Beattie is a 25-year-old singer / songwriter / musician from Edinburgh who has been wowing locals with his incredible talents for the last 10 years. He’s a Radio Forth One To Watch winner, played to capacity crowds at venues such as the 3000 seat Edinburgh Playhouse and Usher Hall and has shared a stage and supported stars such as James Blunt, Sandi Thom, The Wanted and more. His strong Scottish accent comes through in all his songs which gives such a fantastic unique sound.
We conducted this interview in the hour between two gigs Beattie was playing that night. He has such a natural ability when it comes to singing and is so impressive live, I can tell you he went down a storm with the crowds at both gigs!
Here we get personal with him and ask some probing questions:
What are some positives and negatives to being a solo artist as opposed to being in a band?
Positives to being a solo artist are you get things done quicker by yourself as you don’t have to rely on others, you have control over the writing and you don’t have to share any money made.
Negatives to being a solo artist are you get lonely at times, there are no others to offer input or influences so you have to hope you are good enough to do everything yourself, another negative is you have to pay for everything yourself.
I have actually been in a band before, it was called Havana Fare and was a school band so I would have been about 15 or 16. We weren’t the best but you have to start somewhere 🙂
Can you tell me the process involved in writing a new song ie lyrics or music first?
I’d start by listening to some songs I want it to sound like, stylistically, then I’d play around on the piano and guitar to get the melody and write the lyrics afterwards.
Is that the way you always do it?
I’ve always done it like that, others may do it differently or the other way around but for me this way works
What one song do you wish you had written and why?
Ooh….any song?………Travis, Why Does It Always Rain On Me because it’s just a great song, the melodies are perfect, instrumentation and lyrics are great which is the recipe for a good song. I could say Imagine by John Lennon but that’s probably been said before so….i’m being different.
If you could only sing or play guitar, which would you choose to give up?
I’d have to say I’d give up the guitar, I love to sing and you can sing anywhere but you can’t pull out a guitar in the shower, well you can, but I’d advise you not to! lol
What is the best and worst thing about your job?
Best – When you are on stage playing to a large crowd and they are singing your song back to you, a song that’s maybe started out being written in the bedroom and made it to the stage, its pretty great!
Worst – Well I’m quite impatient and if things are not happening quickly enough or going my way I can get quite negative and throw a huff haha
When you’ve made it big do you think you will branch out into other aspects of the industry such as running your own label and nurturing up and coming talent?
Well, it depends what making it big means, because I feel like I’ve made it big already….lol…. in Edinburgh….lol….nah I’m only joking….I’d definitely like to help other artist that are in the same boat as me at the moment, its something I’ve always thought I’d do.
When I’ve given my CD’s to big artists and am waiting on a phone call, its rubbish waiting and thinking ‘this is my chance they are going to love this’ and then you get no call, so if a CD gets passed to me and its good enough, I have no doubt I would help them.
How would you help if you were so busy with your own stuff?
If I was too busy then I would make sure I passed it to someone who could help. I’d look for Scottish artists first, cause you take care of your own 🙂
How do you know what chords to play in a song you’ve never sang before when it’s requested?
I suppose it’s having a good ear, obviously you must have heard the song before but I’d think about the song, hum a few of the notes out loud and play the corresponding chord on the guitar.
If it was a song like Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer, I know there is no way I would be able to sing some of those notes so I would bring it down a key to suit me.
Other than that I don’t know how I do it, it’s a gift lol
If you could open for any singer / band, who would it be and why?
It would have to be one of the biggest crowds in the world so if by some miracle John Lennon came back to life and The Beatles played a gig, that would probably be the biggest gig for years and there would be 100’s of 1000’s of people there so I would definitely put myself on the bill for that! I want to play to a massive audience so yes it’s the crowd I want rather than fame. The fame would probably annoy me a little bit and I would hate getting mobbed, it’s too much.
How are you going to cope when you do get famous then?
I wouldn’t mind people coming up to say ‘hey Callum’ or something like that….but if it does happen I’d deal with it, or maybe write about it lol I don’t mind fans, nice fans…
What one event would make you think ‘wow I’ve made it?
If I won a Brit Award I’d be happy with that and I’d feel like I’d achieved something.
You recently relocated to London with your girlfriend Jade, how did that come about and how is it going so far?
