Exclusive Lewis Capaldi: “People thought I was on coke”
Lewis Capaldi’s comeback began, officially, properly, last Friday (9e September), with the release of Forget me.
This endlessly likable, rigorously honest and reliably entertaining bantz maestro isn’t wrong: in terms of songwriting artistry, throaty soulful vocals, open-hearted lyrical emotivity and a catchy rock solid, it’s the same as the old stuff. Her fans, who span decades, demographics and gender allegiances (the balladeer for people who don’t like ballads), won’t be disappointed.
As the numbers quickly proved: in the first 24 hours, Forget me had been streamed over two million times and was crushing charts around the world. In the UK, at the time of writing, Capaldi is a midweek number one and heading for his third chart-topping single.
And now that he’s back in the saddle, in the spotlight, his anxiety, paradoxically, is much lessened. As he said of his Latitude panic attack, anticipation kills. It wasn’t helped by a few last-minute collywobbles this summer regarding the choice of lead single. At one time it was planned to be another track, one that looks more like a road one capaldi ripper. He pushed back, rightly assuming that “coming back with a ballad is too obvious. In the nose.”
Still, the plans were advanced enough for a video to be shot.
“It was supposed to be a musical of the life of Lewis Capaldi. I star in it, then I break my leg and a celebrity comes along – we had Jamie Dornan involved for a while, and we talked to Tom Holland for a bit. They would come in, do that again and play me, and they would get away with the main girl, who I loved.
“The idea sounded good. In practice, it was an absolute nightmare. The label spent $200,000. It was mental.” The video has been deleted.
Three weeks after Budapest, Capaldi is on stage at the O2 in London, finally playing these “birthday” delayed from October 2020. During the first night’s performance, his shoulder twitch is barely apparent. He has the audience – which, judging by the pitch of the mass backing vocals, is overwhelmingly female – cracking up at his jokes about fucking their mothers and how much money he makes from them.
At the end of the second evening, when he draws a line – finally – on his first album campaign and reveals the existence of Forget me, to the dizzying excitement of the crowd, the tic is there. Not massively, but it’s there. Managing him will be a work in progress, but at least he now understands how ruinous alcohol is for him. At least this time too, his tour, rather than reacting hastily, can be planned proactively and carefully. Indispensable when his second album is not released until next year, the whole world wants a piece of him, and he has “holds” on the stadiums (Hampden, Wembley) for next summer.
“It’s something I’m going to have to go through and feel along the way,” he said optimistically in Budapest. “If I’m shaking or my anxiety is high enough, I need to make adjustments. It’s just something I’m always going to have to fluctuate with. »
Lewis Capaldi is back. He is no longer the same as before. His music, however, by instinctive and true-to-life design, nearly is. And he couldn’t be happier about it.
But, I asked him in Hungary, what if his second album stiffens?
“If it stiff, it stiffens. We’re all stiff from time to time, aren’t we? I’m stiff now,” he said, almost unconsciously reverting to crackle mode. “But I don’t know, man. That’s what I try to be better at in my head. This fear that things won’t go well? Well, actually, I’ll probably always be right.
“My friends will remain my friends. I will always have my parents and my family. I will always be able to do things, and I’m not crazy. I can probably go buy some jeans and it won’t take me three hours. My house near Glasgow could be finished. I could use it! Damn, he said laughing, “boob riding is starting to look appealing! »
Forget me (Virgin EMI) is now available