Introducing: Billy Cullum
For those of us who aren’t familiar with your musical background or scrumptious vocals, fill us in quickly with some info about your musical past and what you’re working on at the moment.
I started writing music at the age of 16. It was Vanessa Carlton’s song ‘A Thousand Miles’ that made me learn basic piano to actually start putting pen to paper. I grew up as a 90’s kid so pure pop music was such a big part of my childhood from the Spice Girls to Britney Spears. There’s always been an element of story in what I do and I guess that comes from my theatrical background. I trained in Musical Theatre and have had a career in the West End as an actor so that definitely influences what I do in some way I think. I was finishing off writing my album when I was in the UK Tour of RENT which came at such a good time. Fans of the show have now become fans of my music which is incredible. I’m literally putting the finishing touches to 2 more tracks from the album and then it will be ready for release hopefully in September.
Amongst Raye, Katy Perry’s Witness and Dua Lipa’s sensational debut, I’ve had you on repeat. Who influences you musically and what are you currently loving?
I am obsessed with Dua Lipa too! I’ve had the ‘New Rules’ video on repeat. Female pop artists really resonate with me for some reason. Lorde is the beacon of song writing. She is otherworldly in how she can mix almost poetry and pop to create something so electrifying. MØ is such an interesting pop artist. She fuses genres so easily and has created such a distinguished sound which is very inspiring. Years & Years and Troye Sivan are artists I really look up to. They are both Male artists who are fearless and grab the pop genre by horns. They make such strong impressions both musically and visually.
The other day I was given a ticket to see a new artist called Jessie Reyez. I listened to her EP KIDDO before going to the gig and I was hooked immediately. Seeing her live was the next level! I’ve been to a lot of gigs and this was one of the best nights. The audience were literally silenced after some numbers. There was an electricity in the room and I truly felt I was witnessing a future global star.
"It’s full of sexual desire and that initial need and want we have for someone."
‘Lost In You’ has such a great beat, beautiful vocal texture and sexy as hell bridge. With lyrics “It's dangerous how I am feeling 'bout you, I could get lost in you”, it takes me back to a time where I so desperately wanted someone I couldn’t have. Tell me more about the thinking behind the lyrics for this track.
It’s full of sexual desire and that initial need and want we have for someone. At the time when I was writing this, the relationship I was in was spiralling downwards and someone came into my life that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I barely knew the person but my mind was going crazy. The lyric “but your name keeps coming up and I don’t wanna stray” is when I was receiving a like on Instagram or a message on Whatsapp from this particular person and my heart would skip a beat. You start living in a little bubble when you feel about someone that way. It can be unhealthy but it’s fucking exciting.
You’ve said before “Sometimes I can’t move on from moments in my life without writing a song about it.” Do you see the process of making music and putting it ‘out there’ as something quite therapeutic?
It is unbelievably therapeutic. What’s even more rewarding is when you get messages from people relating to the songs and sharing the same feels. When I go through stuff it takes me a few days to get over the initial overwhelming emotions and then I take myself to my little room and just write. Sometimes it’s just me wailing over chords or I have specific words, sentences or stories I have to outlet. Each song I write is a result of a personal experience. The album is takes you on a real ride from sorrow to desire but tinged with all things pop.
"It’s a mad idea to think I’ll be releasing a whole album independently."
If your short Instagram clips are anything to go by, we’re set to receive some pretty catchy pop delights from you in the near future. What can we expect from you next?
I’m so excited to share more music with everyone. I’m releasing my next single very shortly which is called ‘Hands are Gonna Fall.’ It’s probably one of my favourite tracks off the album. It’s got a mellow vibe to it but it’s sexy as hell. I’m going to be filming a little music video soon which will definitely feature some dancing haha. Then I’ll be releasing my debut album ‘Lonely Hearts Club.’ It’s a mad idea to think I’ll be releasing a whole album independently. I’m so proud of it. It truly has a real mix of songs and I simply cannot wait to perform them live. There will be live show towards the end of the year…and it will be a show for sure.