Interview: Saint Raymond

Callum Burrows, better known as Saint Raymond, is only 20 but he already has a top 10 album and a whole raft of top selling singles to his name. The indie artist has been playing in front of crowds since he was 14 and is now out on tour in support of his debut album Young Blood which came out earlier this year. Orna Lyons had natter with him ahead of his Sheffield gig on November 27th at The Plug.

You grew up in Nottingham, not too far from us in Sheffield. What’s the music scene like there?
The music scene is amazing at the minute in Nottingham, and it has been growing and growing over the past couple of years. There are a lot of good venues in Nottingham which is great. I’m actually playing a show called ‘Our City’ in Rock City on December 4th which is to celebrate a groundbreaking year for music in Nottingham so I can’t wait for that.

Have you stuck around in your hometown or have you been drawn by the pull of London?
I’m still living in Nottingham! I love it here and I’ve just got moved in to my own place recently. I go to London quite a bit for writing and work but it’s always great to come back to Notts.

Was music something you always felt you were going to do?
I think so, when I got to secondary school I kind of got bored of education quite quickly and I knew I just wanted to be playing shows and writing music as a career.

Did you ever have a “plan” or “strategy” with your music career or did things just fall into place?
I’d like to say I had a plan but it all kind of started happening very quickly when I was 16/17 and everything kind of fell into place. I was making good contacts in the industry, playing lots of live shows all over Nottingham and from that time onwards it grew and everything became really busy!

How would you sum up 2015 so far?
2015 has been a great year. Releasing my debut album Young Blood for me is so special because I’ve been waiting for this for so long. You always dream of having an album out, and finally it happened. To get it into the top 10 was the icing on the cake!

Your debut album, Young Blood, was released in July. What does that record mean to you?
It’s so bizarre in the sense that it’s kind of like your baby, you’ve been working on it for years and so the feeling of finishing it and kind of handing it over to the world is quite weird. But I’m really proud of it and just happy that the fans like it too.

And you supported Ed Sheeran last year. How was that? Did he have any advice for you?
That was an amazing experience. Getting to play big arena shows night in night out was pretty crazy! Ed was great to chat to and gave a lot of good advice- little things like making sure I went out to meet fans after every show and to make it all count.

What was it like producing with Jacknife Lee? How important is the producer/artist relationship in music?
It was great to get to go and work with him in LA. He’s a man with so much experience, and know how. It’s key that you get on with a producer because you are making the record together- both have so much input. As the artist, when you have been working and living with songs for so long it is essential that you get on well with the producer.

At twenty years old, do you feel like there is an onus to stagger your music and not peak too early?
I think there can be, but for me the sooner I could be out there touring and making records, the better, and it happens to be when I’m 20! Maybe people focus a little bit too much on the whole age thing, music is music at the end of the day and it doesn’t make a huge difference.

What key lessons have you learned so far with your experience?
I think that hard work is the most important thing. It’s very easy to take your foot off the gas but the moment you do that everything could slip away. So I think really keeping at it, and continuing to move forward at all times.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your music?
I’m in to a lot of different music, and have been from a young age. I also watch a lot of live gigs which I think is inspiring. But I’ve always just been in to writing and seeing what comes in to my mind at any given moment- real life situations.

What does the future look like for you?
Hopefully making lots of music. That’s what it’s always been about for me, just making the music.

Finally, Saint Raymond, what’s the most unsaintly thing you’ve done in the last week?
I’ve eaten two pot noodles this week, I need to calm down don’t I?

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