Billy Lockett releases new album ‘Abington Grove’ via Photo Finish Records

The new album from UK soul-drenched pop singer-songwriter Billy Lockett entitled Abington Grove via Photo Finish Records, alongside new focus single and video for “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”.Abington Grove is the debut album that has been over a decade in the making “every song is a different piece of my life,” Billy confides, “whether that’s involving love, addiction, self-doubt, or euphoria…building this body of work has been my therapy, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of anything.”

Listen to Abington Grove 

In the single, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” Lockett sends out a heartfelt message of self love and powering through the dark days. “Don’t be so hard on yourself is about muting the constant voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough. It’s about self-love and realising that doing your best is enough and you are enough. Since writing this song I’ve used this as a mantra for my life, it’s really helped me personally. Hopefully, it helps others too,” confides Billy. With stunning falsetto singing cathartic melodies over soul-stirring piano, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” is an anthem of self acceptance. 

Billy Lockett has supported the likes of Lana Del Rey and Lewis Capaldi and has amassed over 125 million collective streams and recently performed on James Corden. Coming from a background of struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Billy’s journey continues in a positive new direction.

Watch the video for “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”

About Billy Lockett :

Sitting behind the piano and practically bleeding into the microphone, you can hear Billy Lockett’s story unfold between the shuddering chords and sweeping crescendos. The Northampton, UK troubadour (who’s been cited as “The English Lewis Capaldi”) takes everything he’s seen, heard, experienced, and felt and renders his life as songs you can sing aloud with friends or find solace in when you’re alone after the sun has gone down. From a childhood in a “party house” to a wild adulthood under the malicious spell of booze and coke to finding the kind of “happiness” most of us spend a lifetime in search of, he faces it all on his full-length debut LP, Abington Grove [Photo Finish Records]. Most importantly, he emerges on the other side with a wide smile as vibrant as the music itself…

“I really needed this record,” he states. “At the end of it, I was good, and I was healthy. I hadn’t been happy for a long time. I’ve realized I just want to put in the work and be myself. I can see who I want to be; I want to be happy.”

Billy’s old man was “a crazy party animal, hippie, artist, and painter.” So, Billy grew up in a home where partying was routine. He initially excelled at Snooker (a UK version of billiards) and even played professionally until he picked up the piano. “I realized I was never going to get laid playing Snooker,” he laughs.
An early recording caught the attention of KT Tunstall, and she recruited him to join her on tour in 2013. Two years later, he unveiled his Burn It Down EP, gaining traction with the title track “Burn It Down” and “Alone.” After years of grinding, he initially unveiled “Hard Act To Follow” during 2019. It caught the attention of James Corden who invited him to make his North American television debut on the Late Late Show With James Corden. The track eventually gathered over 20 million Spotify streams and counting as he independently released the Reset EP [2019] and Reflections EP [2021]. Along the way, he supported everyone from Lana Del Rey and Birdy to ELO and Lewis Capaldi on tour and appeared at festivals such as Glastonbury.

Amid this whirlwind, he lost his father and moved back into their old place on Abington Grove where he wrote at a prolific pace.

“It felt right to go back and make the album there,” he notes. “I had a lot of dark times in that house. However, everything on this album is from our home.”
Around the same time, he linked up with producer Barney Cox and found the ultimate creative kindred spirit. Together, they brought these twelve songs to life over the course of nearly two years.

“I’d been trying to look for my sound,” he goes on. “In the past, I don’t know if I was really writing songs for me. When I met Barney, I was able to finally make an album that I had always wished existed. Suddenly, I was writing for me. I started to have fun with it, and it was the best two years of my life. Barney could create everything I had in my head exactly. Making music used to be stressful, but this was a dream. It was a sad day when we finished it. I thought, ‘Now what?’”

As the songs took shape, he made some changes in his personal life as well. He reflected on the past and took a step in a new direction for the future, embracing sobriety for the first time.

“It’s been a journey,” he goes on. “I had an addiction problem with alcohol and cocaine for eight years. When I started recording, I’d just started the process of getting sober in my head. Halfway through, I actually got sober. Making the record filled that hole. I went nine months, and I had a relapse about two weeks after we finished the album for about a month—but I haven’t done anything all of 2022. I’m more focused on being a nice person, caring, and listening to everyone around me more. I was wasted for so long that sober feels like a new drug for me.”

