Help Horndean singer-songwriter Tom Bertram's album into the charts for a special 30th birthday present
Singer-songwriter Tom Bertram is releasing his first album in six years this weekend – and it coincides with his 30th birthday.
Midnight Promise, his third album, is out on Saturday, and there should have been a gig to go with it at Portsmouth Guildhall Studio the same day, now sadly postponed until next February.
The album has been a long time coming for Tom, from Horndean, as he attempted to redefine his musical identity.
‘The reason for the break was to find what I wanted to do and the way I wanted to go, trial and error with songs, and I was playing a lot of gigs.’
Obviously Covid put the brakes on the latter point, but Tom adds: ‘I was trying to to figure out what I wanted to do next, in terms of the route I wanted to take, especially at live shows now, I like to play lead guitar...
‘With the songs, you can write them on acoustic guitar, then it's the production, predominantly, which chooses your genre – do you produce it pop, do you produce it country, do you produce it rock?
‘There's a lot of directions you can go in – I like all of those genres, and I can slot into all of them at least a bit.
‘This one I wanted to go in a, if this is the right word, “current” direction, and bring in elements of production that are out there now into my sound, and that's the way I've gone.’
While the finished 10-track album contains its share of stripped back tracks, he says it is generally more ‘upbeat’ than his previous work.
‘I think it's my best work – as we always do when we bring out a new record,’ he laughs, ‘but having played it to a few people, they seem to like it.’
Tom also feels that he’s grown in terms of playing ability and confidence – he’s also been learning more about the production side.
He once again worked with Tim Bradshaw, who produced both Tom’s previous albums.
‘On the last album we pretty much went 50/50 on the writing and Tim did most of the production, on this one I've written a lot more of the lyrics but I've also got involved with the production and the sound.
‘I'm enjoying that – I did an online course last month with Ryan Tedder, learning how to record on my own.
‘It's not something I'm looking to do all the time, but it's nice to know how to do it at home.
‘That was an amazing month of information and learning – I love his music, I didn't realise how many hits he'd written for other people, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran – name someone at the top and he's written for them.
‘Now when I'm in the studio, I can commmunicate better what I want.’
‘This album is who I've always wanted to be – it's just that the confidence is there now to be him, which is someone who plays lead guitar, who has sort of hip-hop, trap beats which fit in with the song, and to be myself really.
‘When I heard other artists say: “I'm finally being myself,” I didn't get it – I always thought, aren't you already yourself? But now I get it.’
Inspired by his musical hero John Mayer is definitely planning to stretch himself on the guitar when he can gig again.
‘There are a few solos on the recordings, but I would say they're tamed. I think a lot of people do that anyway in recordings, compared to live.
‘It's something I've been able to do, but it's a confidence thing. With the guitar solos – I want to be good, I put a lot of pressure on myself, I always want to do my best.’
He also took some lessons with renowned Portsmouth-based guitarist Ben Corner: ‘I sat down and had a few lessons with him and he made me understand the theory and then I became more confident straightaway.’
While he may not have been able to play live, Tom has released a steady stream of singles.
‘There’s been six singles which have done very well for me. One of them, Small Things, got to number nine in the iTunes chart, which was great. All six of them have actually gone top 50 at least in the iTunes Chart, so I'm hoping the album will do well too.’
And he says it won’t be so long for the next album: ‘I'm going to be a lot more active. And I'm turning 30, so I haven't got time to mess around!’
Tom has also been added to the line-up for this year’s Victorious Festival over the August bank holiday weekend.
Midnight Promise is released on Saturday, May 29, you can preorder it now in iTunes.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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