Callum Beattie reckons that we’re all just balls of energy.
He’s unsure whether we have a spirit or not, but definitely believes in some sort of afterlife for the soul. These are the things that you talk about on a Thursday afternoon over a Greggs pizza slice whilst nursing the aftermath of a week long hangover. Tour has been like being thrown into the sky in a giant slingshot. Every high has to come down, but it’s worth it for the journey.
“I’m also heavily into the idea of something called the Law of Attraction,” Callum explains, “It’s basically about the universe and how you attract whatever you think about, into your life. So if you’re thinking about positive things and the things that you want to happen in your life then you’ll attract that into your life.” Speaking confidently, almost proudly, Callum looks at me as his eyes gleam every evidence of every word. The Scottish songsmith crafts great pop ballads that explode with the passion that he pours into every romantic lyric and soaring harmony.
His songs describe the world and the beauty that he sees in it. “I have a fascination with the universe and stars and the moon and all the rest of it.” he explains, wearing his love of planets on his arm with small tattoos. Single, ‘We Are Stars’, could be written in a night-sky, with its delicate crooning and glistening melody wrapping around an intricate rhythm. The song finds its tail, and rockets into a falsetto chorus. As the day begins, ‘Man Behind The Sun’ has a definite swing to its delivery, and a rock n roll edge whilst describing the chase and competition of a love triangle. The beautiful imagery painted by the references to the world that surrounds us intensifies the vastness of the emotion. It makes you see the emotion when you look to the sky.
“I guess I’ve been searching for years to try and work out why we’re here and what the whole purpose of it all is, you know?” He laughs, and we have to stop ourselves from diving into a conversation that deep. “It does drive you insane. I’m not religious at all so I guess that kind of almost is my religion.”
Callum’s beliefs lay more as a spirituality. He’s somebody who hates sitting inside, bum on a sofa, and watching TV; “I just can’t do it. I think it’s a waste. Every two minutes I have to be doing something, something exciting. I can’t get bored. Life is precious.” He has a particular hatred towards a particular political party, believes in the equal relationship between light and dark, and he’s something of an opportunist.
There’s a difference between that, and being lucky – something that people have been quick to label him, as he’s brushed shoulders with musical legends. “It is my ultimate hate when people say ‘you’re so lucky’, because why am I luckier than you? Maybe I’ve put in the hours and you haven’t. There’s a lot of great singers out there but they can’t even be bothered getting off their ass and doing anything with it. There’s a lot of talented people out there but they can’t be arsed getting off their butt.” Callum says, and he means it. “Half of it’s drive, you know. I’m very driven. But I’ve worked for years.” When he left school he got his first job pushing trolleys in Tesco, and he used the hi-vis jacket to sneak backstage at gigs and festivals to hand out his demos. On the shop floor he recognised a member of Snow Patrol and from then on ensured that he had a new song to show him every time he saw him. “I’d take any opportunity I’d find.” For eight long years he thought nothing was happening, so moved to London to wash dishes and try. “It is funny when people say I’m a lucky man, if you call that lucky then I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about.”
His determination is something that he gets from his dad, who he couldn’t be more grateful for. “Where I grew up, it was pretty rough.” Callum explains, after expressing a great love for his home of Edinburgh, “But I’m glad it was rough because it means that I got to experience a lot of stuff earlier and I definitely see it in some of my friends who didn’t really come from the same background, they find it difficult to talk about difficult subjects. Whereas I find it easier because it happened to me.” His dad is his greatest influence, and the man behind his track ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ – the phrase is tattooed on his forearm and shown to me with beaming pride. Despite the lack of religion, he also shows me a tattoo of the star of David, which is a beautiful combination of his love of nature and tribute to his father’s name, as well as his love of travel.
Just like his glossy pop track suggests, he’s got a ‘Wanderlust’, which saw him recently travel to Jerusalem. “When we went there was a war zone going on and I was going for a holiday but I’d booked it like a year before. So I basically phoned the hotel to make sure it was going to still be safe and they said yeah it’ll be completely fine as long as you listen to the people who direct you to the safe zones. So I thought alright, okay.” Callum remembers, “When I turned up the first morning, there was like World War 2 sirens going off and I’d just jumped in the shower… you’re meant to run to the safest part of the building which is the staircase normally but I was too curious. So I went to the patio doors and stuck my head outside and I just saw a rocket come right up and another rocket that had been sent to blow it out of the sky. The shrapnel is the thing that will kill you, so it was quite an eye opener. It was still an amazing holiday, and a beautiful place, but that was surreal really.”
There’s something about that notion that makes the sentiment of a Callum Beattie song. They’re all very real and honest, exposing vulnerability in a way that is soothing and calming. “I think that’s definitely something in my songwriting, even if the subject is sad, I try and make light of it.” he explains, “By the chorus, I try to have a positive message. I don’t think I’ve got a song that doesn’t have a positive message. They have elements of heartbreak and stuff in it, but ultimately they’re positive.” In this essence, the songs are mini representations of the man himself; somebody who feels strongly and isn’t scared to show that, but also somebody who wants to make the best of any situation. “I write songs to get things off my chest and it’s almost like self counselling.”
With first ears on his latest single, ‘Miracle’; a heartbeat replicating song about having no regrets and embracing every element of life, it’s the perfect welcome from Callum if you’re yet to be introduced. In fact, it’s the love that you may just well need. Whilst Callum is intrigued by the world around his, the curiosity rubs off in his music. It is inquisitive and exciting, and there’s a purity to every word and every riff. Somehow, it makes the world seem so big but not at all lonely – and Callum has the best charm and energy to portray that, wherever he may go.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan