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Lewis Capaldi: an untrained vocalist’s journey from local pubs to a world stage

By: Sylvie Xu 

Photo Courtesy of: VEVO

“And now the day bleeds into nightfall, and you’re not here to get me through it all.” These heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics from the hit single “Someone You Loved” have become the breakthrough of Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi’s career. 

Born and raised in Bathgate, Scotland, Capaldi was the youngest of four children in his family. Music took ahold of Capaldi from a very young age. At 2 years old, he started learning the drums and guitar. By age 9, he was already performing in pubs. When he turned 17, Capaldi made the decision to pursue music as a career. 

Although he went through school focusing mainly on his academics, Capaldi fought for chances to perform in pubs and venues. Unlike some singers who sought fame on the internet by making covers of hit songs, Capaldi created original tracks which he released on YouTube and Soundcloud. 

Capaldi’s hard work and musical talents were finally recognized when he was discovered by Ryan Walter, an experienced producer, who came across his works on Soundcloud. With Walter as his manager, Capaldi released his first track on March 31, 2017 titled “Bruises.” The song quickly broke 25 million plays on Spotify, making Capaldi the fastest ever unsigned artist to do so. Soon after this, Capaldi signed with front-line record labels: Virgin EMI Records and Capitol Records. 

After his success with “Bruises,” Capaldi was offered numerous opportunities to work with some of the best artists and musicians in the industry. Capaldi took to the international scene when he supported Rag’n’Bone Man in his European tour in Nov. 2017. Three months later, he appeared during Milky Chance’s Blossom Tour, Niall Horan’s Flicker World Tour and Sam Smith’s The Thrill of it All European Tour. After this, he announced his very own European tour, which quickly escalated to his selling out of four back-to-back tours and 300,000 headline tickets. 

On Nov. 8, 2018, Capaldi released a digital download of his song “Someone You Loved.” In 2019, the song was included in his debut album titled “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent.” To Capaldi’s surprise, this song charted in 29 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia. It maintained its position as number one on the UK’s Singles Chart for seven weeks straight. 

In an interview with NME, Capaldi revealed his intentions behind writing the hit single. Capaldi claimed that he did not want to write a song about a bad relationship, he believed break-up songs were boring. He wanted to create a song that was applicable to not just romance, but also friendship and family, a song that could reach a broader audience. And he did just that. In the song, Capaldi’s raw and powerful vocals, coupled with lines after lines of excruciatingly beautiful and intimate lyrics, took root in the hearts of millions. Whether the person has been through a bad relationship, been let down by a loved one or lost someone they hold dear, Capaldi’s lyrics gave them something to connect with and to lean on. 

During the interview, Capaldi also displayed his utter disbelief at his speedy rise to fame, claiming there are many more unrecognized artists who are far more talented than him. Clearly, the artist has not fully adjusted to his international fame. 

Currently, Capaldi’s agenda is packed with concerts and events all over the world, with upcoming performances in the U.S., France, Belgium, Germany and more. In an interview with San Diego City Beat, the singer humorously added for the audience to “Expect a slightly overweight Scottish man in his early 20s, sweating profusely, singing sad songs and doing his best to entertain a room full of people.”

As one of the most notable rising artists, Lewis Capaldi’s captivating yet humble personality is also one of the many reasons why millions across the world are listening to his music.