If 2019 turns out to be the year UK singer-songwriter Tom Wardle breaks through the pop music wall to become an international celebrity, he’ll always remember it as the year that began at Providenciales’ Shore Club resort.
Wardle, 31, got his start in the business as a teenager in his native Nottingham, where he’d grown up immersed in musical influences that ranged from Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys to Eighties Brit Pop sensation Squeeze. He moved south to London, where he spent his twenties playing popular London bars and plotting a move to the United States. Wardle made the hop to New York City in 2017 and reset his career on a rising trajectory.
“It changed my life and it’s been brilliant.”
New York, where he works clubs almost nightly, remains his home base. But during a visit to a friend’s house in Los Angeles, a bout of insomnia put the lean, cool Brit in a songwriting mood. He wandered outside at dawn, stared up from the driveway at the iconic Hollywood sign, and felt some 21st century California dream lyrics coming on.
The following day he turned that experience into a song titled “Jacqueline,” and his career took another turn. The song title is also the title of his new EP — recorded in LA with Brian Wilson collaborator Scott Bennett last year — and it’s been generating interest and notice ever since it came out in February 2019 (currently available on Apple Music and Spotify).
“I really had no money, but at least the sun was coming up,” he told Rolling Stone, which published a “Song You Need to Know” piece on Wardle’s new single on its website in March. “It’s definitely got a lot of soul, that song. I’m really proud of it.”
I ran into Wardle on Provo in early January as he was preparing for his return to NYC, and we talked about his most recent visit to the islands, where comes regularly to visit family. The guitar-playing songwriter spends most of his time on North Caicos, where he enjoys cycling, writing music, and wandering the beaches. “It’s like no place else I’ve been,” he says. “Every time I swim in the sea I am so grateful.”
But this most recent visit featured a memorable highlight: Playing the Shore Club, on a platform stage that extended into one of the resort’s three pools, on New Year’s Eve. A perfect way to kick off an exciting new year.
Image provided by Tom Wadle