The north London-based artist reflects on the feelings of loneliness induced by the pandemic with his emotive cut “Running” and its accompanying music video.

Tom Tripp

Photography by Jai Toor

Tom Tripp
Photography by Jai Toor

As was the case for many of us, Grammy-nominated artist Tom Tripp’s pandemic experience wasn’t easy. But, in the name of perseverance and emotional growth, the talented artist has channelled the turmoil born out of the last year into his latest offering, “Running”. Featuring a pulsating beat, which sets a pensive tone, listeners can expect to get lost in Tripp’s sorrowful R&B vocals as he lays his soul bare with deeply personal lyrics that have been brought to life with the help of producer, Hermxn, and co-writer, Khalil Madovi. An ode to the deeply-desired human connections the world has been denied over the last year, the song’s visuals depict the euphoric scenes of the artist and a partner embracing and falling through care-free adventures, all the while alluding to a story that ends in heartbreak, furthering the melancholy nature of his latest release.

“Through lockdown, I grew to accept that we’re all truly by ourselves. No matter who we’re around. My mum got diagnosed with a serious illness which really changed my life. For the first half of 2020, I was her carer. My mental health went down the drain and I didn’t make a song for 6 months! So no pun intended, I started running. I ran like I had never ran before,” explains the artist when speaking on the origins of his new track.

Upon the release of “Running”, the artist sat down with Wonderland to discuss his pandemic experience, how he fell in love with his craft and the exciting projects he has in the pipeline. Head below to read Tom Tripp’s interview now…

Hey Tom, how have you been this past year, with everything going on has your creativity been affected?
This year has been a lot better than the last I won’t lie. Last year it felt like the world stopped! Everything we knew to be a reality just ceased to exist. But in that time I did a lot of soul searching. I really got to know myself and understand what I truly care about in this world. My creativity has probably got better if anything. Because now it’s like we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so why not just create whatever your brain produces! Life is too short. I think a lot of creatives have found that the pandemic has sort of given them the space and time to create freely without the pressure of timelines. Almost like a big reset.

How did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
I remember being a 12-year-old kid in secondary school and seeing the older boys spitting to grime beats in the playground. They’d do it on the school bus on the way in and on the way back home. I was in awe of them. They would all cheer and shout for whoever had the best bars. It was like a concert every day. But you couldn’t touch them, they were a different level of cool. They produced and recorded all their own music and would put it on MySpace.

I had to get involved. I wanted to be the star of the show and gain the respect of those I was watching. I wanted to find out how they made the beats and what equipment they were using to record their songs. So I became a music nerd. Every day I’d go home and crack all the music programs and plug-ins I could get my hands on and started producing beats and recording rough songs. They were all trash at the time! I was just trying to emulate what I saw in the playground. I knew that I could do what they were doing, but better. Fortunately, all the time spent at the computer making beats kept me away from the dangerous hood that I lived in. My mum would rather me sit at that computer with my headphones on, then to become another victim of the streets. I still have my headphones on to this day.

You’re originally from North London which has a huge music scene, do you think being from there inspired your sound?
No, I don’t think being from North London has inspired my sound at all. My sound has no location. I draw inspiration from whatever my soul connects with. And that can be from anywhere whether that’s a movie soundtrack or a busker playing the guitar on the streets of Lisbon. In fact, most of my listeners don’t even know I’m British, let alone from North London. There are some amazing artists from North London though like Little Simz and Bakar. I love what they’re doing.

Your 2019 EP “Flag” was huge, what was your initial reaction to it being acclaimed?
It was quite a slow burner, to be honest. I released it towards the end of 2019 and then the world went into lockdown. I knew the songs I had on there were special, but I felt like the label I was with didn’t do anything thing to push it. I started doubting myself thinking maybe I wasn’t good enough. But then in early 2020, during the first lockdown, “Glow” popped off in the US and got synched on one of the biggest teen shows on Netflix. Then things really started happening.

Suddenly I had this whole new fan base that understood the story I was telling. I went from 300,000 streams to 3 million. It became the number 14 song in the US Shazam and top 30 in the world! I was sitting just beneath Lewis Capaldi, Post Malone and Camilla Cabello. I’m so thankful that the EP reached the people it needed to reach because I truly believe that good music will spread no matter what. Nothing can stop it. I thank God that I didn’t give up. I get messages to this day from supporters who tell me how “Glow” helped them get through dark times and abusive relationships. I told my story and they told me theirs. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s what makes this worth it.

And now you’re back with new single “Running”, talk us through your production process?
My production and recording process is pretty simple. I listen to many different piano chords and melodies and then begin to hum vocal melodies into my Voice Memos. My phone is literally full of voice notes that I’ll probably never end up recording because my brain never stops. Then I open up Ableton Live and lay down a basic baseline that will accompany the vocal ideas. Usually, I always have the chorus down before the verses. Other times I have to sit with the song and the other parts will reveal themselves in their own time.

With “Running” as soon as I heard the piano chords I knew what kind of song it was going to be, but I didn’t know exactly what to say. So I took a rough demo into the studio and co-wrote and produced the song with Hermxn and Khalil. We’re all such talented producers and writers that the song pretty much writes itself. We finished the song in one night. It felt like therapy.

Tom Tripp close up

Photography by Jai Toor

Tom Tripp close up
Photography by Jai Toor

The song is all about supporting those who feel alone, during lockdown did you struggle at all?
I definitely struggled. My upcoming EP is literally called “Alone”. Because, through lockdown, I grew to accept that we’re all truly by ourselves. No matter who we’re around. My mum got diagnosed with a serious illness which really changed my life. For the first half of 2020, I was her carer. My mental health went down the drain and I didn’t make a song for 6 months! So no pun intended, I started running. I ran like I had never ran before. It was all I could do because the gyms were closed, so I had to keep my mind fresh and my body fit. The government tried to even ban running at one point. Dickheads. I also started a TikTok (@tomtripptok) where I’d do little skits and somehow managed to gain 13,000 followers. I just wanted to get out of my head. It was truly a lonely and scary time though. I just started naturally losing communication with friends.

I ended up moving out and into my own place in Haggerston in order to save my mind. I set up a studio in my bedroom and just recorded music day and night. That’s where I wrote the songs from my upcoming EP. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t doubt whether I should even continue to write music though. But it’s all I know. It’s my life. So here we are!

Who would you cite as your inspirations?
God and Kanye West. They are in no way on the same level, but they are both genius creators.

What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
Next up is a 4 track EP called “Alone”. I’m so pumped to release it because it’s been 2 years since I last dropped a song! Although 2020 doesn’t count in my eyes. Music is my diary and if I’m not releasing then I go crazy! I’m finally out of the major label system and I’ve learnt all the business. I own my masters now and I’m ready to re-enter the world of music. My home. It’s quite a sombre project, however. So after I drop this EP I’m switching it up. I want to put out music people can move their feet to music people can jump around and fuck shit up too. So I’m going full-on DGAF mode.

I’ve already started working on my next full-length project, and it’s electrifying, to say the least. I’ve created a whole character! I’m also currently scoring a soundtrack for a fashion brand campaign. Fashion is a field I’m trying to take my musical skills into, so we’ll see what happens next…


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