“I think this is where I’ll really become an artist in my own right”
In the vast sea known as YouTube, there is a pocket of budding singers and musicians crafting a living out of covering established artists and bands. While some might be satisfied with building an online following, for Manchester singer-songwriter Lou Foulkes (with 48,000 subscribers), it lacks a thorough creative spark.
His new single, ‘Falling Asleep’, marks a new beginning for Foulkes as he moves from covers to releasing his own material, yet it’s not been a straightforward change for him. “Making the transition from “YouTuber” to “Artist” was an easy decision but it has been a difficult process,” Lou tells us. “To the people who originally found me on YouTube, creating content based on covering songs, I’ll always be the ‘Youtuber’ Lou Foulkes.”
Over the past year, Foulkes has been making the gradual switch from covers to original songs. While last summer’s ‘Grin and Bear It’ EP was embedded in charming, lightweight singer-songwriter songs, ‘Falling Asleep’ is a more realised number. With Foulkes’ strong, dramatic voice at its core, laid back, atmospheric guitars compliment, adding to the emotional tone of the track.
“‘Falling Asleep’ is a proper departure from anything I’ve ever released before. I think this is where I’ll really become an artist in my own right,” responds Lou when asked to what the track means to him. He goes on to tell us what it’s about.
“I wrote it after a break up a couple of years ago, so the opening verse is more of a scene-setter, and then the reality of the situation starts to kick in. Generally, that’s what the song is about, it’s about accepting it, and trying to cope with it. Lyrically it is pretty dark, the opening line “I feel like I’m falling asleep for the last time” is basically “I feel like I’m dying”.”
In terms of influences, Foulkes has often confided in the slower, reflective cuts that often pop up on pop-punk and pop-rock records. Citing Green Day (‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’), A Day To Remember (‘If It Means A Lot To You’), Neck Deep (‘December)’ and State Champs (‘Around The World And Back’) as examples, Lou found an artistic connection with these style of songs; “I think it’s mainly down to the arrangement because when I hear them, I picture them being written exactly the same way I write all of my songs, sat on the edge of my bed with an acoustic guitar.”
As for its video, the visual aesthetic matches the musically stripped and lyrically distressed nature of the song. It sees a reflective Foulkes standing in front of a screen projecting happier times. “George-Oliver (producer) came up with the projector idea. It suits the stripped tone we were trying to achieve in the music,” says Lou as he explains the video’s treatment. “We took the concept to Alex Boulton (Dream Beach Life) and after a few days shooting in Manchester and a shoot in the studio, the idea quickly became a reality.”
Having made what he considers a “reintroduction” with ‘Falling Asleep’, Foulkes looks set to continue to take steps away from his former YouTube base. He closes by teasing his next single, “I’m currently working on the next single, it’s a more upbeat version of the style we’ve created with this single – so you can expect more sad songs soon.”
‘Falling Asleep’ by Lou Foulkes is out now.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)