Tom: Paolo Nutini- Iron Sky
I was born with a condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome it’s a condition that means only half of the heart is formed before birth. It’s a life limiting condition and so far I have had several operations, I’ve had a heart attack and have spent a lot of time in my early years in hospital. But, at the moment I’m ticking along nicely, very nicely.
Since I was six years old I’ve been getting guitar lessons and general music lessons from two of my Dad’s friends who were in a band called Detroit Social Club. Chris and Dale are the best music teachers ever. Their lessons would be on a Tuesday night and they would get there at 5 o’clock and would play football in the house. Then we would have short lessons. Then, run around like lunatics and Dale would drink Dad’s beer. it was really the funnest environment ever to learn a musical instrument. They would encourage me to write songs as well and even go as far as record them and create music videos. Because I would love the lessons so much it made me want to improve every week to impress them even more.
They even helped me make a single to raise money for Little Hearts Matter.
By the time I was nine years old, Detroit Social Club had split up, but decided to have one more gig at the Cluny in Newcastle to raise money for a poorly little boy called Bradley Lowery. They asked me if I would like to support them. I thought it would be easy but the closer it got to the day of the gig the more nervous I got, petrified even! I still remember wishing that the gig was over and then half way through wishing it would never end.
Since then I have played several more gigs. Last November, I played on stage at the O2 Academy upstairs on stage with the lead singer of Catfish and the Bottlemen singing one of their songs and then supported them downstairs in the Academy in front of 2000 people.
I’ve played at Tynemouth Surf café (which is my favourite venue) four times now, and have played with James Bay backstage at T in the Park. In June, I played at Glastonbury in the fluffy rock café playing an hour long set. The audience went from 50 at the start and ended up at about 250. One magazine put my set as one of the highlights of the smaller stages alongside Billy Bragg and Franz Ferdinand. I have supported Hyde and Beast and Frankie and the Heartstrings at the Cluny, it was an amazing experience. I have also been involved in a charity single in aid of Syrian refugees where I was one of the main vocalists alongside Barry Hyde from the Futureheads (who now gives me lessons!!!! He’s brilliant) covering ‘Help’ by The Beatles. Finally, I was voted as Wearside Child of Achievement by North East press, something I’m really proud of. Thinking about it I’ve had the best year ever.
I do get tired from time to time but nothing’s gonna stop me doing well, nothing at all. My most memorable song is Paolo Nutini ‘Iron Sky’. It’s my favourite song at the moment and the first song that I’ve learned by myself and arranged by myself. I enjoy performing it and I love how passionate the vocals are and how brilliant the lyrics are. He gets better with every new record. I have started writing my own songs lately and can only hope that mine can be as good as his.