In The Middle with Luke Sital-Singh

Luke Sital-Singh is a British singer-songwriter that has been making waves ever since his early EPs caused a buzz among publications like The Guardian and BBC’s Radio 1 and Radio 6. After the release of his second album, Time Is a Riddle, Anika Vadukul chatted to Luke Sital-Singh about inspirations, motivations, and emojis.

I read online that you’re a Damien Rice fan, would you consider him an inspiration? Who do you consider to be your inspirations?

He was the very first reason for what I do. I’d never listened to any singer songwriters before Damien Rice and that was on a TV ad 15 years ago. Other inspirations… Ryan Adams. His music and career are cool, he’s carved out by his large success whilst doing his own thing. He runs his own course- I admire that.

What is your favourite song to play on Time Is a Riddle and why?

I’m enjoying ‘Killing Me’- it’s fairly emotional and there’s definitely a connection when I play it. I like all the piano ones. ‘Killing Me’ hits a mark and I well up a bit sometimes.

What is the story behind ‘Killing Me’?

Well I didn’t intend to write it but it’s about my grandparents. I often get heartbroken thinking about my grandma who lost my grandpa 10 years ago. I spend more time with her than I did before and she always talks about him and it’s heart-breaking. The song is written from her perspective about talking to him and missing him.

How do you prepare for gigs? Do you have any rituals?

I have a coffee kit… I’m a kind of snob. I have a tour box where I grind the beans and all that nonsense. I enjoy the ‘ceremony’ as I do it every morning even at home, it’s kind of a home comfort. It slows my mind down and steadies me.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

I’d really like to work with Blake Mills. I tend to follow producers and look at their work, it opens my mind to different genres of music. He’s done so much great stuff.

Do you enjoy what you do?

Yeah I do. I get stressed and overthink, and I get pessimistic naturally so I do get down if things aren’t perfect but it’s a great full time job where I can pay the bills. There are moments where I think the grass is greener and I think of working a bank job but that’s probably the worst mistake I could make. On my best days I’m grateful and do feel privileged, but that doesn’t come without its stresses.

A few years ago you played at Barn on the Farm Festival… what was that like?

Yeah, it was really good and really fun. I had the London Contemporary Voices Choir with me, they came on near the end and really belted out the songs.

Gigs or festivals?

I have a love-hate relationship with festivals.  I dislike the big ones as they become boisterous which doesn’t really suit my music. I prefer small gigs.

What is your favourite series to binge watch?

The West Wing is the best TV show of all time. I won’t accept anything else. I don’t ever stop watching it. It’s quite sad but, when I’m feeling lonely, I can just put it on in background and because I’m so familiar with the characters it’s like I’m with friends.

Favourite hungover food?

Full English. And that’s a problem with touring as I eat too many! It’s the one. It’s all the horrible, greasy stuff. I like it with black pudding. We started the tour in the Scottish highlands and they have some really good black pudding there. And you know, black pudding and mashed potato mixed together… best thing in the world.

What would be on your dream rider?

Last night we were in Sheffield and they had ping pong tables we could play on before the gig venue opened and I would love one of those. It released my stresses and it got my sweat on before the show. I’d like lots of sports things- table tennis, a snooker table and darts. I feel I need stuff to do because the tour involves lots of sitting down. We could even have tournaments with the four of us on the road!

Which emoji describes you and why?

I like the sad ones. The one with the squinty eyes pointing down, I post this one too much. It represents my not-crying but fucking-sick-of-it face where I’m just down on luck. Also the ghostly shocked face. Just none of the positive ones basically.

Who are your top 3 artists you’ve seen live?

Ryan Adams was amazing, he blew me away with what he can do as a solo guy singing tunes. Brian Wilson. And the Icelandic band, Sigur Rós, who I saw at the Eden Project – it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen with lasers and all sorts.

Special thanks to Luke Sital-Singh. His album Time Is a Riddle is out now!

Anika Vadukul

Image: [We Are Mahogany]

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