Tom Walker at Serbia’s EXIT festival, after six shows at Glastonbury the previous week (Photo: EXIT festival)Brit British Breakthrough award winner Tom Walker’s star is taking off, but he’s under no illusions about his unique privilege.
Many of Walker’s songs, like smash hits Angels and Leave a Light On, focus on those on the margins of society and getting through hard times.
‘It’s a bit depressing in England at the moment, isn’t it?’ Walker tells Metro.co.uk, on the eve of his first performance in far-flung Serbia for EXIT festival.
‘I just feel like people aren’t being heard and that they feel like they don’t have a say.’
But Walker, who has had friends struggle with addiction, is powerfully optimistic – a quality that has endeared him to fans.
‘You know what? We’re strong in the UK – it’s an amazing place to live and an amazing place to be, whatever happens,
‘Whatever happens, we’ll make the best of it, because that’s what we do as British people.’
Walker’s no stranger to difficult times himself, either.
Five years ago, he was struggling to make ends meet whilst busking on the streets of London.
He says allowing himself space and leaning on his friends and fiance Annie, to whom he recently got engaged, helped him stay tethered.
‘As long as you like get to feel like a normal person every once in a while it’s all good,’ Walker says.
‘It’s just remembering to do that.’
‘My mates are the best mates on the planet, and so is my fiance Annie – she’s an absolute legend’
‘When I met her, I didn’t have any kind of employment, never mind anything to do with music. She’s been with me through this whole crazy six year journey until now.’
The Scottish-born singer hasn’t forgotten the pains of being young, either.
‘When you’re a teenager, and quite young especially, you take everything really seriously and worry about what’s cool and what’s not cool,’ says Walker.
‘I think just concern yourself with you, and make sure you look after you, because that’s the only kind of important person,
‘Once you’ve got a hold of yourself, then you’re going to be a much better person to be around other people.’
It’s this practical, down-to-earth image that has helped launch Walker to stardom – a fact he’s grateful for.
‘You don’t have to be this really crazy high maintenance pop star, who’s all about fashion and the look and makeup and the clothes and the hair to get into the game,’ says Walker.
‘You can just be like this normal person, which is refreshing.’
It’s not just Walker who has benefitted from an authentic appearance.
Walker has often been lumped in fellow Scot singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi, whose tongue-in-cheek dedication to Noel Gallagher at Glastonbury last week went viral.
Last month, they were in Ireland together to support Irish five-piece Walking on Cars.
‘You should have seen the reaction to his gig, it was incredible,’ says Walker.
‘I’m so buzzed for him, because he is one of those really nice, genuinely lovely, funny people who deserves to be where he is.’
And as for the collaboration that so many fans have been clamouring for? Never say never.
‘That would be awesome – maybe one day. He’s such a nice guy.’