Atwood Magazine speaks to UK singer/songwriter Waiting for Smith on his latest single “Long Life,” filming the visuals for it in Madrid and life in lockdown.
UK singer-songwriter Waiting for Smith knows what it feels like to hit rock bottom and yet here he is today, singing about the importance of keeping your chin up and focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess it takes recovering from a devastating ski accident, breaking your back in two places and coming out the other side, to truly understand how we shouldn’t take things for granted.
Now, with a smile on his face and guitar in his hands, Waiting for Smith wants to share his experiences with the world and let them know that when you’re down in the dumps, always remain hopeful and everything will be ok. His latest single “Long Life” is the perfect uplifting anthem to portray this message.
Inspiring, story-telling lyrics, giddy melodies, and vibrant instrumentation create a pleasurable listening experience while delicate string arrangements emanate summer vibes and get us fantasizing over all those future vacations. The eccentric visuals further reinforce these happy-go-lucky emotions. In two minutes and 36 seconds, we see singer Harry Lloyd explore the depths of Madrid, meeting locals and witnessing the laid-back Spanish lifestyle.
Something particularly poignant during our current times and hard to imagine with the city being in complete lockdown. In fact, the video and narrative of “Long Life” couldn’t be timelier. The positive track is needed more than ever before and delivers a welcomed sense of encouragement and optimism.
Atwood Magazine spoke to Waiting for Smith about the filming of the new video, how he’s coping in isolation, and his start in music.
I don’t know where to go, I‘ve got ten people I know
Stuck in sticky stuff, it gets tricky when you’re low
It’s a long life, when you don’t know where to go
Happiness a charm is more complex than your palm.
Everybody yearns for some, but nobody’s calm
It’s a long life, to sing a sad song
So try variety and sample every grain of rice.
Have you tried variety? I heard it tastes nice.
It’s long life, So sample every spice
Listen: “Long Life” – Waiting for Smith
A CONVERSATION WITH WAITING FOR SMITH
Atwood Magazine: Your new music video “Long Life” was filmed in Madrid only a few weeks prior to lockdown. Who came up with the idea to film there and what was the outcome you hoped to achieve?
Waiting for Smith: One evening last year, I got a message from a friend living in Spain saying “Nice work dude.” He’d sent a link to the El Cortes Ingles advert, so I clicked on it. The music sounded strangely familiar to me…then I realised it was “Long Life!” At first, I thought I was dreaming because it was late at night. But then it sunk in that they had used my song on their campaign and I started laughing with joy.
The traction generated by the ad made it feel like the song’s heart was now in Spain. So, over a cup of green tea in north London, the producer Debbie Turner and I decided to shoot in Madrid, with its classic architecture and beautiful surrounding countryside. And the fact that the song was being shared around Spain felt like it was meant to be.
Do you think the video holds more of a meaning now than ever before, particularly as it displays life in Madrid prior to what’s going on currently?
Waiting for Smith: Of course, we had no idea we’d be in this situation when we shot it, but it does seem to have touched a chord with people. Even so, the message is universal – try not to worry too much about your troubles, about what you have or haven’t achieved, because you’ve got a lot more time than you think. That’s certainly true now! So take the time to discover what you really love – because money comes and goes but everyone (if they’re lucky) gets old. So, as long as you’re in good health, this is maybe the perfect time to take that time.
You experienced a traumatic event of breaking your back in two places during avalanche training as a ski instructor. Your time spent in recovery was when you realised that a career in music was the path you wanted to follow. Do you think you would have never explored that route if it wasn’t for your accident?
Waiting for Smith: I believe I would always have done music – in my spare time out in the Alps, I used to play the piano in bars for a steak and a beer. But I don’t think I’d ever have fully gone for it. Breaking my back was the big jolt I needed to wake me up. It helped me realise what I should do with my life. The first thought I had after I heard my spine go was “Fuck I’ve broken my back.” The second, lying on the stretcher waiting for the helicopter to come, was “Oh wait, that’s great, I can do music!” It was my accident that made me find my focus.
Watch: “Long Life” – Waiting for Smith
How is Waiting for Smith coping with isolation? Do you have any tips for fellow musicians who are struggling with the loneliness and sudden inability to carry out your normal routine?
Waiting for Smith: I’m actually doing okay but I already spent 9 months in bed with myself after my accident. We’re out in the country; so I’m feeling very grateful just to be able to walk about. I left London when things started to kick off and I think a lot more about how other people are coping there than myself. My hope is this video will bring a smile to their faces. My main tip for isolation would be to think of it as a gift, not a disaster.
Use the space to find out what truly makes you happy. Then when, hopefully, things return to normal you can bring that into your everyday life. As a musician, find a way of connecting to as many other musicians as you can. Joining an online community can help you stay in the loop and feel supported. My last tip would be that feta cheese goes with everything.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?
Waiting for Smith: I’m quite tempted to take to the streets with a megaphone to tell people they can achieve anything. That’s what I aim to do with my music, I want people to feel hopeful when listening to Waiting for Smith.
Lastly, tell us what is next for Waiting for Smith?
Waiting for Smith: Fingers crossed there’ll be a few festivals later this summer, but I’m taking each day as it comes. Live streaming every Wednesday evening, and answering hundreds of really nice messages from people saying the music helps them feel better. The next big thing for Waiting for Smith is, I can’t wait to have a proper pizza. Margarita Di Bufala – It makes me so happy.
? © Naomie Laan
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