Interview with leading UK songwriter Nick Wilson
Meet the music streaming sensation ahead of his ICMP Songwriters’ Circle performance…
Born from his bedroom studio, the beautiful alt pop of Nick Wilson has taken the world by storm over the last 18 months.
A run of fine singles including ‘Get Up’, ‘All The Same’ and ‘Miles Apart’ have all seen him grow a devoted audience, amassing millions of streams as well as support from the likes of BBC Introducing, The Line of Best Fit and Clash…
Amid all this success, Nick will be visiting ICMP on Monday 29th October to perform our latest Songwriters’ Circle alongside Martin Luke Brown and our students and alumni. Ahead of the gig, we caught up with Nick to find out more about his career so far, musical projects and what the future has in store…
You’re playing at our next Songwriters’ Circle. How did you get involved?
I’ve written a few times with ICMP tutor Jonathan Whiskerd. We’ve been working together for about six months and he’s a great friend of mine now. So I’m super excited for the night. I’ve been wanting to do one for a while. Plus I’m also good friends with Martin, we’ve played together a few times. It should be a great event.
The event is celebrating the songwriters of London. Is the city’s songwriting scene currently in good health?
There are so many great writers out there. I’d never written with anyone else or done a co-write until the beginning of last year but now it’s the main way in which I write. It seems that there’s now more respect for songwriters, maybe because more people are doing it and putting music out. So I think the songwriting culture in London is booming.
For aspiring songwriters, what would you advise them?
Write everything and anything so you can get the good stuff out. I think it was Ed Sheeran who said you need to get through a lot of bad songs to come up with the good ones. So keep doing it even if it feels like it’s not landing right."
You need to stick at it and remember to treat it like a muscle. I feel like my songwriting has come a long way over the last few years - that’s through use and listening to new songs too.
As a writer, how do you find opportunities?
They come in all sorts of ways. I have an incredible manager and lawyer who both input into what I write. Then usually from people who reach out to my team or vice versa, or people I know who I like or I think are doing interesting things. Once you’ve had a session with someone that goes well, then it usually spreads from there. Every session you’re in someone always goes ‘oh you should write with this person, I think you’ll really get on…’ And more often than I not, I do. I also write with people who message me on Instagram or social media. It’s very rare that I’ll have a free day when I’m not writing music.
Do you have a way into your music? And where does inspiration strike?
Inspiration can strike anywhere. I might wake up at 2am and write a good lyric or down on my phone. Or be in a studio with a bunch of different writers. I have a studio at home so a bed room set up and do a lot of writing there. At the same time, I have to have a guitar or something to play on so I can work it out. But I start songs everywhere.
In terms of process, I try and keep it different so I can stay fresh. A conventional way to go about it is chords, melody and lyric but I love seeing how others write; it opens up parts of my mind that I haven’t thought about before."
As a new writer, does streaming influence how you write and your creative process?
The simple answer is no. The moment you start thinking about process or format too much, you kind of squash out a fair bit of creativity. For example, I don't like to think about what will work on a certain playlist. It's not healthy for your creativity. On the flip side you need to acknowledge how people listen. So I might put out a single, then do an acoustic version - that’s something to do for Spotify for their playlists. But that’s never at the forefront of my mind.
What’s happening project-wise?
There’s a lot of writing, getting the songs down. Next year I’m hoping to put out more of a substantial body of work than just a single. The songs are ready to go, I'm just trying to figure out how to do it. I’ll also be looking for gigs so a lot of figuring out what to do with the things I have. There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes...
Visit Nick's Facebook page to find out more and listen to his latest single 'Get Up'.
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