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Tom Copson Interview July 2012

Jo & Lisa


Backed by Tom Robinson, Tom Copson’s debut album Woven was released earlier this year. With a four octave range, the high profile backing has given Tom a much needed boost , “I’ve had a few people contact me on Twitter because he’s been playing it…he’s a nice guy, he came to one of my gigs and he says he never really goes to gigs, but he came to one of mine and says he loved it.”

Nevertheless it all began long before Tom Robinson took note, at 6 he was asked to lead his group assembly and then he began to play guitar. “Song writing came on quite early and I’d always sung, so I’d definitely written songs by the time I was 15, it just came quite naturally. A lot of my other song writing friends around the same age through our teenage years were definitely more interested in learning cover songs.  What helped me have the patience to get to grips with the guitar was basically playing computer games, but while I was waiting for the game to load I’d play guitar songs.”

A keen busker, Tom has frequently hit the streets of his home town, Cambridge, and though it began with him and a friend wondering it they could earn money, for Tom it was to grow to something more. “I already saw music as my career and a massive part of my identity so I’d already established it in my life. I tried busking and I realised one of the reasons I like it so much is that it’s one of the purest deliveries of what I’m doing.”

Nevertheless, with his album covering subject matters such as low self esteem, homelessness and a friend’s illness it’s perhaps less easy to hook in the fans than a happy-go-lucky pop album. Still, Tom sticks true to his beliefs, “I really strive for being honest in my songs and when I feel like I’m writing something because it’s popular, I do sway away from that. Songs are inspired by my own personal experiences, often like a friend of mine who I’ve seen  going through a bad time, or myself going through a bad time. I look at an angle of it which might be a bit kind of negative, but I don’t always see it as negative. I think we’ve got to go through some of those struggles to get to where we need to go, so I guess it’s that. I try to pick out the struggles in light of it helping, rather than it being the end.”

With a spot at Cambridge Folk Festival this weekend, Tom has also played at Hop Farm this summer and when asked how it compared to gigs, it seems that the field is where Tom feels most at ease. “It was fantastic in terms of the energy that was on the the field and with the sun going down and stuff, everyone seemed way more energetic and up for a good time than at a normal gig. It was a freer environment and I’m hoping I discover that more over the course of the summer.”

With live performances often boasting unusual covers, Tom is certainly one to catch in the live arena and whilst for now it might be that “it’s not really about a career in many ways, it’s just about whether I can keep being a songwriter or not”, it’s doubtful that this is that last we’ll hear as far as Tom’s music is concerned.