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Nathan Evans: Wellerman star says Ed Sheeran made him want to sing

Nathan Evans took TikTok by storm with Wellerman. He explains the music that got him started on sea shanties, from Ed Sheeran to the Corries.

With Wellerman, Nathan Evans reinvented sea shanties for the TikTok generation. After racking up hundreds of millions of views on the social media video platform he scored a number one in 10 countries, bagging the biggest global hit from a British artist so far in 2021.

The lockdown musical sensation has now set out on a real world voyage, playing his first ever festivals. This weekend he’s set to sweep audiences away at TRNSMT in Glasgow, but first, he joined The Big Issue on The Music That Made Me to reveal his inspirations, from Scottish folk to a sweaty Ed Sheeran.

The Music That Made Me: Nathan Evans

Technique from Tracey Chapman

Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car has taught me so much, from songwriting to the way you sing and put a song across, to different techniques on guitar. Before sitting down and learning to play Fast Car, I knew how to play some chords: generic G, C, E and D. You can still play that song with just those chords. But it doesn’t give the same effect as playing it in the fingerpicking style on the record. As soon as you hear that you know exactly what song it is. And it’s just iconic.

Car trips with the Corries

Wild Mountain Thyme is an old Scottish folk song. The first time I heard that was by a group called the Corries, a Scottish folk group. I have family in Skye. Whenever we’d go a trip up there to see them, I remember we had an old tape that we used to play in the car. It was a Corries tape and it would just get flipped front to back, back to front, all the way up. And that is the first time I heard that song. As I got older, I kept listening to the Corries and I would watch old footage of them performing. They’re singing in old pubs – just in the middle of the room and everybody’s joining in and singing along. When I perform, I’ll be taking bits of that with me. You’re entertainment, at the end of the day. Watching them, I could tell they’re having fun and they’re also just getting the crowd to have fun with them. It’s good to see.

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Ed Sheeran live in Edinburgh

You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, by Ed Sheeran is just one of my all-time favourite songs. I saw Ed Sheeran in Edinburgh in the HMV Picture House. He performed that song at the end of the show and the full place just went mental. They were singing along, he was sweating… he just looked like he was having an absolute blast. I was like, this just looks like fun. This looks amazing. I love rap music as well, so he’s rapping, singing, a songwriter. He’s just up there, enjoying it and loving life. I looked at him and I thought: ‘I need to do this. I need this to happen.’

Nathan Evans’ single Told You So (Digital Farm Animals Remix) is out now. Tickets for his U.K. and European tour are on sale now at LiveNation.co.uk.

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