2019 saw the soul/pop artist headline shows at packed out venues across the UK. The young Londoner has been cutting his teeth on the live circuit over the last couple of years playing 100s of gigs across the country, despite having only released his debut single What A Time To Be Alive last summer which has amassed over half a million streams on Spotify.
We caught up with the talented young artist to find out more about her rising popularity and where it all began.
Getting into Music
George found his own unique style quite late compared to a lot of people in the industry, he explains. “I was at university and found myself more excited about the open mic every week than anything else going on. At first I was just playing covers, but eventually I got into writing my own music.” For George, a big reason he decided to be a musician, other than just for the pure love of it, is that for him, everything is in your own hands. You can write a song, record it and release it to the world all by yourself, which is such an empowering thing.
Describing his music as contemporary soul music. George highlights how his music is very much centred around classic songwriting. In addition he feels what makes his music stand out is the level of energy pumped into the tune and lyrics compared to a lot of music out there at the moment.
Discovering “Not Tonight”
Lyrically, his new single “Not Tonight” it’s about an experience George had a few months after breaking up with his ex girlfriend – “I was finding it hard to move on with anyone new, even though I knew the relationship was over”. His new single has helped the young artist develop a lot of patience! “I say that as I’ve produced it between 10 and 20 times since I wrote it over 4 years ago, so it took a long time to finish”. Honestly admitting, the reason it took so long is that he was trying to figure out his sound over that period, but once he’d completed his first few singles, George had a good idea of how Not Tonight could fit in with his other songs.
For his listeners, Pelham wants to put a spring in people’s steps and make their days a little bit better. Hoping his listeners relate to the songs – which for the young artist is really important.
Finding the Right People
Pelham highlights his mom as being the key driver behind reaching his dreams as an artist.
“She has always taught me to chase my goals as relentlessly as possible – coming from San Francisco she definitely has that American mentality of dreaming big, which is something that I really admire. Also my girlfriend Lindsey inspires me massively – she is so supportive and is just as much of a perfectionist as me, if not more.”
For George, it’s definitely been important to find the right people to work with. He explains how he has been very lucky to be with his current managers, as he has had several managers in the past who didn’t necessarily understand the kind of music the young artist was trying to make. Furthered by a record label who were really positive and helpful, which George humbly places considerable gratitude. In addition to his Producer Dan Smith. Explaining how Pelham has worked over the years with many producers who were not on the same page, which in turn was very frustrating.
“…working with Dan Smith from The Noisettes for example was so inspiring as he knows everything there is to know about soul music and pushed me to write much better songs that I would have written alone. Special mention to Rob Jones as well who produces all my music now. He plays every instrument and is very ambitious – being around him makes me feel like anything is possible.”
The Music Industry
George feels the music industry needs more great songs! Everything else comes second to that in his opinion. This being said, the artist loves how the music industry seems to be increasingly more diverse and representative of everyone, one which he hopes will keep on progressing.
Highlighting his biggest challenge to date being finding his sound. George notes how he was always happy singing and writing songs but figuring out how he wanted his records to sound was a long process. “It’s because there are so many possibilities for what you can do, and it can be hard to know what you really want sometimes. Or even if you know what you want, it can be hard to achieve it.”
Pelham is currently producing songs that will be coming out later in 2020 and early next year. In addition to music videos, acoustic videos, photos to be done, as well as a challenge he has set himself to do 30 covers in 30 different suits for 30 days on TikTok – right now I’m on day 1. On top of that, I’m learning the drums, trumpet and saxophone this year – hopefully I’m not spreading myself too thin…
With plans to finish his first album, the young artist will move on to improve his own production. In a perfect world I’d be completely self sufficient – but I’ve got a bit of a way to go!