Tom Grennan: I didn’t know I could sing until I was 18

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read
Tom Grennan was pursuing a career in football before he found he could sing (Getty Images)
Tom Grennan was pursuing a career in football before he found he could sing (Getty Images)

Tom Grennan’s most surreal moment in his music career so far was when his hit record Found What I’ve Been Looking For was not only included on the game, FIFA 18, but also chosen as the theme song for Super Sunday on Sky Sports.

For someone who’s football-mad, it was a dream come true, however, Grennan, who is now 25, didn’t even know he could sing until he was 18. Speaking with Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, he revealed that his singing was a whole new departure for him.

“I used to play football so I thought I would be playing football and that was my dream,” he told Thornton.

“It wasn't until I was like 18, I kind of picked up the microphone and started singing, so to have my music on something like football was a dream come true.”

Read more: 'Toxic behaviour' cut from goal celebrations in FIFA 21

The singer, who was signed to Luton Town at one point, said that he genuinely didn’t know he could sing before that age – partly because his friends would have teased him, but also because it wasn’t something that he just didn’t do.

“When I was growing up, if I was to sing, I'd probably get ripped the hell out off, so, I didn't think of it,” he laughed.

“I didn't really hang around with the music boys in school or the music girls in school, so, it was never a part of me. So yeah, it wasn't until I was that age where I kind of picked up a microphone at a party and just did it. It was crazy!”

The other thing that propelled the Bedford-born singer into music was that his football career was faltering.

Read more: Tom Grennan on how singing has changed his life

“What stopped the football career was – I could lie and say it was a knee injury – but I just didn't get better at football,” he admitted.

“I kind of peaked when I was like 15. There were boys coming from like Arsenal and Tottenham and coming to Luton and they were just better than me and I just didn't get better.”

He continued: “And that's where music then fell into place. I was like, 'This is so much better - I can drink!'”

After performing with a school band for their A-level exam, Grennan knew that music was in his blood. Desperate to get to London to pursue his career, he decided to study acting at St. Mary's University in Twickenham, where he ditched the drinking to concentrate on performing and writing his music.

“I kind of like hibernated for a year at uni, I didn't really do the fresher stuff,” he told Thornton.

“I was in my room, practicing, playing guitar - and that's when I started writing. Then in my second year I went out and got loads of gigs. I knocked on doors trying to get open mike nights or support bands or play in this pub or whatever.

Read more: Tom Grennan says 'temptation' in relationships inspired his latest track

“Then in my third year, luckily enough, a record label was in a pub - and I got kind of signed from there.”

While he’s collaborated with the likes of Chase & Status and Bugzy Malone, Grennan says he has one person he’d love to work with – Elton John – and there’s one particular tune of his he wished he’d written.

“Oh, it's just a party tune isn't it?” he said of the classic I’m Still Standing. “If I'm feeling like I can't get out of bed, I shout 'Alexa - play I'm Still Standing.' Elton is just one of my heroes - he's just unbelievable!”

Hear Tom Grennan, alongside pal Vick Hope, talk about their favourite songs, the worst jobs they’ve done and their hopes for the future on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.