Singer/songwriter Calum Scott dives into the depths of his achingly intimate and beautifully raw sophomore album ‘Bridges,’ a stirring testament to inner strength, honesty, and the power of love.
for fans of Adele, James Arthur, Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Sam Smith
Stream: ‘Bridges’ – Calum Scott
I had to stand by this as a record that I hoped would help change or save someone’s life.
Achingly intimate and beautifully raw, Calum Scott’s sophomore album is a stirring testament to resilience, vulnerability, and the power of love: To embracing our faults and our flaws, being open, honest, and true to ourselves, and finding the strength to soldier on with our heads held high. Stunningly cinematic and emotionally charged, Bridges is the truest representation of Scott to date: An inspiring, energizing, and impassioned outpouring and upheaval coming from a heavy, unapologetic heart.
I waved the white flag I, gave all I had
I’d even given up on love itself, mm-hmm
Soaked by my tears I was, choked by my fears
Just a stubborn man too proud to ask for help
You don’t know those words you said
Were the ones that pulled me from the edge
Oh, I used to walk on bridges with one thing on my mind
Do I wanna live or do I wanna die?
Staring at the waters while trying to decide
Between the pain that I’ve been living with
or the pain I’d leave behind
Or the dеmons I’ve been fighting on,
the angels by my sidе
– “Bridges,” Calum Scott
Out June 17, 2022 via Capitol Records, Bridges released earlier this summer as multi-platinum singer/songwriter Calum Scott’s long-awaited sophomore album. A tender triumph of the artist’s heart and soul, Bridges arrives over four years after Scott’s landmark debut album Only Human, which has amassed over 7.5 billion total global streams, landed at No. 1 on the iTunes album charts in over 20 countries, and has been certified platinum or gold in 21 countries.
“Although every song evidently strongly relates to Calum’s personal life, the album’s relatability remains ever-present,” Atwood Magazine‘s Luke Pettican wrote at the time. “Only Human approaches pop music in a refreshing, original way… you can feel every ounce of emotion ooze from his voice. Although his audience is diverse and international, they’re all connected by the affinity they feel for brutal honesty and emotion Scott displays in his work.”
“I am proud of how the songs have travelled and resonated and how they continue to [do so] to this date,” Scott himself says of his debut, looking back now through the lens of having made two albums. Such a massively successful album leaves a long shadow, and Scott admits to feeling some pressure as he initially set about creating his next major release.
“It was terrifying writing a second album because I had set a bar and had no idea of how to raise that other than to do what came naturally,” he says. “I did feel at times when writing and recording that I was working in the shadow of Only Human and its success, but I had to almost take that out of my periphery and work on this like it was my last album. I think that definitely helped me channel my focus and get this record done without feeling intimidated by my last one.” Scott goes on to call Bridges an “honest, brave, and liberating” album – both because of what it meant for him to make it, and because of the subject matter within the songs themselves.
Hotel rooms, me and you
No words to say, so we laid there
I kinda just wished that we’d stayed there
Record straight, you were safe
I was the one needing savin’
You were too scared of the cravin’
I pulled away ’cause the pain’s too strong
And you were sayin’ that we don’t belong
You’re gonna lose me if you wait too long
Tell me what am I to do with this?
I was right at your fingertips
I’m movin’ on, but it’s you I miss
A candid storyteller at his best when he’s spilling his heart out, Scott once again found his voice channeling poignant personal experiences into meaningful life lessons.
Rather than having one singular overarching theme – perhaps you could categorize everything under “everyday survival” and being human”? – Bridges inspires through magnifying life’s little moments. Whether he’s reckoning with dark moments in his past, learning to accept himself, embracing his sexuality, working through trauma, or moving on from heartbreak and lost love, Scott brings us deeper than ever into his own inner sanctum – and in doing so, offers a soundtrack we can take with us for all of life’s harder, challenging times.
