Billy Lockett possesses the type of voice that instantly ignites your spirit. Tender yet commanding, authentic yet controlled, Lockett takes control of an upbeat melody for his brand new single, “Freaking Out” — a track that embodies Lockett’s artful dichotomy between euphoric tunes and sombre themes. Dropping into an infectious pop-laced chorus, “Freaking Out” delves deep into feelings of loneliness, anxieties and fear, creating a relatable narrative that is wholly accessible to all.
“I remember the eureka moment when we wrote the chorus of this song. It felt good but I just wanted to do something unexpected something that made people go ‘Woah’. The lyrics are all about when I was on tour for a long time and my relationships at home were falling apart. It is about the struggles of trying to be in two places at the same time and how sometimes it ends up making you feel like you’re at neither. This song is also the only one on the album that Lost Boy produced. I love how punchy and hooky the whole song is pretty much from the first second,” says Billy Lockett on the effort.
Hacked from his forthcoming album Abington Grove, out February 17th, Lockett offers us a taste of the soul-soaked singles that are about to come our way tenfold. Until then, however, we sat down with the Northampton-born singer-songwriter to uncover the crux of “Freaking Out”, what we can expect from his album and his biggest pinch-me moments.
To stream “Freaking Out” and for the full interview, head below now…
Hey Billy! How are you? Where are we speaking to you from?
Hey, I’m great! You are speaking to me from my cellar/studio in sunny Northampton.
Looking back at your year so far, do you have any particular highlights or lowlights?
I think this year’s highlights would be playing Lafayette in London, that felt like a real moment for me where everything felt like it was starting to really come together. Lowlights-wise, I must be the luckiest man alive because I genuinely haven’t really had any lows this year, or at least if I have I wasn’t aware of them. Haha. I’ve been extremely busy constantly but if I’m honest that makes me happy so yeah it’s been a pretty good year, to say the least.
When did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
I first started playing piano when I was 7 years old. My dad bought my mum one to learn but she lost interest quite quickly and I ended up falling in love with it. He then just kept encouraging me to keep playing, without him I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the life I have right now. I owe him BIG TIME.
Would you say you’re a naturally introspective person?
I definitely examine my thoughts a lot, I’m always very aware of how I feel but I’m also quite an open person. For me, talking things out is always a way to sort things so I think that’s why I’ve always written songs because it’s almost a way of talking things out to myself sometimes.
What usually inspires you to write a track or album? Do you often rely on personal experiences?
“Normally I’ll start something on the piano and it’ll then spur everything else off. When it comes to the lyrics I normally decide the concept depending on the mood of the music. There aren’t any rules and I’ve started to let the song decide how it wants to sound naturally. The type of lyrics normally become pretty obvious once I’ve built up the track, whether that’s something deep and sad about a personal experience or something as simple and light as “don’t worry everything’s great ”. As long as the songs give you a feeling I’m happy.”
Congratulations on the release of “Freaking Out”! What was your mindset when making this track?
Thank you, I’ve always loved this song. I wrote it a long time ago and even to this day I’ve always had it in the back of my head that “this is THE song” I’m sure of it! Haha. It was inspired by my girlfriend saying “darling I’ve been freaking out” because I’d been touring for so long and she was really struggling with the distance. It was at a point when I’d been on the road for two months with Electric Light Orchestra then two months with Lewis Capaldi, then onto a three months headline tour so my girlfriend was losing her mind a bit and so the lyrics are all from her point of view talking about how hard it is to miss someone.
Who heard it first when it was complete? What was their reaction like?
I think she was the first person to hear it actually, it was just a rough demo but even from that we knew the chorus was special, I remember her saying “omg this could be your first club banger”.
And you’ve announced your forthcoming album, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, FINALLY the album is coming! I’ve been writing it for 10 years and recording it for the last 2 years. It has been therapy making it and I feel a little lost now it’s finished, I could’ve carried on working on it forever if my managers let me. In all seriousness though this is everything I wanted it to be, I’m so proud of every song, I don’t want to jinx it but I really think me and Barney Cox (my producer) have created something very special here. The album becoming a super smash hit really doesn’t matter to me, my goal is to always keep improving, learning, and enjoying the process. I just want to make the best music I can possibly make and this is genuinely, in my personal opinion, the best music I’ve ever made in my life.
All of these new releases come off the back of some ridiculously successful tracks including “Hard Act To Follow”, do you feel that the pressure is higher now that you’re becoming even more established?
Obviously, “Hard Act To Follow” set the bar high because it did so well but I think I’ve learned that in this business you should only worry about the things you can control like making good music, being nice to people, being honest, and following your gut. Once I realised how to do all that the pressure started to release a bit. I’m just trying to enjoy every second.
You’ve garnered support from the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Lana Del Rey – what’s been your biggest pinch-me moment so far? What’s next for you?
Supporting Lana was pretty special, and O2 arena with ELO, but I think the biggest pinch me moment recently has been flying out to New York to meet my new label and team. There is no better feeling than being with a group of people who totally understand and want to support a crazy idea you had in your cellar in Northampton. I’m just so excited about the future right now. We are rolling out the singles pretty regularly, it’s just a case of keep putting out music, so lots more singles and then the album then tour the heck out of it. I think it’s starting to become a little more simple at this stage where crafting the music is done and now it’s time to start selling and promoting it.
And finally; what’s one interesting fact about you that I wouldn’t be able to find on a press release?
My right middle toe is longer than any of my other toes. When I was a kid my classmate accidentally jumped on it in drama class, it broke and ended up growing back twice the size. My fans call it the twiglet toe. It’s kinda my mascot.