Less than a month away from his debut solo showcase here in Singapore, we spoke to former The Wanted (TW) member – Nathan Sykes – on surprising reactions he gets when people hear him sing, the food he wants to try in Singapore and the possibility of a future TW reunion.
We’re very excited for your debut solo performance in Singapore, can you give us a little teaser as to what we can expect from the show?
Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. It’s gonna be my debut solo performance in Singapore at A Rooftop Affair on 17 June 2017, which is really exciting. I absolutely love coming to Singapore, it’s one of my favourite places on the planet. I’m gonna do a really stripped back, intimate vocal performance, there’ll be lots of fan interaction and it’s going to be very laid back. I’ll be doing songs off my debut album, Unfinished Business, with a few songs on the piano and the guitar – we’re just gonna have fun.
You were last here three years ago in 2014. Was there something you wanted to do then but couldn’t, and are hoping to get the opportunity to do now?
Nathan: I don’t think it’s anything I necessarily wanted to do back then, but just to come and see old faces and see new faces. That really excites me, seeing people that supported The Wanted and people who didn’t support The Wanted, but now support me. I think meeting all these people and catching up with them, that’s the really exciting part. Oh actually, I do also want to visit Gardens by the Bay, I’ve been told that it’s the most incredible place so I’m hoping I can check that out ’cause I wanted to go last time but we didn’t get a chance to.
Singaporeans are known for our love for food, is there any particular dish that you’re looking forward to trying?
Nathan: Everyone talks about durian… I’ve never tried it. Is it nice?
It’s an acquired taste…
Nathan: That’s what everyone says! It always makes me nervous when people say that (laughs). But you know what, I think there’s always amazing food in Singapore. Like wherever you go, there’s always incredible food, so I’m very excited just to eat.
Most of your music videos have been pretty tame, but you went for the mature route in ‘Give It Up’. Do you think former boy band members feel the need to give fans something different in order to shed their ‘boy band’ image?
Nathan: I wouldn’t necessarily say that we do it to shake the boy band image, but music videos are a way of telling the story of the song. I always take music videos on a video by video basis. For example, with ‘Over and Over Again’, I wrote the video treatment on the same day that I wrote the song, and it just tells the story. Same with ‘Famous’, so I didn’t see a reason to change that with ‘Give It Up’, it’s just maybe a bit of a risqué storyline. So I don’t think it’s about shedding the boy band image, but rather to just mature and grow as artists through our writing and through our music.
You’re fairly active when it comes to interacting with your fans on Twitter (@NathanSykes), how important is it for you to maintain that connection with your fans?
Nathan: I think it’s always important. Social media’s brilliant especially when you do a show, you can go online straight after and thank people for coming, see if they had fun, etc. And I think it’s the little touches like that that make a really big difference. Social media can be used in the wrong way, especially when people can hide behind a computer sometimes and say mean things. But social media can be used very differently for an artist and when you’re interacting with your fans, it can really bring out the positive side of social media and I think it’s important that people do that.
There have been people who have said that they didn’t expect such a big powerful voice to come out of you when they first see you perform. How does it feel to be able to surprise people like that?
Nathan: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s always nice to surprise people and it’s always nice to hear people complimenting my vocals. I think specifically coming from a boy band, people wouldn’t expect me to be releasing the style of music that I’m releasing now, and writing the songs that I’m writing now. I’m writing songs that showcase my voice, and I find it quite funny sometimes when I see someone that has never heard me sing before and didn’t know my music and they’re literally go “wait, what?” – it’s really fun to surprise, and hopefully impress people at the same time.
Speaking of boy bands, The Wanted members have all been pursuing different paths. But do you think you’ll try your hand at something different (e.g. Jay McGuiness with his dancing), or just stick to singing?
Nathan: I was very proud of Jay when he did BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and his dancing was absolutely amazing. I was so surprised, so it’s always nice to see Jay doing well ’cause he’s just the nicest person and he was working so hard on that so that. As to whether or not I’ll do something like that, you’ll never know what’s around the corner. Obviously, I’m incredibly passionate about my song-writing and about music, but at the end of the day, I like entertaining people, and if there’s various ways that I can do that, you’ll never know what’s quite gonna happen. I’d never say no to the right opportunities.
We gotta ask, do you guys ever talk about a band reunion?
Nathan: No, not really. Cause I think everyone’s really happy at the moment, and as far as I know, everyone’s got stuff that they’re really excited about and that they’re working really hard on. And everyone’s kind of growing in different ways. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s never going to be a conversation about doing something together in the future. But it is important to not mislead people because it’s unfair when you do that. So it is important for me to say that there hasn’t been that particular conversation, everyone’s just very excited for each other and where their different paths are taking them.
Have you started working on the second album yet? If so, any hints on when we might hear new material from you?
Nathan: Yes, I have! I’ve been in the studio, well I’m always writing, especially when there’s stuff going on in your life that you need to write about – and I’ve had quite a lot so I needed to write. So yeah, I’ve been in the studio and it’s been a very exciting few months because of the music that I’ve been writing. As for when you guys can hear new material, I think as soon as I’ve got it ready, you guys will be able to hear it. But I don’t think it’s gonna be too long, which is really exciting.
We definitely can’t wait to see what Nathan has in store for us in the future! In the meantime, check out how you can redeem tickets to watch Nathan perform at MyVillage’s ‘A Rooftop Affair’ on 17 June 2017 here!