How many pop stars can claim Doctor Who as a member of their family? Step forward UK chart-topping singer/songwriter Lewis Capaldi. The 22-year-old Glaswegian is distantly related to multiple award-winning actor, writer and director Peter Capaldi who played the Doctor from 2013 to 2017.
“We’d never met until just over a year ago,” Lewis remarked. “I think Peter is my dad’s second cousin. Whenever we’d see him on TV, my dad and my aunties would say to me, ‘You’re related to Doctor Who’ or ‘You’re related to Malcolm Tucker,’ the character Peter played on The Thick of It.
“None of us had ever met Peter, not my dad or my aunties. But I still found it a big inspiration to have someone who’s so successful as part of my family. I felt like if Peter could make it big in his area of the entertainment business then maybe I could make it in mine.”
It was actually Peter who wanted to meet the Capaldi family’s rising star.
“My agent told me he’d been in touch asking about coming to a show I performed in London last February. Peter came backstage afterwards to say hello and we had a great chat. We talked a bit about the family connection and he said he really liked my music, so that was very nice of him. He was a really cool guy.”
This was just the beginning of their relationship. Check out the incredibly moving video for Lewis’ smash hit song, Someone You Loved. Lewis does not appear. It is Peter who portrays the starring role as a bereaved husband whose beloved wife’s transplanted heart saved the life of a young wife and mother.
“We feel so strongly about the importance of organ donation. It was my mother who really made me aware of the issue. She is a nurse and knew all about the British organ donation charity, Live Life Give Life. We partnered with them to create the Someone You Loved video. I also drew inspiration from one of my fans, Jim Lynskey, who is on the heart donor list.”
Although Lewis learned to play guitar at the age of nine and began performing three years later, it is less than two years since the release of his debut single, Bruises. The song reached number 62 on the UK chart and it seemed that Lewis might achieve immediate stardom.
But this was delayed by around 16 months. Two more singles, Lost On You and Fade, were released from his debut EP, Bloom. Neither made any impression on the charts. It was the same story for a stand-alone single, Rush, and then Tough, the first track taken from his second EP, Breach.
“The singles all did okay in my Scottish homeland but didn’t make the British charts. Even so, people who saw me playing gigs certainly seemed to enjoy the songs so I felt like I was still moving in the right musical direction.”
His breakthrough came towards the end of last year. Grace, the second single taken from Breach, peaked at number 24.
“A good many people were paying to see my gigs. That basically vindicated what I was doing. But it was really nice to get the extra confirmation of having a hit single.”
If Lewis ever felt the need for proof of his musical appeal, he certainly has it with the response to Someone You Loved. Not only has it topped the charts in Britain and Ireland but the song has also become his first international hit finding solid chart positions in numerous countries. So, why wasn’t Someone You Loved chosen as the first single released from his second EP?
“I’ve discovered it’s not always the songs which I think will be most popular which turn out to be the hits. Bruises was released with no great expectation. It was just something for people to hear what I sounded like. The next thing I knew, it had 25 million streams on Spotify.
“I absolutely love Someone You Loved but I thought the first two singles from Breach would be more popular. I’m very happy to be wrong and it’s absolutely mental to get all the success I’m having with the song.”
Although the final track listing has still to be set, it seems certain that all of Lewis’ previously released singles will feature on his debut album. With the remarkable title of Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, the album is scheduled for release on May 17 and will be promoted on a world tour.
“I’m absolutely buzzing about the album. I never really thought I’d reach a point where I’d be able to release a proper album. I also thought I’d never give my album a name as stupid as I have but there we are.
“It’s funny really, you hear artistes say how amazing they found the process of recording their first album. I’m totally different. I found it extremely stressful but also extremely boring. “I love building up my songs but really disliked things like recording the same guitar parts over and over again to make them perfect and then spending weeks mixing the songs. I think I’m going to enjoy performing my album a lot more than making it.”
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