Photography: Jessica Grace Neal / @jgnphotography

Tom Grennan

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  • Zuzu
  • Elli Ingram
O2 Academy 20/10/18

Music is an incredible tool that young people have utilised for years. TOM GRENNAN may not be The Sex Pistols, but his message should resonate just as loudly. As a society troubled with political uncertainty, poor mental health (especially amongst young people), love and relationships bared for all on social media, young people need a new voice. We need honesty, unity. We have what we need; we have Tom Grennan.

This Bedford lad has flourished in recent years. Little By Little Love, one of the year’s best-selling tracks, is a song that brings to mind just about everyone I know that’s ever struggled in their younger years, and the support they were given. I sense that Grennan’s words of “carry on” are not solely dedicated to me on this very evening, but to a younger me. They’re dedicated to those that helped me and everyone that has ever been in a situation where they reject love. Honest and raw, his work connects people, evident as I look around this room.

“We’re all lonely people’, he says in Lighting Matches, but this Saturday night in the Academy, we are offered a break, a chance to connect with everyone around us, leaving feeling just that little less lonely. We’re lost together. My wrist is grabbed by a woman who is beaming, dancing freely. People seem truly happy.

Tom Grennan Image 3

At a time where male suicides are so prominent, with men accounting for three-quarters of UK suicides according to the BBC, Grennan unapologetically bares all. Standing on stage and stripping his shirt off. His accounts of love, loneliness and the everyday battles that young people face, makes opening up seem a lot less uncool, and a lot more attractive – to men and women alike. The man stood in front of us is emotional, but he is not a wreck, an embarrassment or any other word that ridiculous news outlets appear to label male vulnerability. The man stood in front of us is powerful and respected, and an utterly breathtaking performer.

Supported by the straight-talking ZUZU and the harmonious voice of ELLI INGRAM, Grennan is truly the cherry on the top of the cake tonight, but these artists will not be far behind him in the coming years. Honesty is a quality that is much needed in today’s climate: these guys have it in abundance.

Signing off with “I promise you this, I’m not going no-fucking’where”, Grennan’s determination is evident. He encapsulates what it is to be a young person today, to be faced by the absolute fear of being unable to find a place in society. Instead he’s taking his own path.

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