and get in quick to pick up something special. There’s so many different places to go.
What lessons will you take from lockdown into normal life?
I’ve really learnt to be patient. To be patient and just let things happen and if you think positively about things, then they will happen. We all need to put good energy into the world.
Tom Grennan’s new album Evering Road is out now via Insanity Records. Tickets for his UK tour, which begins in September, are also on sale.