Q&A: We Speak With Reading Artist, Etham

Reading’s newest singer/songwriter gem, Etham, opens the gates to his heart with two inward-looking ballads, ‘I Won’t’ and ‘Guilty.’ Inspired by James Morrison, at 13-year-old Etham gravitated toward music and songwriting. After performing at his first school concert, he was instantly hooked.

Essentially Pop chats to Etham about supporting Miami mega superstar Sabrina Claudio and looking up to Ricky Gervais.

What was the last song you listened to?

Vampire – Olivia Rodrigo 

How did you get into songwriting and singing in the first place?

I started guitar when I was 9 but singing and writing didn’t come until I was 13 and an artist called James Morrison really inspired me to want to write and I remember when I did my first school concert and people seemed to really like it so from then on I just kept writing and singing. 

Who is your ultimate role model? (Career wise and in personal life

Ricky Gervais just because I think he has a great outlook on life but musically it’s really tough because there’s so many and I really look up to anyone who gives out a musical energy because inspiration comes in so many different ways.  

With the undeniable popularity of boybands, have you ever thought about being in a boyband?

I’ve never thought about being in a boy band but a Rock/emotive/Indie band is always played on my mind and I’ve always thought about releasing a side project as a band. 

Your latest releases ‘I Won’t’ and ‘Guilty’ both traverse around quite raw emotions. What are these singles touching upon?

‘I Won’t’ was a personal subject that’s quite close to home and when I wrote it for some reason it just felt like it had a lot other people’s stories in it as well and if people did relate then I felt it offered comfort to those that have been or going through a similar thing. And then ‘Guilty’ was an idea that I’ve had for a while as it was to do with a relationship not ending bad which for me ended over 5 years ago but never could quite get the right song until ‘Guilty.’

Did you come across an emotion, or an experience that was especially difficult for you to translate into a song?

Yeah I have a lot of experiences that I struggle to put into words but I often hold onto to certain subjects and ideas that I want to talk about until the right song comes along or the right chords etc. 

You recently supported Sabrina Claudio on her tour, how does it feel to be standing on a stage in a venue like London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town? What  goes through your head?

It was a lot of fun and really relaxed. I had played the 02 Forum before so I was a lot less nervous than before and the crowd were super nice so it just felt like playing in a pub.   

What would be your dream stage to perform at?

I’ve always wanted to do my own show at Shepards Bush Empire just because I’ve seen so many of my favourite artists perform there and I’ve been lucky enough to play it 3 times but only as a support act so hopefully I get to put on a show there one day. 

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