Tom Butler

Tom Butler is a Seattle born singer songwriter now residing in London, who's Inspired by a varied musical diet that includes Garth Brooks, Laura Marling and Tupac...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 17 Sep 2014
  • min read
Tom Butler is a Seattle born singer songwriter now residing in London.

Inspired by an early musical diet of everything from Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks to Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., he tentatively began writing his own material when he was just 10 years old.

Undaunted by doomed early attempts to master the drums and piano, Tom began playing guitar in his mid teens and soon realised he’d found both his instrument and his voice.

Today, his sound carries a strong folk and indie thread, which is unsurprising given that he cites Mason Jennings, William Fitzsimmons, Mumford & Sons, Iron and Wine and Laura Marling as his biggest influences.

Last week he received the PRS for Music Songwriting Award at the GLA Gigs competition, also winning the chance to perform in the PRS for Music tent at Glastonbury Festival next year.

We spent 30 seconds with him to find out more about his musical skills and inspirations…

I first started writing music because…
I first started writing music for many reasons. I think the first was express feelings in a way I couldn’t do with talking to people. Difficult subjects like sadness, loneliness, shame or even happiness are sometimes hard to discuss in conversation. Songs make the expression of how you feel easy and somewhat covert.

One other reason I started writing music was to make others laugh. I would write parodies to songs on the radio. To give you an idea about the timeline, one popular song was City High's What Would You Do. I turned it into a song about dropping ice cream on the floor.

I have been making music since…
I’ve been making music with my voice since I was three. I’ve been making music with a guitar since I was 14.

My music is…
What keeps me going. It’s how I express myself as well as push myself to work hard and play hard.

You'll like me if you listen to...
The Lumineers, Mason Jennings, Mumford & Sons, Joshua Radin, Death Cab For Cutie, The Tallest Man in the World, William Fitzsimmons, Ben Howard, and Ingrid Michaelson.

My favourite venue is…
My favourite venue right now in London is The Bedford for local music and the o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for bigger shows.

Music is important because…
It connects people to each other in ways that no other medium can. It allows people to be understood, express understanding and provides a safe alternative for communicating your feelings.

My biggest inspiration is…
I’ve got so many. I think my first inspiration about independent music was the band Death Cab For Cutie. Their DVD Drive Well, Sleep Carefully has always been inspiring.

My dream collaboration would be…
My dream collaborations would be with Dan Wilson or Mumford & Sons. I would love to write with so many people, but those two would be amazing. I enjoy the collaboration process and the wonderful songs that come from it.

To try me out, listen to my song…
On the Line or Boats, depending on your mood. On the Line is about freedom from the darkness and bonds that hold each of us down in our own individual ways. Alternatively, if you want a nice soft song, I would listen to Boats.

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…
I’d probably be working on an MBA at some prestigious University. I do, honestly, enjoy business and technology. I currently work in software to make ends meet and fund my music for the time being. My mom is a small business owner and that has been engrained in my blood. I look at my music, band, and overall brand as my own little business. My products include songs, merch, shows, and live music experiences.

In 10 years’ time I want to be...
Just know in advance; we’re aiming high. In 10 years’ time I want to be a husband and father with a little family. I want to have made a successful living out of music. I want to be traveling the world playing music, collaborating with other musicians, and getting involved in worthwhile activities.

Receiving the PRS for Music Songwriting Award at the GLA Gigs competition felt…
Like I momentarily went underwater. I was surprised, grateful, happy, shocked, etc all at the same time. I am beyond grateful for PRS for Music choosing me for this award. It’s given me a boost of confidence with my songwriting, some validation for the hours I put in and lots of opportunities.

Tom’s debut EP On the Line is out now.

http://www.tombutlersings.com
http://www.facebook.com/tombutlersings
http://www.twitter.com/tombutlersings