Edinburgh based singer Calum Bowie on TikTok fame, making music and living in Edi
He’ll definitely be making your Spotify Wrapped this year
Calum Bowie is a 21-year-old student at Edinburgh College, who has also grown a following on TikTok for posting videos of song covers and his own original music. With over 87k followers and 2.7m likes on TikTok, you’ve probably seen his videos singing out of his Edinburgh flat window pop up on your For You page.
Calum has also released his own songs on Spotify, reaching hundreds of thousands of streams on the app. Originally from Banchory, Calum made his debut release back in 2018 and has grown exponentially from there.
The Edinburgh Tab caught up with Calum to ask him all about his music, having a large following on TikTok, and his life as a student in Edinburgh. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you get into music? Did you always love to sing?
“I first started playing guitar when I was around eight-years-old. My dad used to have this £50 electric guitar that was absolutely shocking, so I learnt my first few tunes on there before progressing onto a guitar of my own”, Callum tells The Edinburgh Tab.
“I actually didn’t start singing until a few years later when I was about 12 and I didn’t even take it very seriously until around 14. Up until then, I would never have considered myself a singer but now I’d probably say that it’s my main instrument.
“I really enjoy having to figure out how to sing and pronounce lyrics. Each line is a puzzle that you need to solve before you can get comfortable with the song as a whole.”
What made you start your TikTok account and how does it feel to have a large following?
At the time of this interview, Calum has almost 90k followers on the app. He tells us that: “It was actually my sister who first got me into TikTok. I’d been using Instagram for the same type of videos that I now post on TikTok, but there was a lot less engagement.
“My sister said I should post some stuff on this ‘new app’ called TikTok and see what happens. I ended up posting my first video in January 2021, which did a lot better than it had been doing on Instagram. So I kept it up and began to build a following.
“It’s surreal to think about how far it’s come from that very first post!”
You’ve also released your own music which is really cool! What’s that whole process like?
Calum currently has nine songs out on Spotify, including three that he released in 2021. According to Calum, creating music is “super fun”, and he tells us that sharing his own songs was why he started using apps like TikTok and Instagram in the first place.
We asked Calum what his song writing process is like: “I start with a guitar riff and hum over the top of it, in order to see where I want the melody to go. I then add some words here and there, to try and work out if they sound as good pieced together as they do in my head, before I fit them together into a full lyric.
“I then record the songs on my laptop and send the files over to a producer to mix. We bounce back and forth until I’m happy with it. The whole process is so exciting! Nothing beats hearing a first demo of something that you’ve been working on for months.”
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Callum tells The Edinburgh Tab that “when I was younger, my family would always have music on around the house. From AC/DC to ABBA, I would always be dancing around and singing songs. This stuck with me throughout my childhood as I continued to explore new music and ‘expand my musical horizons’ as my dad always said.
“I really appreciate a well written song, so bands like The Beatles and Oasis were huge for me growing up, and more recently singer songwriters like Sam Fender and Holly Humberstone have been artists I’ve had on repeat.”
Following on from this, we asked Calum what his favourite song is at the moment (apart from his own of course). Calum tells us that “recently I’ve been listening to the acoustic version of Seventeen Going Under by Sam Fender (ft Holly Humberstone), 24/7”.
Tell us about your life in Edinburgh, what else do you do in your free time?
Apart from making music, Calum tells us that he has “recently started dabbling with some skateboarding. Although I’m pretty horrendous, it’s still good fun and definitely great exercise”. We then asked what are some of his favourite things about living in Edinburgh, and does he have any go-to places. Calum says: “I must admit that I’m a sucker for the classic spots like Calton Hill, Arthurs Seat and The Crags.
“There’s just something about the Edinburgh landscape that is like nothing else. I also love how busy it is all the time, there’s always something going on.”
After such a big 2021, do you have any exciting things planned for 2022?
Calum tells The Edinburgh Tab of an exciting year ahead, full of new releases: “I have so much planned for 2022! New music, new videos and tons of exciting gigs. I honestly can’t wait to share everything, this year is by far the most packed yet.”
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue their passion?
“Just get out and do it. Not to copy Nike but the best way to kickstart everything is just to bite the bullet and give it a go.
“It most likely won’t go as expected but you’ll adapt and improve for next time, and the next etc. Everyone has to start somewhere!”