For every dark moment, there’s a Calum Scott song that looks to the light: From the album’s bittersweet, anthemic opener “Biblical” and its soulful expression of an unquantifiable love – “a love beyond description or measure, a love of biblical proportions that transcends everyone and everything,” Scott previously shared – to its heartfelt closer “Bridges,” a song so personal and painful that for a long time, Scott didn’t want to release it all.
“I was still all those years later embarrassed and ashamed that there was a time when I was questioning whether or not to carry on living with the pain I had in my life, but seeing how well received and life changing my music had become to people all over the world I knew I had to have it on this record,” he explains. “Not only that, but I had to make it the title of the album: I had to stand by this as a record that I hoped would help change or save someone’s life.”
Highlights abound in-between these two rousing bookends; tracks like the heartache-fueled “If You Ever Change Your Mind,” the gentle tearjerker ballad “Flaws,” the uplifting love song “Heaven,” and the euphoric, self-empowered “Rise” showcase the depths and breadth of Scott’s creative spirit.
Without a doubt, Bridges holds true to its name as a source of connection and support.
“I want it to be someone’s story, and that means putting enough of myself into the music as I can to make it personal, but making sure that people can hear these songs and own them as their own stories,” Scott shares. “Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason, a reassuring hug, a motivational push, to dance like no one is watching or to cry your eyes out… Each of these songs is an experience lived by me, and I won’t be the first and I definitely won’t be the last, so I just hope it reassures that we all feel, we all get down, but we can all get through it together.”
In good company with such acclaimed contemporary English singer/songwriters as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, James Bay, and James Arthur, Calum Scott is not afraid to give his full self in song. Bridges is a beautiful triumph and a worthy sophomore effort – one in which inner strength and unapologetic honesty inevitably win over hard times, even when the road is long.
Learn more about Calum Scott’s Bridges in our interview below, and listen to the new album where you get your music.
I’ve poured everything I have into this album, I’ve been the most honest I can be on this record and I’m unbelievably proud that it’s finally yours.
A CONVERSATION WITH CALUM SCOTT
Atwood Magazine: Calum, Thank you so much for your time today! I want to start by reflecting on your debut, Only Human. How has your relationship with this album evolved over the past 4 years, and what place does it hold for you now?
Calum Scott: I am so proud of this album, especially having written two now. It makes me appreciate the infancy of that part of my career – not knowing what was involved in making an album, the blood sweat and tears, having no expectations or having no bar set. I am proud of how the songs have travelled and resonated and how they continue to to this date.
Last we spoke, you told us how you started becoming more honest with your songwriting, and that it felt just like therapy. Does that hold true for you still?
Calum Scott: All of my songs hold a piece of me in them. It is always therapeutic for me to write songs, some are deeper and more painful than others but all of them have some of my life experience or my emotions in them. On this album, I added a song that I never thought I’d share with the world but I believe in its message so strongly, I knew I had to put it on, especially if someone else who is in that place hears that song and takes comfort from it. If that happens it makes me feel like as a songwriter, I have done my job.
You’ve been writing songs for a long time now; in that same interview, you shared that it changed your life. Beyond being a means of making a living, what role does songwriting play in your life?
Calum Scott: Songwriting has definitely changed my life. Songs like ‘You Are The Reason’ and ‘No Matter What’ for example I feel has given my artistry layers beyond me having covered Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’. After having a hit with my version of that song, I did wonder whether that would be my biggest success and that it would be all I was known for, but I have managed to resonate with my audience across two albums now which makes me incredibly grateful and has allowed me to continue my dream job.
Are there any examples of songs you wrote for Bridges that exemplify that (the above)?
Calum Scott: I think on Bridges definitely the title song seems to have struck a chord with people. “Biblical” has become a bit of a fan favourite alongside “If You Ever Change Your Mind,” and even though I didn’t write it, “Boys In The Street” has been one that hits deepest. Whether it’s writing music or interpreting it, I just want to help people.
What was your vision going into this record? Did that change over the course of recording this?
