Interview. Billy Lockett "I would like to be listened to just when the sun is setting"
Collage: Ana Alonso (VAVEL)

Some musicians owe their lives to music. Those who wouldn't be who they are without it. Who wouldn't have their career, obviously, but even more important, who wouldn't be the person they are today. They just wouldn't be music in every sense of the word, in body and soul. 

Billy Lockett is that kind of musician. More than ten years devoting his life to music have turned him into a composer and as a person, it has taught him to be more honest and to nurture music even more. He is aware of how precious music is, that if you pamper a song and work on it with love, the resulting melody will just sound much better. And this is precisely what Lockett wants to show in his upcoming debut album.

We had the chance to speak to him on the phone during this COVID-19 quarantine that is affecting the entire world and he talked about himself and his career, about sharing the stage with artists like Lana del Rey o Birdy, about singing in James Corden's The Late Late Show or in Glastonbury festival. He also shared the insight of how it is like to write his debut album in his childhood home and his future projects, such as his "Self Isolation Tour" and the fact that he is talking to Duncan Laurence, winner of Eurovision 2019, about some possible collaboration.

Question: For those who still don't know you or your music, can you tell us briefly who is Billy Lockett? 

Answer: I’m Billy. I’ve been writing songs since I was about eight-years-old. I play the piano and sing. I live in Northampton, which is a small town near London, and it’s inside the house that I’m making my first album. So, that’s kind of a bit of a background about me (giggles).

Q: What does Billy Locket have that other artists don’t? What is special about your music?

A: I guess I don’t really know what I have to stand up, but, I’m trying to make sure that I’m very honest and real and that my songs mean something. I tried not to touch too much on it, I like to keep the music very much the way it is recorded on the piano. I don’t like having too many extras for the sake of it. So yeah, that’s me. (giggles)

Q: As you explain in your Spotify profile, you started out in music encouraged by your father. You made your debut on Radio 1 and from there, you've been in music for many years. What advice would you give your younger self, the one who started in music? 

A: I think the advice I would have given to my younger self would be not to have worried so much. I tended to worry a lot about trying to write a hit, trying to be famous and rich. I realized that kind of those things aren’t really what makes you happy. You know, the most important things I would have told myself are “This is fun and it’s supposed to be a fun job!” (giggles) And that it shouldn’t be stressful, you shouldn’t panic about it. I think as soon as I stopped panicking - that was when I started to have some success. I think the most important thing I would have told myself is to stop worrying so much. I think sometimes I need to tell myself that, even now ( giggles).  

Q: You released your first EP "Burn It Down" in 2015; and then, last year, the second one called "Reset". You have recently said you are working on your debut album, what can you tell us about it? 

A: The album is really special because I’ve recently learnt how to produce and I’m co-producing it with one of my friends Anthony Goldsbourgh, who’s a great producer. We’re actually recording it at my house. We've turned part of my house into a studio and we’re doing the whole thing here. There’s something really special about it because it’s my dad's old house and it feels nice because he was an artist and I’m making the album surrounded by all of his art. It just really ties in well together. I’ve never recorded an album before, There’s been a lot of times where I could’ve done an album but I think I was always worried that I would do it and be like “agh damn, I wish I’d put that song on it after I’d already released it”. But now I think I’ve got to the point where I’m willing to accept that. It’s almost like letting go of all these songs, putting them on an album feels like saying goodbye to them. But I think I’ve got to the point where I’m ready to say goodbye and start a new chapter in my life with a new set of songs. It almost feels like I’m into the second album before I’ve even finished the first one .


Q: You have toured with Birdy, Lana del Rey and Lewis Capaldi. You've sung at Glastonbury and recently were on James Corden's The Late Late Show in the US. Where does Billy Lockett go from here? Do you have any goals or dreams to fulfill? 

A: I do, Obviously I’d love to have a number one album and play bigger venues but at the same time I’m really happy with where I am. Obviously I wanna get bigger and bigger. My goal was always to have a solid fan base and turn this into a living so I don’t have to have a normal job and focus on this fully, luckily I’ve got to that point now, everything else is kind of a bonus. I feel like I’ve achieved almost everything I’ve always wanted to, everything else is just extras really.

Q: In an interview in Northampton Chronicle you said it took you ten years to find your sound. What is the difference compared to when you started? 

