Faith in the Future, Louis Tomlinson’s solo return

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Faith in the Future, confidence of the future. It is an optimistic motto that cannot be taken for granted in times of general crisis and instability, yet it is precisely this confident openness to tomorrow, this natural instinct to always look at the glass half full that accompanies the return to the music scene of Louis Tomlinson. Two years after Wallswhich in January 2020 marked his solo debut after the experience with i one directionthe English singer-songwriter has chosen his own Faith in the Future as the name of the second album, out on November 11th. It’s a record that tastes like redemption, in some ways, when you think about the fact that the former One Direction’s solo career started with the handbrake on. Although Walls has undoubtedly sold millions of copies all over the world, in fact, it came out with an unfortunate timing: the outbreak of the pandemic slowed down its promotion almost immediately, as well as having obviously made live an impossible dream. “It was frustrating at first,” says Louis Tomlinson, recalling those months. “I spent several years working to get to that moment and then, after two concerts, we had to postpone everything. It was disheartening. But, thinking about it in hindsight, it just meant that my fans and I would have to wait a little longer to share those experiences. It gave me one more opportunity to be able to really appreciate them ». That Louis today is appreciating the moments he lived on stage more than ever, in fact, is beyond any doubt. Last September after the concert at the San Siro Hippodrome in Milan, the only Italian date of the summer tour, on Twitter several fans with very keen eyes had noticed, zooming in on Tomlinson’s bare arms, that the thirty-year-old singer seemed to have goosebumps . “The evening was warm enough, so it wasn’t for the weather,” Tomlinson confirms with a laugh. “It’s just that during the first three or four songs I was quite overwhelmed: so many faces, so many lights… It was as if the whole year just passed flashed before my eyes. Marvelous”. The Milanese concert was also the occasion for an exciting live interpretation of Bigger Than Methe first single from Faith in the Future. A taste of a record that, he says, fully reflects it, from the first to the last track. And it is of this, only of this that Louis Tomlinson wants to talk: not of the family events and his private life, which he tenaciously protects from outside looks, not of the experience with One Direction and the other members of the band, a chapter that is is now closed in 2016. The page, in short, has been turned.

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The cover of Faith in the Future, Tomlinson’s second solo album.

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How was the creative process behind this second solo album?
“I enjoyed writing much more. On the first album I had more chances to mull over, I felt somehow under pressure: in fact, I was releasing my first solo record after coming out of a band of the caliber of One Direction … This time it felt like I had more freedom and I think it shows in the result. This album is a better representation of who I am from an artistic point of view ».

I guess he also feels more confident as a soloist.
“Certainly, and I am. And it is something that can only grow, because I feel at ease and confident at the most when I do what I really love in music. There isn’t a single song on this album that makes me think, for whatever reason, that I don’t want to play it for long. I am enthusiastic about this new chapter ».

Thinking back to the person he was in the months before his solo debut, maybe at One Direction’s Louis: do you feel wiser today? Happier?
“Happier, yes. I think it is up to others to say if I am wiser or not, but I would say yes … From a professional point of view, an artist constantly learns: from every song, from every album, from the other artists around him … experienced a constant evolution ».

She recently stated that she has always tried to be a humble person, but that she also feels a certain responsibility that comes with being in her position. Does this scare you?
“I think I’ve gotten used to the idea, because it’s a responsibility that, if only because of the fanbase, I’ve felt since I was very young. Now that I’ve grown up and have a better understanding of some things, I don’t want to present myself as a perfect guy who never fails. If I have the responsibility to be an example, for me it is more important to show the imperfections, to show how things really are, that I also make mistakes like everyone else … At first, when I joined the band, I was worried. Even saying bad words in an interview then made me think that people could judge me in a certain way, that I shouldn’t have said this or that … Now I just like to try to be as authentic as possible ».

Being a parent (in 2016 Tomlinson had a son by the American designer Briana Jungwirth, ed) has it increased awareness of this sense of responsibility?
“Hugely. But it’s also a feeling that affects my whole life: I’m older than my sisters and my brother, so I’ve always had a certain level of responsibility. Obviously it’s not like being a father, but I’ve always been that kind of person to others. “

Faith in the Future it is a decidedly optimistic stance. Do you consider yourself an optimist by nature or did you choose, at some point, to look at the world with this attitude?
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a choice. I mean, there are busier days when you have to decide to keep seeing the glass as half full, but I think I’m lucky enough to have always been a bit optimistic. I guess that’s easy for me to say, but… what’s the alternative? The most practical option is to try to be as optimistic as possible, knowing that obviously some days are more difficult than others. For me it is a rule of life ».

Do pessimistic people bother you?
“Not really. We are all different when we deal with sensations, emotions, experiences … But I would say that we are certainly better when we can look at the glass half full. I know, it’s easier said than done, but based on my personal experience it is certainly from this approach that I draw strength ».

In the new album there is a song dedicated to Doncaster, the city where he was born. It’s a nice tribute to his place of roots …
“It’s hugely important to me, and not just in that particular song. It’s part of my morals, who I am. I am immensely proud to be originally from there and I love to go back, find friends, family … It’s still a huge part of my life, even if I don’t live there ».

What advice would you give today to himself as a child, or a little more, wandering the streets of Doncaster?
“Now things are changing, but at the time there weren’t many sources of inspiration or musicians locally who came from my home area. When I was 16 I certainly didn’t think I’d get to where I am now. I would probably say to myself: dream big ».

Is there a song on the new album that you feel particularly attached to?
“I have a particular bond with each song, which derives from the experience I lived while writing it or from the meaning of the text, yet it keeps coming back to me Silver Tongues: I’m sure it will give a good energy and a good live atmosphere ».

The whole record actually seems written for a concert, and not so much or not just for solo listening.
«Live performances are my favorite moments, and I say this both as an artist and as a music lover. Of course I like listening to a song on the radio or elsewhere, like everyone else, but nothing beats the experience of a concert. After spending months writing the songs, then you play and sing them for the first time and see what they mean to people, how others fit in with a certain part of the lyrics … that’s where you really feel that the songs come to life. So, yes, I’ve always been focused on this moment ».

Sometimes the media, users and even fans seem more interested in an artist’s personal life and past than in his music. Is it something that you consider part of the game or does it make you very difficult?
“It is difficult to answer. Sure there are days when it can get a little frustrating or annoying, but it’s also true that this is the world we live in. I feel very lucky though, because I truly believe that my fans love the music I make and don’t follow me for whatever other reason. This means a lot to me ».

Edward Cooke

Source: Vanity Fair

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