The sea shanty-singing ex-postman talks about finding fame, celebrity fans and appearing on global TV from his spare room in Airdrie.
Describe your life since your version of The Wellerman went viral?
It’s been crazy. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s been good and long may it continue. To be able to do the thing I’ve been dreaming of for years is special.
How long have you been playing music?
I’ve been singing since I was a kid and playing guitar since I was eight. I also play the piano. I write my own songs and the plan is to get a couple of singles out and then maybe an album by the end of the year where you’ll hear a few songs of my own. It’s singer-songwriter in the style of Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi and Dermot Kennedy. Hopefully people will enjoy it.
What did you know of sea shanties before this?
I knew of Drunken Sailor, but last July was really the first time I’d heard of sea shanties. I didn’t know the background to it or many of the songs until I did some research. I uploaded the video of me singing The Wellerman because I thought my followers would like it, but never in a million years did I think it would lead to all of these doors opening.
What’s been the biggest surprise so far?
I woke up on Tuesday morning to find that Brian May from Queen had made a video of himself playing a Wellerman guitar solo and he gave me a shout-out at the end. I was gobsmacked and just thought, “Oh my God, that’s Brian May”. It’s been insane.
Why do you think it’s resonated with people so much?
I think it’s the fact we’re all stuck indoors and in the same boat, so to speak. We’re all feeling down and a bit lonely, but everyone can join in on this by clapping and singing along. It’s contagious and it’s put a smile on people’s faces.
Has interest gone beyond the UK?
I’ve been on Australian and South African TV, New Zealand, Germany, Holland – it’s been good but slightly surreal, because I’ve done the majority of it via Zoom calls from my house in Airdrie!
Are you concerned about quitting your job?
I’m a spontaneous, live-for-the-moment type of person, so when all of these opportunities came in I felt I couldn’t let the job get in the way. This is what I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. If it all goes wrong, I can find something else.
I just want to keep the momentum going with this song and keep pushing it, while I continue to write in the background and work on other songs.
Nathan’s debut single, The Wellerman, is out now from Universal.
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