Musician, singer and songwriter Charlie Simpson has been playing guitar for most of his life. Having first ruled the pop charts with Brit Award winners, Busted, Simpson shocked pop fans and – most surprisingly – won approval and praise from rock critics w Win Back Your Ex You hen his next outfit, alternative rock band Fightstar, appeared in 2005. Now 26, and with Fightstar on Hiatus, Simpson is going solo with the release of his debut album, Young Pilgrim, released this week and gaining Simpson further critical praise.
Taking to the stage of The Borderline, in Soho, Simpson showcased material from his debut album, displaying pitch perfect vocals and an impressive range as he worked through his new work that straddles the folky frivolity of Mumford & Sons and the rockier elements of stadium gods, Coldplay. We were fortunate enough to get back stage for some quick fire questions after his performance.
Firstly – you are exceptionally tall – which we weren’t expecting. How tall are you?
Six foot four. So taller than most. People comment on it all the time. I did a radio tour recently around the country and the first thing everyone said was “you’re tall” [laughs]
Ok. Secondly – which is your favourite member of the Simpson family from popular animated TV show, The Simpsons?
I would have to say Homer. I love that show. It’s one of my favourite things.
How do you feel things went at your gig tonight?
It was really good, man. Finally the album is out so all the shows we’ve played up to this point, no one has heard the songs. But now the album is out and people have been able to live with it, it’s the first time I’ve been looking out and see people singing the words and it’s nice that it’s connecting with people.
What would you give yourself for tonight’s performance out of five stars?
Tonight? Erm… I can’t rate myself [consults his sessions drummer, Ruben – he suggest 4 stars] You see, there is always room for improvement.
Now that you’ve gone solo, what do you want to achieve that you couldn’t in your previous musical incarnations?
To be honest, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve in that I have made the album I wanted to make. So with regards to success, I’ve done my part and so whatever happens next is a bonus. I am very proud of the record I’ve made.
Who were your influences on the album?
I’ve always loved singer songwriters like Pete Yorn and a lot of 70s Americana stuff that I’ve always listened to so I guess that’s the stuff I would’ve drawn on when I am writing.
Will there be more solo material?
Definitely. I will definitely come back and make more stuff.
Young Pilgrim is out now
Interview: Seamus Duff