English neo-soul crooner Calum Scott attributes his singing career to his crafty kid sister Jade, an aspiring vocalist herself, who pushed him into it. “She was the first one who found out that I could sing,” he recalls, of the afternoon he was belting his heart out on her microphone, thinking he was alone. “But she was hiding behind a door, and she decided to enter me in a local karaoke competition. That’s where my hunger for music started.” The siblings simultaneously auditioned for BBC TV’s “Britain’s Got Talent,” with Jade getting a thumbs-down from host Simon Cowell and Calum receiving his coveted Golden Buzzer, immediately certifying him as a contestant. His Capitol debut disc arrives early next year.
How uncomfortable was that car ride home with sis after your “Talent” audition?
My mom is who I really felt sorry for. She had to deal with one of her kids being told that she’s a bedroom singer and another one being told it was a show-stealing performance. We both just went there as the next career step, to do something more high profile and maybe come away with some experience, or positive criticism. But a couple of days after, we chatted, and Jade said, “I’m not jealous of you, and I would have loved to have been your competition. But if I can’t do it? The next best thing is for my big brother to do it.” It was a really nice moment.
You started out singing covers, like Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” But you’ve written originals for your album, including a song in which you actually come out to your father?
It’s called “Out At Sea,” and I thought the best thing I could do was write about it. But as I was writing it, I decided to tell him, and it was nowhere near the debacle I’d expected. And so the song took a much more hopeful turn, rather than it being about me worrying that I’d be judged by my dad. And when I’ve played people the song, they’ve gotten quite emotional, because it’s a real song -– it’s really about how I felt and the emotions I went through.
How did you find your songwriting voice?
By accident. I’d done straight covers, but I started looking online for acoustic versions of songs, something unique that I could put my own flavor on, and when I found that Robyn arrangement, I was like, “Oh. My. God.” And that began the rest of my life. So now I use music as a tool to express myself, my vision, beliefs. And with writing, you’re offloading your problems into these beautiful songs. So I want to do this for the rest of my life.
IF YOU GO
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 2
Tickets: $15 to $18
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com