• By: Tori McNeely

Scott Helman on singing, songwriting and “Hang Ups”

On the heels of his European tour with Vance Joy and a headlining club tour of the Northeast United States, Juno-nominated Canadian singer-songwriter, Scott Helman, recently announced the dates for his upcoming headlining tour of Canada and Ottawa is one of them!

Best known for his break-out hit “Bungalow” and his current Top 20 hit “Hang Ups”, Helman empowers new listeners and adoring fans alike with his authentic lyrics and approachable personality. From posing for photographs with fan to engaging in serious conversations about his experience with ADHD, Helman finds comfort in connecting with fans.

The tour spans across nine provinces, beginning in Winnipeg on February 26 and ending in his hometown at the Danforth Music Hall on March 29. Joining Helman is fellow Torontonian singer-songwriter, RALPH.

Days away from the first night of his tour, Helman made some time for a quick Q+A with Ottawa Life Magazine! With one ear pressed against his phone as he strolled through a park in L.A., Helman talked about songwriting, genre rules and collaborations.

Ottawa Life Magazine: You started writing songs when you were 12-years-old and shortly after you began working with Warner. Did you always want to perform?

Scott Helman: Initially I wanted to be a songwriter but then I didn’t know what to do with all these songs that I had written. I started performing as a way to showcase them and it just became a part of the journey. But even now I still identify more as an artist than a performer.

Your music doesn’t tend to follow one specific genre but rather it resonates with a variety of sounds including pop, indie and R&B. Why the diversity?

I think now more than ever artists have the ability to be themselves and not follow a specific brand or genre so rigidly. That’s what I’ve learned and that’s what I was inspired by. The best advice I’ve ever received is to say what matters to you rather than try to be topical and gravitate towards that.

What inspired your song “Hang Ups”?

I was having a conversation with my girlfriend where I was going on about something and I could tell she was a little fed up with me. As someone with ADHD, when I feel that energy my gut reaction is to just keep talking. The conversation just did not end well and I remember going into a session thinking man, I am so impulsive and I can’t not say things which is really what this song is about.

I think there is something happening in music right now where people are pretty honest about themselves and are open to admitting self-flaw like that. I think that is something really special because I think in admitting self-flaw like that. To talk about your issues in a song and then have 2,000 people sing it back to you is really empowering.

You recently toured with Vance Joy and you also collaborated with spanish pop sensation Dani Fernandez while in Europe. What do you like most about collaborating with other artists?

I think when someone sings to you it really is a window into who they are. I’ve met people at a bar and chatted with them for hours without really being able to understand who they are but sitting in front of someone for 5 minutes while they’re singing and really helps you connect with them. So that in and of itself is super cool. And as a singer it’s a great tool to learn different things. The Hotel Sessions have been a really fun way to do that!

What are you most looking forward to on your Canadian tour?

In the past we’ve had some really amazing tours but we’re ready to take it to the next level. We’ve got sick lighting, amazing backdrops and we’re gonna be able to play all these new songs. We’ve really tried to take all the things we’ve done in the past that have done well and add some of the things we’re inspired by now and really make a super exciting show. I’m stoked!

We’re looking forward to having you in Ottawa!

Awesome! See you then!

For more information and to purchase your tickets click here.