I decided that because there’s no record labels in Scotland, I thought if I wanted to go for it then I needed to go to London as that’s where it’s all happening and its going really well so far….lol… positive energy.
I’ve also been looking for new people to write with and record music with, that have done great things before. To get these people you have to sit for hours on end each day e-mailing them and if they don’t get back to you then you send another e-mail and post demo’s to them and eventually one will bite and through that one person you might get someone else.
What song’s does your demo disc have on it?
My demo disc has current single We Are Stars on it as well as two new songs that no one has heard yet and they will most likely be out towards the end of the year. With the new songs I will maybe play them a few times at pub gigs to see if people clap and if no one claps then there is something wrong with it and I will to go back and have another listen to it lol
Would you stay in London after getting a record deal?
I’d have to yeah, I love London so I’d be fine with that……. Scotland’s always going be better though haha
Which one of your gigs has been your favourite and what made it so special?
My favourite gig was at the start of the year when I did a support slot for James Blunt and afterwards went back to his dressing room and partied with him and his band etc and it was one hell of a night! 🙂
I’d like to say as well btw that James Blunt is a cool kid, a lot of people think, yeah he wrote Beautiful, a bit cheesy, nah, he’s a good songwriter and he know’s how to party!! haha
What do you do for fun when not writing, practicing or playing gigs?
Take drugs lol No I’m joking I don’t do that! 🙂
When I’m not playing…emm…that’s a good question that….a life without music! I probably just go for a nice dinner with the Mrs (Jade) or I just like to go watch bands, that’s my thing. And drinking…pint of Tenants.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
A wise old woman told me once that time heals everything, if you’re feeling totally crap about something, in time you will be able to look at that problem from a different perspective and it won’t seem like the end of the world.
What would your friends and family say is your best quality / biggest flaw?
Best quality – Friendly, I think they would say friendly and approachable.
Biggest Flaw – I’m told I can be selfish…but sometimes I just want to go for a pint, If I can do that then I’m happy and I can deal with any situations after 🙂
If money was no object what one extravagant thing would you buy for yourself?
I love animals so would buy a huge house with acres of land. I wouldn’t like to keep the animals captive but would definitely rescue ones that were and give them a cracking life where they will be safe and happy and well fed. Favourite animal…monkeys, I absolutely love monkeys!
What is your most prized possession in the world?
Can it be people? If so then family and friends, without them you have nothing.
Is your guitar a prized possession?
Nah I’ve had it about a year, looks like I’ve had it for 50 though, cost a lot of money and I’m still paying it up! Actually, talking of making it before, I’ll know I’ve made it when I can walk into a shop and get a Martin guitar for free! lol
Have you thought about getting Martin to sponsor you?
I’d like to try but I think there are signed artists out there who would stand more of a chance of getting sponsorship that me, but Martin, if you’re interested, sort it out!! lol ….or Gibson… 🙂
Describe yourself in 5 words
Alcoholic..lol …nah I’ll take that one away as I’m not there yet! 😉
What is your pet hate?
Rudeness, I cannot stand people being rude, I hate it and it gets me angry right away!! If someone is rude to me for no reason or rude people behind a bar…its making me angry now just thinking about it…I just hate people who are rude!!
Describe your perfect date with Jade?
Paris, we went there a couple of years ago and it was lovely 🙂 We went to the Eiffel tower and I only made it up to the second tier of it , crapped myself after it started getting a bit windy and thought nah can’t do it! … but yes, Paris, really like the place.
What’s the hardest thing about being apart from Jade just now?
Going to bed on my own… so I take the dogs to bed……that sounded a bit weird lol – I like to be touching someone, up against them you know, so yeah I hate sleeping alone.
What has been the best / happiest day of your life so far?
Happiest day of my life…..hmm…….no one’s ever asked me that before………I don’t know, I’ve had loads of great days but none I would say were totally amazing.
I can tell you what the happiest day of my life will be….when Scotland win the world cup!! lol
but no I don’t think the happiest day of my life has happened yet….
Do you have a message for all your fans?
I do, I’d like to thank them all for coming along to my gigs all the time, paying to see me play and supporting me because it’s not easy trying to keep positive, if it wasn’t for the fans support I’d probably start giving up, so THANK YOU! 🙂
Check out more of Beattie for yourself:
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Special thanks go to Shona Clemson for helping with the questions and to Gail Graham for taking photo’s