Over the last few years, Phil Plested has been taking the industry by storm, penning Grammy nominated hits and UK number ones. Whether it’s writing for artists like Lewis Capaldi, or releasing his own tracks, Phil knows how to pull at the heartstrings of his audience.
We sat down with Phil for a chat about what he’s been up to, his collaborative approach, as well as his upcoming music and live performances.
Firstly, how’re you doing, what have you been up to this year?
I’m well! I’m very happy. I became an uncle last year, so I had a nice perspective change on life which is always healthy! This year I’ve been travelling a lot, I’ve got a couple of gigs which is exciting because I haven’t played a show properly since Covid basically… although I’ll probably forget all the words.
Fans of your music know you’re more than just an artist who writes his own songs, you’re extremely active in helping other musicians write, how important is it to you to collaborate with fellow creatives?
Collaboration to me is everything, I think that’s why I’m in the music industry. I have always written songs by myself that’s how I started but, there is such power in getting in the room with another writer, or an artist and just talking about life and bouncing off each other.
I think that’s how I get my best stuff and that just keeps it interesting and fun. There’s always a story someone has that you can turn into a song, it’s basically just like hanging out with your mates, I love it!
The last year particularly has been huge for you as a songwriter; with co-writing Grammy & Brit nominated songs and UK number ones- to you, what’s your favourite achievement to date, and what’s the final goal?
That is an amazing question! I think my biggest achievement was when I played my headline show at Omeara, it closed my UK tour and it was the first real kind of moment of like ‘my personal songs are hitting in a way that I never expected’ and that was lovely.
I’ve obviously had a few number ones and that’s amazing, but I really struggle with the accountability of getting a number one now because it’s like, I can write a song but the amount of things that have to happen after that song is written to make it a number one is a real team effort.
Obviously getting a number one is the most insane thing ever, there are a lot of stars aligning in that!
You’ve got a great small team surrounding you with your childhood best friends, how does that feel to share your success with those who began the journey with you so many years ago?
It’s one of those things that I never take for granted, I think about it a lot because it’s so rare. The backstory literally is we all went to school together, we’d all go to the piano at lunchtime instead of the field playing football.
A couple of my boys are living in LA, one of them is living in Germany, and a couple are still in London with me. The biggest thing is that we’re very honest and very sensitive guys. I think in this industry there’s a lot of rejection and it’s tough sometimes, to have a group of friends that understand it fully is great.
If I’ve had a really tough session I can message the boys and say it’s been a bad day, and they all understand it. It’s lovely but just having that full understanding of them knowing what I’ve been through, and vice versa. I’ll never take that for granted. It keeps it very fun, and you can celebrate the wins together.
You featured on Kygo’s track ‘The Way We Were’ last year but your last solo release was 25 Hours for the animation ’SCOOB’, can we expect any new Plested music soon?
YES!! Funnily enough, I was in the studio last night recording a song. What has happened here is that when Covid hit I was thinking, ‘Nobody wants to see what I’m doing whilst I’m sat in my parent’s attic for six months.’
I took that as a break, do an Ed Sheeran and just vanish. I think that’s very healthy to do, and I’ve just really been enjoying writing songs with other artists so much that I kind of put my own stuff on the back burner.
I’ve probably got an album’s worth of songs that are nearly ready to go, we’re just working out the right time to restart the process again. I could easily chuck a hundred songs out tomorrow but, being a co-writer and working with my peers every day I respect that there are other people who have written these songs with me.
I want to make sure I’m giving those songs 100% and not just throwing them out into the world. I don’t want to just ignore the fans and put songs out and do nothing with them so when the time is right I’ve got a bunch of songs.
You have some shows upcoming, ‘Show The Credits’ showcase in Camden and your favourite festival Barn On The Farm, it’s been a while how are you feeling about being back on stage?
I’m really excited! I’m always really excited until the day of and then I’m like ‘What am I actually going to do?’ I’m very bad at rehearsing as well, it happened at Barn On The Farm last year when it got to the day and I didn’t really think anyone was going to show up to my performance and then I looked out whilst I was backstage and so many people came so I need to remember these songs now.
Because it’s been so long and I really am forgetful, I have to relearn the songs. When you perform you obviously get your little tricks on guitar and even the talking between songs you have somewhat of a routine so when you fall out of that it’s like, right back to square one.
But I’m super excited I think Show The Credits is going to be really good since I can tell the stories of the songs that I’ve written which is always interesting. I love seeing people’s faces on how songs are really written. Barn On The Farm is basically my home away from home. It’s mad, I never really expect to be on the lineup and every year I’m on the lineup- it’s sick!
You can see Plested back on stage at Barn On The Farm festival on Friday June 29th.