It’s hard to keep an air of mystery while doing pretty darn big things, but Scottish singer-songwriter Aaron Smith is somehow managing it. Cultivating a slow-build hype from gigs and word of mouth, he’s just got off tour with Luke Sital-Singh, and completed an in-demand set at Live At Leeds. With a summer of festival sets at the likes of buzzy new band showcase The Great Escape and singer-songwriter haven Barn on the Farm coming up, it’s fair to say he won’t be able to avoid the spotlight for much longer.
Hey Aaron, how’s it going? Are you having a good 2019 so far? How were your dates with Luke Sital-Singh?
Hey! Yeah, it's all good. I’m having a really busy 2019, but I'm enjoying it a lot. It's been fun to spend time working on my music and getting out doing some live shows. The dates with Luke Sital-Singh were great. I enjoyed getting to play my new songs live and play in some new places. It was cool to watch Luke each night!
Tell us about how you got into making music; we hear you spent a while busking?
I started playing guitar when I was six and I kinda just went from there really. I’ve been busking for a while now; it's been a great way for me to find my voice and work on my singing. It gives me the chance to try stuff out that I probably wouldn’t do at my own shows and see how people react to it. It’s funny being able to see how people on the street react to different songs. I think it’s been a good way for me to shape my own stuff.
What’s been the highlight of your time as a musician so far?
It’s probably been spending some time down in London and doing some writing. It’s helped me learn a lot about myself as a person, and it's taught me to open up a lot. I'm looking forward to putting together my own live show and touring; it’s not something I’ve done a lot of.
How did you decide what kind of music you wanted to make, were you influenced by any musicians in particular?
I grew up listening to a lot of different stuff around the house: John Mayer, Keane, Coldplay and some other older bands like Fleetwood Mac. I just tried to take little bits from everything and make it my own. My biggest influence definitely has to be Chris Martin. Some of my more recent influences would be Billie Eilish, Khalid and Bon Iver; I’m really into what they are all doing just now.
You’ve got quite a few festivals booked in for summer, which are you most looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to doing some of these festivals for the first time! The one I'm most looking forward to playing has to be Barn on the Farm. I like the whole vibe of it being all singer-songwriters and stripped back sets and stuff. Think it feels a bit different to the other festivals its size. It’s a festival I've always wanted to play, so I’m looking forward to actually spending some time at it.
Have you spent much time at festivals before?
I do love festivals, they are always a good laugh, but I haven’t really had the chance to play at any yet. I’ve been to a few festivals as a punter so I’m really looking forward to my first proper festival season getting to play them.
Do you have new music on the way?
I do! It’s exciting to be able to say that, but yeah, I’ve been working away on a lot of new music for the past year, so I’m really buzzing to get it out there for people to hear! Hopefully, there will be something out before the summer.
Are there any lyrical themes you’re particularly drawn to when you write?
I write about a lot of different things I suppose, but I’m always drawn to write a lot about my family and anxiety. They are two very important things in life, so it’s something I like to spend my time writing about.
Can you remember the first ever song you wrote, is it still kicking about?
Hahaha yes! The first song I ever wrote was called 'City Lights'. It was shit; I was only 14 when I wrote it but, they can’t all be good! Nah, it’s been hidden away, I definitely don’t play it anymore.
What else have you got coming up this summer?
I’m really looking forward to this summer; I guess I’ll kinda be launching as an artist and actually putting music out and playing some festivals. It’s a bit scary, but I’m looking forward to just getting stuff out there and playing live shows. Should be doing some of my own headline shows later in the year, which is mental.
What would you most like to achieve during your music career?
I’d like to be able to help people through the music that I write. I like to write music that comes from personal experience to help myself, and I’d like to think that other people can connect to my songs and help them through whatever they are going through as well. Might not be the same thing but if they can connect the lyrics back to whatever they are going through then I hope that helps! I enjoy writing lots of sad songs, haha.
Tell us a secret about yourself?
It's a bit embarrassing, but I love Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Never missed an episode. Probably shouldn’t admit that, but now you know.
Aaron Smith plays The Great Escape (9th-11th May), Barn on the Farm (4th-7th July) and more.