Calum Scott's path to success has been far from typical. After landing a surprise hit in 2016 with his independently-released cover of Robyn's Dancing On My Own - a track that got him to the final of Britain's Got Talent the previous year - he then signed a major label deal with Capitol Records. It was only then that he began discovering the type of artist he wanted to be.
Meeting up with him two years on at his label's offices, it's clear he's confidently carved out his own niche. For his debut album Only Human - released in March this year - he wrote more than 70 songs; the final set a candid collection of songs that found a loyal fanbase. As well as reaching Number 2 on the Official Singles Chart with Dancing On My Own, follow-up track You Are The Reason has notched up 350 million views. Only Human also currently stands as the UK's best-selling album of 2018 by a male artist.
A newly-released special edition of the record sees Calum delve even deeper emotionally, including a song called No Matter What that addresses his sexuality and coming out story.
"When I was writing the album, it wasn’t about writing an album, it was just about writing great songs," Scott explains. "I was still trying to learn my craft as a songwriter. I’d never really written a song before and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say. When I started writing, the songs became very honest."
No Matter What, he says, was written in early recording sessions for the album but he didn't feel comfortable including it on the original album. "The first sentiment that came to my head [in the writing process] was the positives and the negatives of me coming out. It just became really therapeutic, to get it all out and write it all down.
"No Matter What wasn’t something I was necessarily going to release. I knew it would touch people’s hearts but it brought back all that fear of coming out. Not a lot of people sing about this particular issue, and I thought, ‘are people going to think of me differently?’ The thought of releasing it was really scary."
He continues: "Anyone in the LGBT community knows that you don’t come out just once. You are coming out all the time. There’s still a lot of work to do but we’re getting to that point where acceptance is run-of-the-mill and normal. As much as I’m trying to change attitudes with my music, it's still terrifying to know that this song is going to be judged."
Scott also admits that his initial reluctance to release the song was to avoid being tagged as "the gay singer". I had [a similar] identity confusion when I went on Britain’s Got Talent because I didn’t just want to be known as ‘the BGT auditionee’. As much as I’m grateful for that platform, I did want to be known as an artist and I did work really hard to change that perception. I think when I released You Are The Reason, that really stamped it down that I am to be considered seriously.
"Because I had such an issue with my sexuality, it was the most liberating thing to release No Matter What was a single. Yes, you are going to have people who say ‘he’s the gay singer’, but I’m trying to inspire confidence, compassion and understanding and that means a lot to me.”
Calum Scott's Only Human: Special Edition is out now.