If you’re looking for an artist that encompasses pop, rock and soul then emerging artist Tom Wardle is for you. Raised in Nottingham, England Wardle took a leap of faith and moved to the US in 2017. Teaming up with Los Angeles producer Scott Bennett he would finish work on his EP Jacqueline. The record encompassing a multitude of genres, from country, reggae, rock and pop.
With his soulful voice that will leave music lovers everywhere swoon, his amazing one-man acoustic shows, and way with the guitar, Wardle is the type of artist that should be on everyones radar.
We got the chance to chat with rising artist about his EP Jacqueline, his move to the US, the sound of his EP and more…
Your EP ‘Jacqueline’ it’s giving us major summertime vibes, can you go into the making of the record?
Great, I’m glad that you picked up on that. I always try to make my music as positive as possible, and the dream of endless is summer is something I want to encapsulate in the record. I started recording it three years ago now, back in London with one of my musical heroes, Chris Difford of Squeeze, and we tracked three songs in two days. The record was supposed to be finished on the third day but that day never came for a variety of reasons. Cue over a year later and I was living in Los Angeles and working with Brian Wilson producer Scott Bennett. We picked up the sessions, added one of my demos and then recorded a brand new song, and all five tracks came together.
When it comes to the music on this EP there is a mixture of different genres. If you could describe your sound in 5 words what would it be?
Husky-voiced unrequited pop rock!
Were there any specific artists or albums that inspired you while creating the Jacqueline EP?
I think each track has its own inspiration. Don’t Give Up On Me Just Yet turned into a Rolling Stones feel when the gospel backing vocals were added, and the electric guitars. I Could Have Been A Millionaire was me trying to write one of those really cool 80s sophistipop songs like Robert Palmer or the Blow Monkeys. I Know What She Needs was me listening to Bob Marley and being in awe of the production, and I knew I had to have a female chant going on in the choruses. Jacqueline was inspired by Rod Stewart and The Faces, and trying to write a classic rock ballad, which I think I achieved. It keeps getting compared to Rod, so I’m happy with that! And the last track on the record, Pink Lilies, was one I wrote years ago, when a cover of Billy Joel’s Always A Woman was being played everywhere, so I’d say that was a direct inspiration. Despite all of these different sources of inspiration, the way in which we made the tracks makes them all seem to blend together nicely. I don’t think an artist should be bound by genres. Look at The Beatles – they had everything on their albums and did alright!
Which track was the most fun to write and which was the hardest?
All songs are hard to write!! Well, for me anyway. I Know What She Needs was me messing around with a keyboard one day and producing a backing track with some reggae drum loops, then I took lyrics from another song I’ve written and sang them over it and it worked just great. I love the fact that I only ever sang that song once – the finished vocal is the one on the demo. I suppose it captured something! This was the one song I demoed at home on my own, something I rarely do, so I got my 13 year old niece Hollie in to do some backing vocals as it was her school holidays and I wanted to get her involved in recording, I thought it’d be fun for her to do for an afternoon. A year later when the record was being mixed in LA I insisted we kept her vocal in, amongst the other backing vocalists, and I can hear her in there every time!
5: How has relocating from Nottingham, England to California changed your artistry and music?
Even back in England my sound has always aspired to be the California sound – upbeat, pop, romantic, harmonies. I’m a massive Beach Boys fan and it was my escapism. When I finally moved many years later and ended up working with Scott, who was in Brian Wilson’s band for nearly twenty years, we just clicked musically. After all, him and Brian had written the album that inspired me to move to California some years earlier (That Lucky Old Sun). I really feel like I have people around me now that want to help me make the music I’ve always wanted to make, and Scott is a phenomenal asset to have on board both as a friend, musician and production partner. After we finished producing my EP we also wrote and produced another EP with Los Angeles singer Alexandra Rae which came out last month.
You recently played your first New York gig at the Brooklyn Bowl, what was that performance like?
Running on adrenaline and nerves. I got asked to do the gig last minute and had two days to put a band together! I roped in some Williamsburg friends, a band called Frands, to back me and we had half a rehearsal and just said “Well, there’s no more we can do, let’s just go for it”. It turned out a great. Not being as well rehearsed as you like does something for the performance and adds some spark to it. Another highlight was being joined on the last song of the night, Jacqueline, by my mate Ralph Brown, better known as Del Preston from Wayne’s World 2!! He played some solid Hammond organ and it added a nice surreal touch to the proceedings.
Are you working on an album? Can we look forward to more new music this year?
New music is on its way. I’ll be doing another EP over the summer time, which could possibly turn into an album.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years as an artist?
If I can get an Ivor Novello award I’ll be a happy man. Failing that, as long as I’m making a living and making the records I want to make, there’s not much more you can ask for.
Make sure to check out his EP ‘Jacqueline’ below!