Breakthrough singer Lewis Capaldi, scheduled to perform Wednesday at the Kiss 103.5 Jingle Ball, is such a nice guy that after you and he break up, he writes songs about the experience, then lets you preview them before they are released to the world.
That’s what happened when the 23-year-old Scottish crooner crafted songs for his passionate pop debut, “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent,” which focuses a good amount on the end of his relationship.
“During the course of this album I used to send [my ex] all of the songs like, ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of this?’ She was the only person who’d be like, ‘This is (expletive) shady,’” said Capaldi, who is friends with his former girlfriend.
When asked about his album being compared to Adele’s “21” — the colossal release that sent the Brit to superstardom but also brought attention to her ex — Capaldi said: “I think that’s why I maybe subconsciously sent [my ex] those songs.”
“Not that I was writing bad. She never did anything bad. It wasn’t like my relationship ending was a grand thing of like, ‘You cheated on me. I can’t believe it,’ ” he added. “It was just one of those things that fizzled out. It was a shame. That’s it.”
But as Capaldi worked on his debut effort — which since its May release has combined global streams exceeding 2 billion — he found himself wanting to write about topics outside of his relationship. He said while recording the album, he was having the best years of his life, but sad moments like his breakup and the death of family members stood out. So, he wrote about the topics.
His grandmother’s death fueled the lyrics behind his breakthrough anthem, the Grammy-nominated pop ballad “Someone You Loved,” which topped Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 chart.
“I didn’t cry when she died, which was very bizarre, and I remember being, like, always upset,” he said. “When you’re younger, your grandparents ... you know them just as, ‘Well this is my grandmother, she makes a great bowl of soup.’ ...You don’t really know them personally. You don’t start that until you are older, and you start to learn about their life. You learn beyond the old lady.”
“I was just getting to properly know you and you’re taken away. But I didn’t want to write a song like, ‘My gran’s dead.’ That’s very morbid,” he said.
Capaldi said his fans have been able to relate to the song in different ways, whether it’s the death of a family member or the demise of a romantic relationship.
“I think when people come up to me after the shows and say [the song reminds me of] ‘my brother who passed away’ or ‘a girl that I don’t see any longer’ — just all of that [stuff], that’s amazing,” he said.
SiriusXM believed in Capaldi early, first playing “Someone You Loved” in December 2018: “When we heard it we thought, ‘This is Ed Sheeran meets Adele with a very fresh, unique voice,’ ” said Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer at SiriusXM.
The music video for “Someone You Loved” — keep the tissues near — is focused on raising awareness about organ donation and stars the singer’s cousin, “Doctor Who” actor Peter Capaldi. And the rest of Capaldi’s album has similar emotion, hitting you in the gut with piercing lyrics anchored by his gravelly voice, which he honed by imitating Joe Cocker for years and years.
“I just love voices that felt like they punched you in the face, in the best way possible,” he said.