Three years after rosing to fame, Malaysian fans finally had the opportunity to see Calum Scott in person when he held his very first showcase in Sheraton Hotel last weekend. The showcase was an intimate performance for only about 100 people and tickets to the event were reportedly sold out in less than 10 hours. In addition, the 30-year-old singer-songwriter also made a special appearance at the Samsung ‘Era of Live’ party, where he performed some of his hit songs.
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You may be familiar with Calum’s single, You Are The Reason which records over one billion streams, but it was his cover of Robyn’s hit Dancing On My Own that promoted him from a human resources employee to a global music sensation. His performance of that song on Britain’s Got Talent in 2015 earned him a standing ovation from the judging panel and the elusive Golden Buzzer that sent him straight to the semi-finals.
Less than a year after finishing as a finalist in the competition, Calum officially released his cover of Dancing On My Own independently and the song reached No. 93 on the Hot 100, surpassing Robyn’s original that missed the chart. The song was included in his debut album Only Human which peaked the UK Albums chart at fourth place.
While adjusting to life as an artist, he opened up about his sexuality with the release of No Matter What, which he described as “a song born from loneliness, acceptance and the heartbreaking but liberating tale of my coming out experience”. Calum subsequently re-released his Only Human album in November 2018 as a special edition, featuring the song and three additional tracks.
You debuted your first album years after joining Britain’s Got Talent. Did it take a long time because you were being cautious with the creation?
Calum: I don’t think it was that strategic. I think it was simply because I had an overnight success with my audition at Britain’s Got Talent. I was working at human resources at that time and was just as normal as everybody else — love to sing but had no idea how to make an album or how to write a record. Being signed to Capitol Records was a monumental moment for me in my career, but it also meant I had to work really hard in order to reach where I am now. I had to learn how to become a songwriter, how to get my feelings down on paper and ultimately to be able to write a record that people are going to listen for the years to come. Writing songs that are related to people and to stay in people’s heart is my mission, so I didn’t want to be stuck to a time frame or be told that it has got to be done by a specific day, although deadlines are important.
Were all the songs in your first album written by you?
C: I can’t take credits for ‘Dancing On My Own’ because I’ll be legally sued, but I did write the majority of the songs because songwriting is incredibly important to me. Being part of the stories and telling it from my perspective is what I think give the songs an edge. I think that coming from a very normal bringing, working a 9-to-5 job, knows what it feels like to get up at six in the morning and travel to work in traffic, sitting at a desk doing your job and spending your hard earned money on things you love round me off as a very ordinary person, so when that comes across in my songwriting, people can really relate.
Did you struggle to find the perfect direction for your music when you wrote your first album?
C: Yes, when I first came to write the album, it was almost too daunting for me to start the project. But I just thought to myself, “You know what? I just need to write great songs.” and so I started to go on a journey of writing songs that didn’t really have any right order or any real thought process. It was more of getting into a studio, sit with my co-writers, pour my heart out, cry most of the time and really just getting things off my chest and using songwriting as a bit of therapy. I wrote a lot of songs for the album and to really give it a sense of shape and real depth and quality, I chose the songs I felt best described me as an individual and artist.