In a small Newport pub on February 1st, I witnessed talent in its purest form. With a voice that could make angels weep and song lyrics that made me weep is singer-songwriter, Billy Lockett. Armed with only a mic, keyboard and gifted pipes, Billy is making his way around the UK on his 2018 tour.
Before this year, I had never heard the name Billy Lockett but now I know it’s not one I will be forgetting anytime soon. Arriving on the scene in 2011, Billy changed the game of indie music by bringing soul to an unruly genre. After being Northampton’s best kept musical secret for sixteen years, he decided that music was his purpose in life. Already having a background in playing the piano from the age of eight allowed him to further his existing talents and work towards making a career out of them. Despite his sheltered upbringing, Billy has managed to make his mark on the music scene and earn the title of ‘up and coming.’
Upon the recommendation of a friend, a group of us made our way to Newport for what we thought was going to be a casual night. We were happily proven wrong. Despite a late start to the set, Billy strolled onto the small stage speaking to the crowd as if we were all old friends. The already chill and laid back atmosphere was heightened by Billy’s presence, making jokes and encouraging the crowd to engage in a little back and forth banter. This instant connection made me like the guy for the genuine, down to earth persona he portrayed but once he began performing it was as if the man changed before my eyes. From the first resonating piano note, I was captured, completely enthralled by the magical atmosphere Billy had managed to create in mere seconds. His performance made the rest of the crowd melt away and leave all the focus on him.
Each song swirled high and connected deep with Billy’s Sam Smith like vocals filling the entire pub and threatening to burst across the whole city of Newport. His original songs were performed with an effortless intensity where Billy seemed to become lost in the song himself, giving a truly mesmerising performance. The covers he included in the set were almost unrecognisable as belonging to other artists, Billy making them his own in an acoustic beauty. My only criticism of the whole set is that it was entirely too short and left me wanting more from the musician. After the set, Billy stayed and encouraged people to come and say ‘hi’, showing real enthusiasm and taking time to speak to each person who went up.
Billy is still only at the beginning of his tour with a fair few more dates to go so don’t miss your chance to witness a star in the making and meet someone who is enthusiastic about both their profession and fans. In years time, when Billy Lockett is a household name, I’ll have the memories of a genuine man with overwhelming talent who was polite enough to hold open a pub door.
Review by Skye W. Winwood