Tommy Reilly
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Tommy Reilly

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Band Alternative Acoustic


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Gimme a call No 14 UK singles chart.
Words on the floor Album release date 09/21/09
Received extensive coverage on TV and radio in UK
New Album to be released 14 June 2010, 'HELLO! I'm Tommy Reilly'. Single, 'Take me away for the night' released on 7th June 2010 on Euphonios Records.




Tommy Reilly can’t remember when he first got mobbed at a gig, even though it was, at most, four months ago. One minute he was struggling to get 20 people to come and see one of his performances at a Glasgow pub. The next he was doing sold-out tours across Scotland and packing out London’s Proud Galleries. Venues were forced to draft in extra security to hold back the tide of eager fans. Bernard Butler – the Brit Award-winning producer of the year – was bowled over just as quickly. Let’s get this kid with the head full of tunes in the studio, quicksmart…

Welcome to a new kind of myspace sensation. A self-taught singer-songwriter from smalltown Scotland. A 20-year-old who – literally – was an overnight, Top-20-in-the-charts hit following the release of his speedily-recorded debut single Gimme A Call earlier this year. A one-man pop-machine, churning out songs on his piano, his guitar, his harmonica, his phone. Welcome to the life of Reilly. He’s unlucky in love but jeez he’s lucky with tunes.

‘I start off writing a tiny wee story,’ says Tommy. Maybe it’s about being in a club, or a car, or a party. Maybe it’s about being with a girl, or without a girl. ‘And then I build on that. And then hope as it goes out the way it’ll make sense as something bigger. Little details are the heart of it. And by talking about the little things, putting together a jigsaw, the whole vibe of what I was trying to say comes out.’

And the melodies? Tommy doesn’t have to think about those at all. They just pour out of him, unbidden, natural, fresh, honest, BIG.

Tommy Reilly grew up in Torrance, a small town outside Glasgow. ‘It’s the greatest thing in the world,’ he says of his home, a small community surrounded by fields but only ten minutes by car from Scotland’s biggest city.
He started taking piano lessons and writing tunes before he was ten.

‘I was obsessed,’ he says of his childhood, cheerfully ignorant self. ‘I wanted to know, where did the tunes come from? Don’t give me sheet music, I want to make them up. Who’s making up the tunes on the adverts and telly shows? Who’s the guy who does that? Is it one guy? Where are they coming from?’

In his early teens he saw Oasis at T In The Park. It blew his mind. It was the first band he loved. *There* was the guy who wrote the tunes – Don’t Look Back In Anger was his favourite – up there on that massive stage, making all these thousands of people go bananas. That’s what Tommy wanted to do. ‘It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Being in a band, playing guitar, looked like the best fun in the world.’

Back home the next day a mate lent him a copy of (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory, and he pinched his dad’s old acoustic guitar. ‘I decided to learn how to play all the songs on that album. I had a few guitar lessons but mainly I would just lock myself up in my room and sit up all night practising. I did that for a long time.’

Despite the constant practice Tommy managed to get into Glasgow University to study electronics and music. Up till now a secret songwriter, eventually plucked up the courage to perform in public. He attended the weekly open-mic sessions at Glasgow pub Oran Mor. It was a steep learning curve.

Tommy resolved to write a new song each week, the better to keep up with his new musician peers. An early breakthrough was Jackets, his next single. ‘That was the first time I ever finished a song and liked it straight away’. A bouncy, jump-around song it is, like so many of his songs, about being unlucky – or unsure – in love. ‘I liked this girl but I didn’t know if I liked her enough. It was an on and off relationship. If I kept it going there was gonna be trouble in the future. I end up getting hurt, she gets hurt, everyone gets hurt. Or am I over thinking it? It was one of those ones…’

Gradually he became more confident, got louder and louder. He liked being a solo performer, liked being in control, being able to respond to the audience’s mood – if a slow one wasn’t working, he could quickly step into a fast one, like Grab Me By The Collar, a harmonica-deploying song that suggests The View if they had bucketfuls of soul.

Last summer Tommy decided he was happy with enough of his songs. He entered the Orange Unsigned talent contest. He was up against 50 other acts, his songs being judged by a panel drawn from the media and music industries. It would be an arduous, drawn-out process, heat after heat, performance after performance. Tommy didn’t mind – he just wanted to play his songs for new people.

He spent the next six months shuttling up and down to London, often pepped up to the eyeballs on Red Bull, very often bored as he waited his turn - one man and his guitar (and a tattered copy of NME that he read cover to cover. And then, when he’d read it, he scribbled a song in its pages, a song about being bored. Tommy’s that kind of writer, instinctive, immediate…)

Finally, in January this year, Tommy Reilly