Tom Speight is making up for lost time. Laid low by illness, beset by personal and professional problems, the songwriter returned to what he does best: writing songs.
Using his convalescence as a musical break, Speight found that music simply tumbled forth in a torrent of ideas and a flood of melody. “I wanted to do it,” he says. “I came out of a big relationship—four or five years—and then I was pretty low. I’d just come out of two major operations, so it was a good, cathartic way of getting on with things.”
As a child, Speight listened endlessly to early Leonard Cohen albums, even going as far as to borrow his older sister’s classical guitar. That element of simplicity remains in his music, but his recent work feels more inclined towards Ryan Adams’s autumnal romanticism, or even the simple yet affecting Celtic soul of Damien Rice, where each note has its own place driven by a deeply personal connection to the music.
Armed with some of his finest songs to date, Speight released four EPs in a span of 12 months, receiving more than 12 million Spotify plays, earning support from BBC Radio 2, and landing a high-profile session on Jo Whiley’s show. Eager to play live, he chalked up more than 80 shows in less than 12 months, from London to Poland, from the Scottish Highlands to the continent.