Search This Blog

Saint Raymond

February 2015

The Saint Raymond story begins with his family. Even his name is a tribute to his paternal grandfather, Raymond Burrows, a Nottingham bus driver who died before rising music star had reached his teens.
“I liked the idea of using Saint something,” says Callum Burrows, now 19, of the street name in Bramcote where he grew up.
“But you can’t put Saint in front of your own name because that’s kind of a big-headed thing to do.
“Sometimes people do think my name is Raymond but most know who I am, what I do, what I had for dinner because the way social media is.”
Adding Saint to his grandfather’s surname was by way of a tribute to a man who had an influence on the youngster, much like the rest of his family.
Callum grew up with an older sister and two older brothers and was exposed to their music tastes from an early age.
“I saw Oasis at the Arena when I was about seven; it must have been one of the last tours they did. At 11 or 12 I started playing the guitar and getting into bands like The Kooks and going to my first gigs. I remember seeing The Maccabees at the Rescue Rooms who had Mumford and Sons supporting them, which was pretty weird because they went on to headline Glastonbury.
“I saw Dizzee Rascal at Rock City when I was 14... I was going to whatever gigs I could.”
It was at 14 that he started playing open mic nights, his first was at The Maze just off Mansfield Road.
He recalls: “A friend of mine was in a band and I just played a set before them. It was actually quite busy although I did many a gig at the Maze where there were just two people there.”
He continued slogging it around the city gig circuit with his guitar, playing around two shows a week.
His talent was noticed by a music scene that was just starting to get national attention, with major label signings for the likes of Natalie Duncan, Liam Bailey, then, most significantly, Jake Bugg.
Two years ago he signed to Asylum Records, part of the Atlantic group, home to Ed Sheeran, who Callum spent nine weeks on the road with at the end of last year playing arenas across the UK and Europe.
Prior to the record deal he’d released his debut EP on chart-topping singer Gabrielle Aplin’s own label and reached the Top 25 on the iTunes chart. He also toured with Aplin, the voice behind the No. 1 single The Power Of Love, as featured on the John Lewis Christmas campaign TV ad.
“She was really supportive,” he recalls.
As was Zane Lowe on Radio 1 and rapper Example, who he is still in touch with.
“He’s always been there on the end of the phone to talk to and text. He’s been wicked. He’s really funny.”
The same year he played the Reading and Leeds Festivals, toured the UK and Europe supporting Haim and had his own sold out tour, including Nottingham’s The Bodega.
The momentum built in 2014 with two more iTunes hits, more national radio support and an impromptu slot at Glastonbury.

