Unfortunately, since moving 100 miles south of my hometown, I have found most people live unaware of the vast array of talent produced by the city of Nottingham. Esteemed menswear designer Paul Smith, Gavin and Stacey‘s Mat Horne and figure skating duo Torvill and Dean are to name but a few, and it seems a familiar face is on course to join these prestigious ranks. Callum Burrows, also known as Saint Raymond, has been a singer-songwriter for the past few years however his latest success has been nothing short of mercurial. I caught up with him recently to discuss the importance of live music in the modern age.
“I’ve fallen in love with artists live more than anything and so I’ve always wanted to make sure the show is good.” His words are certainly refreshing in an industry that seems to become more dominated by the Internet and social media every day. “It’s a big thing for me”, he says, “you can only expect to get better live if you play live so I’ve been doing a lot of shows recently.” There are many more in the pipeline, too: he is soon to embark on a nationwide tour until the end of March, in addition to a headline show at Scala in May.
It certainly seems that Saint Raymond is increasingly asserting his own position in the landscape of British singer-songwriters, escaping the questionable journalistic comparisons to Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran and, most unusually, fellow Trent-side talent Jake Bugg, with similarities between the two artists being little more than geographical and numerical. Nevertheless, Burrows’ attention remains on his music: “I think people can get too caught up in what they are and what they become stylistically as opposed to having a good live show.”
Yet, Saint Raymond remains equally strong as a recording artist. His Young Blood EP, the follow-up to last year’s Escapade, truly exhibits his talent as both performer and songwriter. The upbeat title track, which will surely be reverberating around this summer’s festivals, is balanced with the delicate and soulful harmonies of ‘As We Are Now’, my personal highlight from the release.
Burrows supported Los Angeles trio Haim on their UK and Europe tour last year and again when they played his hometown recently. “I don’t know what it is or why, it just seems to me that when I play in Nottingham there’s a feeling.” Despite the thrill of performing on home soil, he recognises the importance of London in developing artist’s careers: “It’s a pivotal part of the music scene so I think it’s really important to be there in some format and at some point.”
In 1928, Nottingham-born author D. H. Lawrence wrote that ‘ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little’. Oddly, his words still ring true, particularly in relation to the internet-induced saturation of music in contemporary life. Here is an antidote: for those of you who can still appreciate honest songwriting and great live music, Saint Raymond will not disappoint.
Follow Saint Raymond on Twitter, buy tickets to his upcoming tour and get his latest EP on iTunes here.