Fittingly, he introduced the record with a new version of “Hard Act To Follow” featuring GoldLink who adds another dimension to the fan favorite. The track reaches its emotional apex as the strings uplift the refrain, “I gave you more than you’ll ever know, and one day you’ll be missing me.”

“I’ve always loved the sentiment of the song,” he reveals. “It’s about self-belief and the fact you don’t need anyone. There’s a massive buildup, but there’s also an admission of heartbreak. GoldLink and I had a coffee in London. We come from two different worlds, but we’re so similar. He was telling me about basketball, and I was talking about Snooker. We related both games to our careers. It was really cool.”

On its heels, his voice echoes in an anxiously catchy chant, “I’m not, I’m not okay,” before up-tempo piano, handclaps, and guitar entwine in uneasy harmony befitting of this tension and release.

“It’s my favorite song by a mile,” he beams. “It was towards the end of the recording process. ‘Not Okay’ is a desperation song. It’s being honest, opening up, and saying things are actually really bad. You’re confessing, ‘God, I need you’. Sonically, the vocals sound very percussive, which I’ve always loved about guys like Ed Sheeran and Post Malone.”

On “Don’t Worry,” the off-kilter soundscape relents in near-silence as he pleads, “Will you forget all your worries, come let me hold you by my side.”

“The instrumental was a bit creepy,” he laughs. “We flipped the whole thing on its head, which gave me the idea the song could be quite hopeful and positive. It doesn’t make sense for me to keep writing dark and sad songs all the time. We could use some cheering up.”

Then, there’s “Sushi.” Luminous eighties-style keys glow over glitchy production and shimmering guitar in tune with his dynamic delivery. “I wanted to do a pop song, but cool and gritty,” he says. “We found a middle ground where we walk the line with this laidback summer vibe.”

“Freaking Out” pairs manic vocals with R&B-style percussion before a funky breakdown punctuated by a head-nodding bass line. “We kept adding more and more colors to it,” he recalls. “To me, it sounds like a rainbow.”

A danceable beat pulsates beneath his vocals on “Kamikaze,” which highlights the nuances of his voice on the verses.

“My laptop is basically the way I make music, so it’s my ‘Kamikaze’,” he goes on. “It’s basically ruining my life. Each day, I get up, sit in this chair, and chase a dream that might end up ruining me, but I do it anyway.”

His high-register cracks above understated piano during “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself.” Offering a mantra to himself, he pleads, “You can’t forget the places you’ve been, and you can’t forget the fire you bring, and you can’t forget the little voice in your head saying, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’.”

“It’s my other favorite,” he grins. “I worry about everything all of the time. Am I eating too much? Am I smoking too much? I think that’s why I was a drug addict for so long; it just numbed it. When I got sober, I realized, ‘Shit, I do worry all of the time. That’s an issue’. Now, I can address it and see it with a clear head. I kept going back to the phrase, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’. Everything will be okay. My girlfriend has a lot to do with it. She’s the polar opposite. She doesn’t worry about anything ever. So, it’s a message to stop being a worrier.”
Such affirmations ultimately show what kind of guy Billy Lockett is.

He’s open.
He’s honest.
He’s happy.

“I spent most of my life trying to work out who the hell I am, and now I’m just me,” he leaves off. “I’m not trying to be anyone or desperately hoping this album changes the world. I’m content and enjoying my life in the present, because I never have. I’ve never lived in the present before. I’ve always looked ahead at what I want to do and worried that I wouldn’t get there. This is the first time in my life where I’m actually calm. My career felt like ‘work’ for so long, and it wasn’t working. Now that huge weight is off my shoulders, I made an album I’m fulfilled with. I’m not trying to copy anyone else’s sound. I’m finally learning who I am and trying to be myself. I feel like I’m learning to be a good person. When I was high and drunk, I made so many bad decisions. I’m full of regret, but I guess I made some good songs. It’s nice I can be honest with myself and truly happy now.”