How to become a singer-songwriter: Lewis Capaldi's story

Writing songs, being in the studio, touring and travelling the world.

But it's not all glamorous. We've had a chat with singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi to hear about the reality of being a professional musician.

Lewis hails from Scotland and was recently added to BBC Radio 1's prestigious Brit list. He learned to play the guitar when he was 9 and by 18 was a seasoned performer. In March 2017, he self-released his first single and quickly became the first unsigned artist to reach 25 million plays on Spotify. The success of this song led to him signing a deal with Capitol Records.

Scroll down for more information on skills, working hours and salary.

Lewis Capaldi talks about the hard work and rewards of being a singer-songwriter.

What skills do I need to be a singer-songwriter?

Aside from some serious musical talent and a real passion for performing, there are many more skills and qualities that singers and musicians normally need to excel in their job, such as:

  • determination, discipline and resilience
  • time management and reliability
  • digital production and social media skills
  • stress management skills
  • adaptability and flexibility.

What to expect if you want to be a singer-songwriter

What will I get paid? Your income will depend on how successful you become and how much paid work you secure. Remember, a record deal doesn't necessarily guarantee success and success doesn't necessarily mean fame. Where will I work? Initially, you'll probably work a lot from home or the recording studio. You will need to travel nationally or internationally to perform. What are the working hours like? You'll choose your writing hours. Gigs are normally at night and can end very late. On tour, there will be a lot of early mornings and travel.

What qualifications do you need to be singer-songwriter?

What qualifications do I need? None in particular – passion, experience and dedication is more important, although musical knowledge and performance skills could be beneficial.

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