“My mum always said I belonged on the stage”

British singer-songwriter Tom Grennan is headed to Dubai for his debut performance at The Agenda on May 24. Ahead of the show, he spoke to What’s On about music, dream collabs, and his plans for his first visit to Dubai…

We know you had a budding career in football before you ended up in music, how did you end up getting into performing?

Yes, I played football when I was younger. Music wasn’t a thing for me until I was 17 or 18. Although my mum always said I belonged on a stage. Then I went to uni to train to be an actor, and it was while I was there that I picked up a guitar and started to write songs. And luckily enough, I was in the right place at the right time, and it’s been a whirlwind since then.

You were training to be an actor when you fell into music, is that something you’d like to pick up again?

Definitely. I believe that acting will be a big part of my story. I feel like in the next year, I’ll try and get myself into into the eyes of some agents and see what happens.

You’ve got an action-packed 2024 coming up, is there anywhere that’s still on your bucket list?

I’d love to go to South America. I’m actually really excited to come to Dubai though. I’ve never been to Dubai – but my girlfriend works out there a lot and she says I’ll love it. So I’m looking forward to meeting my fans there. I didn’t even know that I had fans in Dubai.

What are you looking forward to experiencing in Dubai?

I’m going to fly out a few days before the gig, eat some good food, play some golf, and just chill out.

And hopefully it won’t be too hot to go to the desert!

Oh, I’d love to do that. I need to do that. Dune buggying around the desert? No problemo.

You’ve worked with some big names in music – Ella Henderson, Calvin Harris – who would be your dream collab?

Oh yeah, there’s loads of people I’d love to work with. Kendrick Lamar is up there for me, I’m a big fan. I’d love to work with Elton John. I’d love to work with Dua Lipa, she’s a proper pop star. Miley Cyrus, I’d love to work with her. And there’s a guy called Teezo Touchdown as well, who’s is really, really cool. So I’d love to work with him.

What 3 songs are you listening to on repeat right now?

There’s a song by Djo [Stranger Things actor, Joe Keery] that I’m listening to a lot at the minute. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s such a good song. I’ve listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac recently. And a lot of Lauryn Hill.

What else is in the plans for 2024?

I’ve just finished my new record in America, and the music is on another level to be honest. I just want to put records out there and see what happens. I really really want to have another hit this year, so to get that would be great. Then I’m hoping to just have fun. I always say I love what I do, and I’ve never not stopped loving it. So yeah, just keep keep smiling and keep enjoying it.

Tom Grennan, The Agenda, Dubai Media City, 8pm, Friday May 24, from Dhs185. platinumlist.net