Has Tom Aspaul managed to top his debut album?
Tom Aspaul has been thriving on the fringes of pop for some time now. The British singer songwriter proudly hails from Wolverhampton and is behind some huge hits from the likes of Celeste, AlunaGeorge, Snakeships, Little Mix and Kylie Minogue. Now, he is back with his second studio album, Life in Plastic – a personal project with an upbeat aesthetic.
Life in Plastic was written mostly in lockdown, which is likely responsible for the deeper lyricism that flows in each and every track. In an interview with Pink News, Tom recalls the creative process, “It is a cliché, but a lot of gay men, if they don’t have children, they seem to have a lot of time to look after themselves and have these really lavish lifestyles, and that’s a topic that interests me. I wanted to explore why that happens, which I guess is where the Life in Plastic name comes from.” Tom has a big and loyal following in the London queer scene, where he once lived.
It is no secret that Tom is a grounded individual, who values his roots. “I present myself to the world as this pop star, but the reality is that I do live at home with my parents and I do everything myself, even though it doesn’t look like I do,” he says to Pink News. This humble and down to earth personality pours into his music, adding a sense of relatability for queer kids who often find that they need to leave the safety blanket of home for the big city lights.
For a while, Tom lived in London, but following a breakup, he returned to his hometown in the West Midlands. “I live away from London and all these big cities, so I don’t really have a community where I live. I don’t have any friends that live nearby so I really do depend on these long-distance relationships — I travel to London or Manchester or Birmingham every other weekend,” he said.
Tom’s first album, Black Country Disco was a huge success, which is named after the industrial region of the Midlands. The Black Country is a peculiar place, which often feels like it stands still in time. On weekends, the majority of locals flock to their nearest social clubs or pubs, to enjoy a dance and a disco —reminiscing a lost era of music. In an interview with the Guardian, Tom recalls his inspiration for the debut album, “Sonically, I listened to a whole raft of disco from the mid-70s to the mid-80s; music I’d imagine my mom dancing to at the Lafayette Club in Wolverhampton when she was young.”
Tom has decided to pursue his career in reverse. When many artists catch a break and increase in popularity, they tend to crave London, LA or New York. But, for Tom, the appeal isn’t all there. Tom prefers to position himself where he feels comfortable and where he can absorb inspiration from what’s meaningful to him: his roots. For this reason alone, he has managed to create another great pop record, with a heart.