Calum Scott: It was terrifying writing a second album because I had set a bar and had no idea of how to raise that other than to do what came naturally. I did feel at times when writing and recording that I was working in the shadow of Only Human and its success, but I had to almost take that out of my periphery and work on this like it was my last album. I think that definitely helped me channel my focus and get this record done without feeling intimidated by my last one.
Whether it’s writing music or interpreting it, I just want to help people.
Why the title “Bridges”?
Calum Scott: It was already such a huge conflict in my head of whether to include this song on the album. I was still all those years later embarrassed and ashamed that there was a time when I was questioning whether or not to carry on living with the pain I had in my life, but seeing how well received and life changing my music had become to people all over the world I knew I had to have it on this record. Not only that, but I had to make it the title of the album: I had to stand by this as a record that I hoped would help change or save someone’s life.
There are various interpretations of what Bridges means to people too, which I wanted to keep open. Bridges between myself and my fans, bridges built, bridges over troubled water.. I want it to be someone’s story, and that means putting enough of myself into the music as I can to make it personal, but making sure that people can hear these songs and own them as their own stories.
''Didn't know that I'd fall so hard that my feet left the ground,'' you sing on the album's cinematic opener, ''Biblical.'' What does this song mean to you, and why open with it?
Calum Scott: “Biblical” was a song that helped me out of a darker time. I was in a place where I had given up making the second album and had lost motivation and drive and passion to complete due to what was going on in the world. My producer who stayed close to me during that time had sent me this idea he was working on with James Bay, Corey Sanders and Jon Green and told me he knew it would be something I would love – he wasn’t wrong. Hearing a lyric like ‘I want to have it all with you’ reinvigorated my passion for writing music and gave me what I needed to finish the record.
I love the euphoric, self-empowered spirit of ''Rise,'' and apparently so do millions of other people. I'd love to dive deeper into it: What does this song mean to you?
Calum Scott: “Rise” was the only other song I had managed to write during lockdown in the UK. Again, I was frustrated at where the world was at and having been confined in my own home like millions around the world for so long, I wanted that fire and that determination back so I had set about writing a song that was going to exist way beyond circumstances at the time and could be used as someone’s anthem to just seize the day, to get up after being beaten down by life, dust themselves off, put their best foot forward and march on. I have always been a fan of motivational speaking, giving people the realisation that they have had the power there all along, they just needed to be believed in and I feel that ‘Rise’ helped me believe in myself again and I hope people hear the emotions that I embed on the track to hopefully inspire others of the same!
I also love that you covered Greg Holden’s “Boys in the Street.” I had the pleasure of talking to Greg extensively about that song upon its release. I’d love to hear about this song’s personal significant for you, too: What’s your relationship with it, and what inspired you to record your own version of it?
Calum Scott: I had heard “Boys In The Street” years ago whilst in a songwriting session with my good friend Hayley Warner (who I also wrote “Give Me Something” with and my current single “Heaven”). It was the first song that had made me cry on a first listen – a song that embodied the pain and the struggle often felt in an LGBTQ+ person’s journey but also the tragically beautiful compassion and understanding at the end. I had wanted to cover the song for some time but hadn’t quite managed to capture the magic needed for a song as important as this.
After completing the album, it gave me the time and opportunity to hone in on this, and in this time I had managed to record a beautiful version that I feel perfectly captured both our art. Having shared this with Greg, I had asked his blessing to include it on my album and was proud to say he was more than happy to oblige. It is one of my proudest moments on the album which I am more than happy to say is already changing lives!
As a lyrically forward artist, do you have any favorite lyrics in these songs?
Calum Scott: All of my favourite lyrics of each of my songs can be found handwritten into the booklet of my album/vinyl. I thought it was important to include them instead of a lyric book; it feels more personal that way.
What do you hope listeners take away fromBridges? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?
Calum Scott: I just hope Bridges brings something to the listener. Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason, a reassuring hug, a motivational push, to dance like no one is watching or to cry your eyes out… Each of these songs is an experience lived by me, and I won’t be the first and I definitely won’t be the last, so I just hope it reassures that we all feel, we all get down, but we can all get through it together.
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📸 © Tom Cockram
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