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Louis Berry interview: I do it for the people

Louis Berry speaks ahead of his upcoming headline tour about his unconventional route into music and the driving force behind what makes him as a musician.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 7th Apr 2016

Image: Louis Berry

The latest in a long line of acoustic guitar wielding British male singers is Liverpudlian Louis Berry whose rise to fame is a somewhat remarkable tale.

Last year, his debut release .45 made the nation’s ears perk up with interest and without further ado it became Radio One’s Hottest Record In The World. 

Since then a string of releases have teased the album that Berry has been honing early this year and its release will doubtless be eagerly anticipated. Recorded in Nashville, it’s a far cry from the troubled Kirby streets Berry grew up on.

His upbringing has been widely documented, not only online, but also in the singers authentic lyrics and this only makes his rise to fame that bit more special.

A no holds barred playing style and his smouldering voice has already began to win over a hoard of supporters - culminating in the singer announcing a headline tour that commences in May.

Currently on the road with Sunset Sons, Louis took time out of his busy schedule to chat to Henry Lewis about staying true to himself and the dark times that have shaped him as a person and driven him as a musician. 

Hey Louis, how’s it going man?

I’m alright yeah sound man little bit chilly where I am so I’m just gonna get in this van a sec.

Where are you today then?

I’m in Exeter today mate; it’s bleak at the moment lad. It’s cloudy and cold but I haven’t seen much of it, we play fifa in the van like so on the way down we don’t get many looks out of the window, we’re just concentrating on putting the ball in.

Fifa in the van? How have you got that set up?

We’ve got a big telly; we’ve got three tellys as a matter of fact and a fuckin’ playstation four.

Nice. You’ve been supporting Sunset Sons, how’s that been?

I’ve been on tour with them yeah. I did the album over in America at the beginning of February and stayed through to March, got home for the day then I was off out on tour, don’t even know where I am at the minute.

How’s your music going down with fans of another band?

I’ve definitely seen reactions from their fans as well as my own, there’s people in the front row singing all the words to my songs. It’s good for them to turn up to watch me and also got the benefit of watching a band like Sunset Sons.

I like them yeah, they’re a good band and obviously yeah winning over some of their fans  and seeing that kind of reaction is really good mate.

And you’ve got your own tour coming up in May, how much are you looking forward to it?

It’ll only be the second one I’ve done, like my own tour. I’m really excited for it, last time I did it was amazing, we were selling out all the venues and I hadn’t even put a proper single out.

Everything that’s been put out has just been .45 and bedroom demos that I’ve done you know.

We wanted to put them songs out as an E.P really but we couldn't cos iTunes won’t let you put less than 4 songs up an as E.P. We had to call the first tunes singles but they weren’t really to be honest mate, but what’s coming next will be singles though. 

How were the recording sessions for the album?

Brilliant mate, really good. The producer, Jacquire King his name is, is an excellent producer you know, just a really good man as well and so were the engineers and the musicians.

I wasn’t working with my band over there I was working with American musicians, fantastic mate, really was. 

Did the musicians over there influence you in any way?

I wouldn’t say they influenced me cos I went over there with the mindset of ‘keep this real’ you know, keep this where I’m from.

I’m not American, this is just a lifestyle that I’m in at the moment but this isn’t where I’m from I’ve come as an artist and as a person so I stayed true to what I do over there.

The calibre of the musicians there is really high though and they had some really good input and ideas and I definitely took some things on board from them yeah.

And is there a date set for the album release?

I haven’t got a date set yet mate but a few singles over the summer, and I’m guessing it’ll probably be at the end of the year. 

And maybe a winter tour to go with it?

Yeah definitely. A UK tour, Ireland , I’d like to get over to Europe as well that’s been getting discussed, Australia’s been getting discussed. At the moment it’s quiet but we’re just aligning all the chess pieces before we make that move forward.

What’s your relationship with your band like?

I’ve known them for a while. I actually changed the bass player for personal reasons outside the music so I had to get another bass player in and then eventually I brought my own man back in. They’re all really good lads all from around Liverpool which is great. 

Do you feel you’re a part of the music scene in Liverpool, which is producing some brilliant artists at the moment?

No definitely not. I mean there is good music coming out of Liverpool I don’t dispute that but I don’t really listen to too much of it so I can’t name any.

I’ve never been part of Liverpool’s music scene; I’ve never been part of any music scene. I’ve come through music through a completely different route mate; I never played around the bars or the clubs or anything like that.

I done my first gig and signed a publishing deal and my second gig I signed a record deal. My sixth ever gig I was on like a main stage at Kendal Calling festival like so it was quite a fast process for me.

Now the hard work that I haven’t done beforehand to get them deals I have to go round and do it and that’s why it feels like it’s taking a bit of time for me to because I have to play the smaller venues and get the crowds. 

How on earth did you manage to rise so quickly?

I think I’m a lucky person; I’m blessed in that way. Don’t get me wrong I have had to work hard to get to them points, it wasn’t easy.

I suppose other people would say it was an easy process for me but I think it’s about making the right choices and approaching the right people and choosing to work with them.

Is the album a continuation of the music we’ve already heard from you?

It’s still me but it’s stepped up a level and people will not expect what’s coming. The sounds and almost different genres on this album are next level stuff as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t feel like anyone out there is doing this kind of music but at the same time I definitely see it striking a chord in the modern market.

I’ve got a really good team around me and plans are going up now for over the next couple of months and the next year so there’s some exciting things that obviously can’t be announced yet but  it’s coming on, it’s good.

What music influenced you growing up; I believe you’re a big Tupac fan?

I listened to a lot of rap music growing up. Yeah, I’m a big 2pac fan, anyone who says anything truthful, anyone who speaks the truth.

I think at the moment, if I’m honest with you, musically we’re in a new age now and I wanna be at the forefront of that with the other artists coming through.

We’ve listened to songs in the charts or in the top ten that are written by six different writers; how can that mean anything to anyone? It’s just like throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks, but music changes through time as we all know and we can look back and see where those changes happened.

We’re now at a new age, things are gonna' change. People are looking for something, especially what’s going on in the towns socially and politically.

We need some real lyrics and we need music that matches our emotions and our struggles at the time, lately I don’t feel like it does but there is definitely a new age of music about.

What kind of emotions do you try and portray in your lyrics then?

Every day struggles. I grew up in a house where my father was a heroin addict and me Mam was unable to feed me and look after me and give me an upbringing.

I had no brothers and sisters so I felt alone, there was nothing, there was no way out. I was coming up on my own, bringing myself up trying to understand the world through my teenage years and trying to become a man.

Where was the inspiration to become a man let alone a musician?

I come from a dark place but I don’t think that’s in music lately. There’s other people going through that struggle or even worse so for me my music is about representing them people and representing that struggle.

What I want when someone listens to my song is for it to change their life. It might change their mood for a day it might inspire them to say you know what I’m not giving up, I’m not settling for this and I’m gonna move forward and that one day listening to that one song can change your personality.

I’ve achieved big but I don’t do it for the music, I do it for the people.   

UK tour dates below:

Liverpool - 02 Academy 2, Thursday 12th May 

Stoke-On-Trent - The Sugarmill, Friday 13th May 

Southampton - The Joiners, Tuesday 17th May 

Sheffield - The Leadmill, Thursday 19th May

London - Camden Barfly, Saturday 21st May 

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