“I’d gone with my drummer just to enjoy it. Normally when you are playing them you don’t get to enjoy the festival experience, so it was nice to just go along to have some fun.
“But I bumped into my radio plugger and he said that London Grammar had just dropped out, ‘do you fancy playing a set tomorrow?’ I was drunk so I said yes. I got an early night, rocked up to the stage the next day and they said ‘OK, it’ll be live on Radio 1’”, he laughs.
A bigger gig, or 37 of them, was to come with the Ed Sheeran tour that ran across the UK and Europe and saw him facing crowds of up to 20,000 people.
“I’m usually kind of chilled before shows but I must admit I was pretty overwhelmed by it to start with.
“It’s harder to see faces in arenas so you don’t realise how many people there are... not until the moment in the set where we got everyone to light up their phones. That freaked me out a little bit.”
And how was Britain’s biggest-selling artist of 2014?
“Ed was great. He’d come by the dressing room and ask how it was going, we’d text each other... he’s really down to earth.”
Being away from home for over two months wasn’t easy for the son of a teaching assistant and a salesman, who admits to being quite “homey”.
He says: “Nine weeks is a long time to be with anyone; even if you are married, so it was hard being on a tour bus with the same people every day. But you learn each other’s boundaries.
“I like to sit by myself with my laptop and listen to music, play XBox... I take myself away from it all. That’s what I’d do at home and I think the trick is to install as much of home life into tour life.”
His band are like an extended family. The bassist is his brother-in-law, who was in a band with the drummer.
“Me and him went to Glastonbury and Ibiza together,” he says.
“It has never felt like me and session players. We get along in the dressing and we hang out together.”
Although he has been in search of a new guitarist for the upcoming tour, since his original one quit.
His elder siblings have long flown the nest so when he comes home to Bramcote it’s just him, mum, dad and the dog. And he loves it.
“When I was living at home I just wanted to go out all the time,” he says.
“And by the time I reached 16 I wanted to move to London but then I spent six months going down there working from Monday to Friday... now I just love being at home.”
His fans on Twitter know his mum, Diane, who goes under the name Momma Burrows, as she is a prolific tweeter.
“I was interviewed by Jo Whiley on Radio 2 and she spent most of the time asking me about my mum,” he laughs.
Callum is at home now working on new material, including a song for the soundtrack of an upcoming British film called Kill Your Friends, starring  Nicholas Hoult and James Corden.
He’s already had songs featured on computer games, TV and film, including an advert for ITV Player and Us comedy This Is Where I Leave You, which starred Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.
“My mum collects cuttings from papers and magazines and records all the shows. She’s like ‘you were on Hollyoaks, hang on let me find it,” he laughs.
This month he will be on a headline tour of the UK that includes a sell-out show at Rock City.
“Every year me and my manager do a bucket list and playing Rock City was on it but when he talked about booking it I thought ‘no, I’ll never sell-out Rock City’. Just because I’ve seen so many big artists here. I didn’t think it would happen, so I can’t believe it’s sold out.”
Not that’ll there’ll be any nerves taking to that legendary stage.
“When I came home after the arena tour with Ed, I came to Rock City to see Years and Years supporting Clean Bandit... and it felt so small. But I love Rock City gigs. I like that you can see people texting or whatever. An arena is an amazing experience but it’s a different feeling to playing here.”
After the tour he has no idea what will be happening.
“I honestly don’t know what I’m doing next week. Plans are constantly changing; which is great, you just enjoy the ride. But the down side is that you can’t, say, book a holiday with your mates because you don’t know if you’ll be free.
“Not that I’m complaining.”
The key event will be the long-awaited release of his debut album.
“You only release your first album once so you’ve got to be so sure with the timing. I’d love to release it tomorrow but you can’t get it out there for the sake of getting it out there.
“But it’ll definitely be this year. I’d like to hope it’ll be in the next six months.”

Saint Raymond plays Rock City on February 11. Sold out. For more about him visit Follow him on Twitter: @Callum_SR.

Bugg and Burrows
Mention Jake Bugg and Callum Burrows, aka Saint Raymond, will stifle a sigh but the parallels with Nottingham’s biggest music star are numerous.
Both started out at the age of 14 playing opens mic nights at city pubs and venues with an acoustic guitar.
Although he turns 21 this month, Callum’s Clifton counterpart was, like him, 18 when he signed his record deal.
Both were given a helping hand by a major British music star on a tour of Europe. In Jake’s case it was Noel Gallagher, while Callum spent two months on the road with Ed Sheeran.
They are the only two Nottinghamshire musicians to sell-out Rock City’s main hall. This month, Saint Raymond will play the 1,950 capacity venue, two years to the week that Jake Bugg did the same.
And both are Notts County fans.
“Around the UK I do get asked about Jake Bugg, or he gets mentioned in interviews because of the Nottingham connection,” he says.
“And that’s nice because there’s a real vibe about Nottingham now. But we’re in different genres.”
True enough, while Bugg trawls Sixties and Seventies rock, blues, country and folk, Saint Raymond is more of a contemporary, anthemic indie pop artist.
It doesn’t help when we meet at Rock City that he makes a throwaway remark about meeting Cara Delevingne, the supermodel and gossip column regular who Bugg dated for a period.
“I played Call Of Duty with her,” he laughs.
“It was at a random game launch party. They invite a lot of people to test the game and tweet about it. I was with my mate, who knew how much I loved her, and he said ‘do you know Cara Delevingne is here?’. I thought he was joking. But she was sat next to me.
“I was about to leave and she said right let’s all have one big game against each other.”
He pauses, before adding with a grin: “She’s... interesting.”

No comments:

Post a Comment