Lewis Capaldi's rugged voice tells the story of gut-wrenching heartbreak through somber melodies, but he's still a child at heart. The 22-year-old Scottish singer is the first artist in global history to both announce and sell out an arena tour before the release of a debut album. His show at The Van Buren on Saturday, September 28, is also sold out.
"I didn't really make songs about myself until two years ago. I wrote a song called 'Bruises,' which was the first song I ever released, and that really changed things for me in terms of the way that I wrote," said Capaldi during an interview with Phoenix New Times. "So before that song, I was always kind of messing around like, 'I'll write a song about this.' I was just writing things to write about them; they really didn't have anything to do with me."
Capaldi released the song in March 2017 and signed with Virgin EMI Records and Capitol Records shortly after the track gathered over 25 million plays on Spotify. He has been pretty busy since then, releasing two EPs, touring with Sam Smith, Niall Horan, and Ed Sheeran, spending an afternoon with Elton John, and dropping his debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent in May.
The artist doesn't take himself too seriously despite his overnight fame and a mounting list of achievements. His Instagram feed includes a photo of himself in an American flag onesie. There's also a video where he's crooning his breakthrough single "Someone You Loved" into a toilet brush.
"I don't think I'm very funny," says Capaldi. "I see people do interviews with an album and they say, 'This song was about a girl who really broke my heart and I worked through a lot of stuff and negative energy and this and that' and you're like shut the fuck up! Let's just have a laugh, have a joke, it's all good. Look, I'm a smelly man, and I like to have a laugh, and sometimes I cry. Who gives a shit? That's my life."
It certainly is not a bad life. His upcoming tour will take Capaldi through the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia. The single "Someone You Loved" (for which his second cousin Peter Capaldi, the 12th doctor in Doctor Who, starred in the music video) brought him to number one on Billboard's Emerging Artists Chart. Capaldi continues to take it all in stride.
"I can go into any shop or convenience store, and I say, 'Excuse me, I really have to pee. Do you have a toilet I could use?' Two years ago, if I walked in and asked that they'd say, 'No sorry, we don't have a toilet.' But what I've found now — the best thing about what's happened — what they say to me is, 'Are you Lewis Capaldi?' and I say, 'Yes, do you have a bathroom?' and they say, we don't have a public one, but we'll let you use the staff toilet."
Lewis Capaldi is scheduled to perform Saturday, September 28, at The Van Buren. The show is currently sold out.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.