Singer is making a splash ahead of Sheffield show

Singer-songwriter John Smith.
Singer-songwriter John Smith.
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Were it not for his dad’s record collection, it is doubtful John Smith would be where he is today.

The acclaimed singer-songwriter has been writing and performing his music for more than 10years.

However, as a boy, it all started by learning Led Zeppelin, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn numbers.

Now, the artist is touring his fourth album, Great Lakes.

And while the album has been adorned with critical acclaim, it followed a long period of writers’ block.

John says: “Looking back on that period, I was touring too much and not giving myself the time.

“But then I read something Tom Waits said about writers’ block – he said it’s when you’re not trying hard enough.

“As soon as I read that I started writing. I thought ‘Tom Waits obviously knows what he’s talking about’.”

The result of this was Great Lakes.

John says: “The album has that theme because it is generally about the ebb and flow of love and relationships.

“There’s a real water theme and I thought the source of this was like an intangible reservoir. And when you’re in love it’s a bit like being lost in the middle of the lake. It’s great, but it’s also senseless and scary.”

Most of the record is inspired by personal experience.

“It’s too easy to write about yourself sometimes and you have to be careful not to give too much away,” he says. “But in the past I have written from about characters as well.

"Writing is cathartic though. The song Lungs was especially so, it's about letting go of something.

“Songwriting can be helpful in times of need, but it can also be frustrating in times of need too.

“I've been trying to write songs for 10years and it's like anything, you have to work at it. I grab whatever time I can. I can never have a 'regime', as such, because I am often touring, but I write whenever I get a moment to myself."

But, he admits, reaching this point in his career has not been easy.

He says: “It had been a long slog, touring and playing relentlessly I don't think I'll ever stop, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

John plays The Greystones, Sheffield, tomorrow, from 8pm.