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Billy Lockett

Put simply “my brain won’t let me do anything else” says Billy Lockett, the multi-faceted Northampton-born artist who has found success with his piano ballad-leaning style in which he has amassed over 50 million streams on Spotify alone.

If that’s not enough he has also written and produced a stunning classical album Together At Home during the lockdown. In the current climate of influencers turned wannabe musicians, there is no better feeling as a fan of music than finding and supporting an artist whose clearly giving everything for his art.

Riding the highs and lows of everything the music industry has to throw at him, 1883 caught up with Billy Lockett to discuss his debut album Abington Grove, what success now means to him and on his new Christmas single that finds him wearing a rather festive dress.

 

First off I should start by congratulating you. You just released a brand new single Guiding Star. It’s a banging Christmas track. Even better music video. How did that idea come about?

I mean, I’ve always wanted to wear a dress [laughs]. In all seriousness, I’m just trying to have as much fun as possible with this. I mean, with all my normal music, I’m very serious and it’s like really sad, depressing ballads, which I love, but with Christmas to me it’s just about having a laugh. What better way to have a laugh than dress my dog up in a Santa outfit, use a green screen and wear a dress.

 

Well you certainly wouldn’t see Mariah Carey doing that…

Yeah! I’m a happy person and I like having fun and I like showing my personality. For a long time I was trying to be very cool and very serious and nowadays I just do whatever I feel like. Yeah. Maybe sometimes that might actually be a problem to some people because it can seem like, oh he doesn’t know what he is or he’s all over the place. But that is a human. That is a human being. Having different moods and having different songs that have different feelings. I think the whole point of me and my music is to just show who I am in every way. Christmas is fun. So I did a fun song.

 

You recently announced that your homecoming gig is officially sold out, which is amazing news. What can people expect from the show? Are you going to bring the dress out?

I don’t think I’m going to wear it! I feel like it’s a promo thing and if I go too far with that joke, it’ll stop being funny. So with the Christmas show it’s just about having fun. It’s going to be a giant sing along with just me and the piano. There’s something special about me, a piano and an audience that feels so simple and real.

 

Reading your story it’s clear you’ve had highs and lows both as an artist in the industry and personally. For some I think it would have broken them and perhaps led them to call it quits. I wonder how has your measure of what success is changed over time?

I think success is definitely in your head. For me success is about feeling satisfied in what I’m making. Going with your gut feeling and doing what you feel is right when it comes to music, but also in terms of like choosing your manager and picking the label and producer and all these things. I think success to me was always that I just want to be able to do this as a job and not have to do anything else but focus on this.

You know being rich and famous, I wouldn’t mind that. Yeah. But really happiness is everything. And that to me is being able to keep doing this. It’s also important to celebrate even the smallest of victories. Even victories that you don’t realise are victories. Like just the fact that you learn how compression works today [laughs]. We all look online and see others doing ‘better’ than us. It’s just a window into, hey look I’m fitter, happier, healthier, in my career. It’s incredibly toxic, but the focus is on yourself and just focus on the music you’re making and who you are. Everything else will fall into place. I think everyone has their time and it’s just about how long can you tread water until the next wave. 

 

What really resonates with me as a music fan and musician myself is that it’s very clear that you do this because this is what you love to do. It’s so great seeing an artist as yourself who is in love with their craft. I mean otherwise why else would you put yourself through such highs and lows. 

The journey is the point. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have platinum records on the wall, but at the same time, I’m so lucky that I can even call this my job. I’m so lucky to be able to even do it. You know, making music is a real privilege and I am very grateful for that. I’m grateful to even have fans that listen. Some people go their whole lives and no one listens. And that must be brutal, but they do it because they really love it. They must love it so much more than I could ever love that . Yeah, you’re right though. It’s who we are, I have no choice. I have to do this because, I mean, there’s nothing. My brain will let me. It’s funny, but it’s it’s true.

 

Your debut album Abington Grove will be released on the 17th February 2023. You said on Instagram that you’ve waited your whole life for this moment and that the record is a reflection on your youth and the passing of your dad when you were just 22 years old. What advice would you give 22 year old Billy?

Don’t worry so much and don’t rush. There is no rush. I’ve thought about this for the first half of my career. It was all about quick, quick, quick. Let’s just get another song out. Let’s try and get as big as we possibly can. And now I realise that I’m going be doing this until I die. I’m literally going to be making music and putting albums out until I die, and I’m only 31 right now, so fingers crossed I’ve got another, at least 40 years of making music! There’s no rush. There’s no like retirement age. I can do this forever and I will do it forever. Now that I’m in album stage, I’m going be rolling albums out. I can’t wait until my ninth and tenth album. So my advice is there’s no rush. Once you realise that there is no rush, you take all the pressure off yourself and then you just start enjoying it.

 

Lastly, What 3 songs would you choose to soundtrack your perfect day? (Morning, midday & evening?)

Morning – Youth by Glass Animals

Midday – At My Worst by Pink Sweats

Evening – Can’t Do With You by Caribou

 

Billy’s new single You’re Not Alone is out now, taken from his forthcoming debut album Abington Grove due for release 17th February via Photo Finish Records.

 

Follow Billy via @billylockett

 

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