Richard Hawley interview ahead of his gig at Hull City Hall
He hates awards ceremonies and couldn't care less about missing out on a Brit, but Richard Hawley is bothered about nailing his gig in Hull. Katy Forrester reports ...
H e's one of the most outspoken musicians of his generation. And, ahead of his Hull City Hall gig this month, he's once again blurted out his opinion, this time, about the Brits.
Richard Hawley has no time for the associated airs and graces that accompany glitzy award shows.
After being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and British Male Solo Artist at this year's Brits, he didn't bat an eyelid.
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He missed out on the music prize once more, and as nominees filled up their champagne glasses at the O2 Arena this week, Hawley was nowhere to be seen.
Instead he'd chosen to stick to his work commitments and play a gig in Bristol, refusing to change the date "just for an awards ceremony".
After-all, it's only full of "fat white men in badly fitting suits", he says.
Hawley once sparked up a cigarette to try to get kicked out of the Brits, but his plan backfired when everyone else started puffing away indoors, too.
"People thought I was a rebel and joined in but I just wanted to get out of there," he laughed.
"It's nice for my name to be on the list but I don't do what I do to win awards."
He was up against the likes of Olly Murs, Ben Howard, Plan B and Calvin Harris, most of whom he'd never really heard of – apart from Plan B, who he says is "very sincere" and "really good at what he does".
It was never a bad thing for his name to be added to the list, especially at the age of 46, he says, but he was never going to win.
In typical down-to-earth fashion, he said had more chance of seeing the Queen's breasts than winning a Brit Award.
And it was scooped on the night by singer and guitarist Ben Howard, who also picked up a gong for British Breakthrough Act.
But Richard is by no means bitter, and he said the critical acclaim he's received in the past 12 months has been "totally unexpected", along with a high chart position for his latest album – Standing On The Sky's Edge. He said: "With the album going in at number three and other extremes like breaking my leg on tour – that was pretty weird – on the whole it's been an exceptional year."
His latest album, which was inspired by the loss of musician friend Tim McCall, is heavier and darker than his previous offerings and explored love, loss and disillusionment.
He said losing his friend at just 37 was one of the biggest blows he had ever been dealt. Tim fell down the stairs at his home in Sheffield.
But Hawley thought he was taking a risk by recording a darker album and feared he may lose fans.
"I put one foot on the monitor and one in my grave and turned the volume up," he said, laughing.
"I know people are thinking 'what has happened here, he's the ballad guy', but it worked.
"There is still a lot of heartfelt stuff in the album and I was doing something nobody else was.
"We had the traditional – keyboard, guitar, bass and drums, and felt there must be something more we could do with them."
Hawley and his band seem to be doing something right and say on stage "fans are loving it".
He said: "We have had a guy with us for a number of years who is from Hull, so the city show will feel like something of a homecoming.
"I know I'm the old dude, but I've been playing in bands since I was 14 and the music has survived."
• Richard Hawley is at Hull City Hall on Tuesday, February 26, 7pm. Call 01482 300300.