A: Well… We did really actually know (giggles) When I started I was doing it. When I started I had this sound. I spent all this ten years changing it and trying out every other thing possible. I needed to realize the best thing that I have was the best thing I had in the first place. Sometimes you do things, just sorta go around the house and doing all these different things to realize you already have it. I mean… Some artists just know that is their sound from the beginning. And some artists, you know, change the sound and they come back to where they were. I just talk through me, personally. I was a piano and vocal guy, and then I ended up having three different bands, I tried to play the guitar and moving onto synth sort of world and then ended up adding loop pedals situation for a bit. And now I finished with the piano and the vocals, the same scene… Well, that is the scene I probably should have stuck with from the beginning. But, well, I enjoyed the journey (giggles)

Q: I have found that in some concerts you played some Ludovico Einaudis' pieces and you said in an interview he's your music icon. Also, you admitted that you prefer a solo style in your concerts, just you and your piano. Has Ludovico influenced your music? 

A: Yeah! Massively. The way I play is completely almost close to ripping them off sometimes. There’s a huge influence in all my music with his music. I think I just sort of accidentally based the way I play on the way of his songs. And I really like the fact that in my gigs it’s just me and the piano. I think it’s like I have nothing to hide behind. And it’s just real. I like the idea that people come to watch me play a gig… You know, every single thing that they are hearing, it almost feels like they’re in my land or something just listening to me playing songs when I sing live as well and I got that feeling from him. 

Q: A year ago, you participated on a video called "Billy Lockett Talks To Strangers", where you pretended not to be Billy Lockett and asked people on the street for their opinions of your music. How was that experience? 

A: It was luckily good! It could have been a lot worst (giggles) Everybody was nice about it. It was a really fun time in life. It was good and everyone seemed to like the song. So, thank god! (giggles) 

Q: How did that idea happen? 

A: I just came up with the idea I wasn’t really that well known and I don’t think that even in Northampton people knew who I was so…  So I decided to take a chance and it was quite of funny.

Q: Next week, you are going to start the "Self Isolation Tour", five special dates from 30th March until 5th April for your fans. Are you excited about it? You are one of the luckiest who can do a Tour now. 

A: Yeah! I am excited about it! I mean.. It’s pretty much a Tour in my house (giggles) I’m not really going very far (giggles). But yeah, I will be doing live streams. I’ve been doing it for years anyway so… This kind of touring everything online hasn’t been really anything new so… I don’t really feel a change much. To be honest, I haven’t got any tours booked, I have just done a tour so it's quite nice to have something announce and talk about.. I thought I was gonna be quiet for a while so… It’s nice! I’m looking forward for it a lot! 

Q: Can you tell us any surprise you have prepared for them? 

A: Well.. There’s gonna be a lot of surprises, my cat, Barney, is already the star of the show (giggles) What else? I’ll probably be doing some competitions and giveaways. Yeah! It will be fun!

Q: As Eurofan and being the one who writes about Eurovision in VAVEL Spain, which has been recently canceled because of the pandemic... Do you see yourself representing your country or sending some songs for it? 

A: I mean… To be honest I haven’t actually had the thought about doing Eurovision or anything like that. Weirdly, I’ve been talking to the guy who won Eurovision last year. 

Q: Duncan Laurence?

A: Yeah! Duncan Laurence. Yeah! I think we are gonna do something together at some point. Maybe one day when everything goes back to normal. But now, I sort of stay away from doing any kind of things like that. I mean, I’m not against doing it. I just haven’t really gone down that route. I thought about it. Maybe I will one day. Maybe.  

Q: What does the music mean to you? 

A: Everything. It’s my life. It’s my career. It’s the only thing that really makes me happy. I’m very lucky I can keep doing it even though this virus. I’m lucky I always have music. It means everything. There’s really no other way to describe it (giggles) 

Q: There's a study that says that from the age of 33, we stop listening to new music and become more reluctant to discover new music. Do you think the same thing?

A: Well, I don’t know yet, I’m not 33 (giggles) But I mean, I perceived that is probably the case. I don’t really find new music anymore. I don’t know why!. I think I’ve been stuck in working on my own music, and sometimes, when I try to escape, I try not to listen to music cause I do it all day. I can see that is probably a thing for a lot of people. 

Q: I believe there are songs and singers for specific times of the day: some are for the mornings, others for reading or sunset songs, etc. What part of the day would you like to be listened to? 

A: Um… I think probably in the evening. Just cause it is quite relaxing and it’s a wind-down thing. Then again sometimes I guess the evenings would be party music. I think, yeah, I would like to be listened to just when the sun it’s setting.  Not night time. Kind about like when it’s about six/seven pm. With this kind of colour. With the sun becoming purple.