For the past five years, London-based Sigala has been a top artist, producer, songwriter, remixer & DJ in the United Kingdom and several other countries. He’s been a steady presence on the UK and European pop & dance charts, and he performs live and tours as an artist and DJ. Impressively, he has over a million subscribers on YouTube.
Currently, Sigala has two singles on the UK charts: “Lasting Lover” with worldwide hit artist James Arthur, and “Heaven On My Mind” with UK hit artist, Becky Hill. Both songs are excellent, melodic pop/dance records that showcase Arthur and Hill’s strong, soulful vocals, and Sigala’s production & songwriting.
Sigala, who is 27, is signed as an artist with Arista Records (owned by Sony Music). In addition to working with Arthur and Hill, he has collaborated on chart singles with such artists as Meghan Trainor, French Montana, Ella Eyre, Sigma, Ella Henderson, John Newman, Nile Rodgers, Craig David, Paloma Faith and Bryn Christopher.
Sigala (whose birth name is Bruce Fielder), was born and raised in Norfolk, England, where he learned to play piano and play in local bands, before he focused on songwriting, producing and mixing songs. His breakthrough came in 2015, when he had two big UK hits. The first was “Good Times” by Ella Eyre & Sigma, which he co-wrote & produced. The second was “Easy Love,” which was his debut release as an artist and became a #1 hit.
In 2018, Sigala released his debut album called Brighter Days, which contained his hit singles up to that point. Besides “Easy Love,” the album included the hits “Give Me Your Love (feat. John Newman & Nile Rodgers), “Sweet Lovin’” (feat. Bryn Christopher), “Just Got Paid” (feat. Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor & French Montana), “Say You Do” (feat. Imani & DJ Fresh), “Ain’t Giving Up (feat. Craig David), “Came Here For Love” (feat. Ella Eyre), and “Lullaby” (feat. Paloma Faith). Since then, Sigala has also had the hits “With You Well” (feat. Becky Hill) and “We Got Love” (feat. Ella Henderson).
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Sigala. He tells how he got started in the music business, and discusses his recent hits with James Arthur (“Lasting Lover”) and Becky Hill (“Heaven On My Mind”).
Here’s the video of Sigala’s single “Lasting Lover”
feat. James Arthur.
DK: I read that you’re from Norfolk (UK), you learned how to play piano early on, and you studied music at University of Westminster. Can you talk about your early years as a musician?
Sigala: I started playing piano when I was about 8 years old…it was my parents’ idea to keep me out of trouble, and focus on something inside the house (laughs). I was a bit reluctant at first, but once I started learning to play and was able to improvise a bit and be confident, I really enjoyed it. I got into rock music and listened to Queen, Prince and Stevie Wonder. Then as a teenager, I wanted to be in a band with my mates, and I had loads of fun doing that, and writing songs and performing.
I would carry my keyboard all over the place—that was a fun and important step for me. It was my first experience performing. I was more in the shadows, in the back of the stage…very different from what I do now. But I loved doing that, and I’m still inspired by the music that I listened to back then…a lot of soul, funk and rock music. It was all very song-oriented. That’s why I love Freddie Mercury & Queen, and I still feel inspired by what they did, because their songwriting ability was so out there, and their approach was so bold.
I was in different bands at the time, and then that I got more into production. One of my mates had a shed in his backyard, and we set up a little studio, and that was where I started to realize that I enjoyed engineering and producing more than being in a band. I wanted to progress more into that realm, so I started to think about being a producer and writing music for films.
I kept doing that for a few years…I was working in a second-hand music store that was out in the countryside. I had no connections other than this one guy who I used to write with, and we both decided to make a leap and move to London. Neither of us had much money, so the only way to do that was to go to university and get the support from student loans and things. We were able to do that, and that was the biggest stepping stone for me. And I met loads of cool people there. That was the first time I was in a really exciting environment, where everyone wanted to be creative, and everyone wanted to to make music.
Here’s the video of Sigala’s hit “Heaven On My Mind”
feat. Becky Hill.
DK: In 2015, you broke through with two hits: “Good Times” (by Ella Eyre & Sigma) and “Easy Love”. Can you talk about those two songs?
Sigala: With “Good Times,” that was the first opportunity I had to work with two artists that were really credible and I looked up to. One was Ella Eyre, who I’ve now worked with a few more times on my own songs. The other artist was Sigma, and it was exciting to be involved with making that tune. I was happy to be involved in a dance record, because what I’d been doing up until then, was writing songs that wasn’t in the particular genre that I wanted to be doing. So that was a wake-up call for me. It was like…Okay, I really enjoy doing this; I need to progress more down this lane. And that was when I decided to make a few tunes for myself. I thought it would be fun to make some music and not have any artist in mind or plan on pitching the song. That was a nice bit of creative freedom, and that was when I made the “Easy Love” tune. It was my first single, and I got my record deal on the back of that.
DK: For “Easy Love,” how did you come up with the idea to use “ABC” by the Jackson 5 for your record?
Sigala: It wasn’t masterfully well-planned (laughs). I was working with an engineer, and he had a hard drive full of multi-track stems and a cappellas. I was excited to see all the stems he had, like Queen, Stevie Wonder and Motown. He gave me some of those, and I was like…Oh this is cool. I can make music on my own in my bedroom, get into my own zone and work on these tracks, and grab an a cappella and see what happens. So I went through a bunch of these a cappellas. I worked on a Marvin Gaye a cappella that turned out pretty cool, and the next one I did was the “ABC” a cappella. Then I started playing some chords along to that and I had fun doing it. I really enjoyed making that song, and out of nowhere somebody sent it to somebody, and it got picked up by (UK record label) Ministry of Sound.
DK: You’ve had two hits with Becky Hill, “Wish You Well” and the new hit “Heaven On My Mind.” Can you talk about your collaborations with Becky?
Sigala: Yeah, Becky is amazing. She’s one of the best in the UK in terms of her songwriting and her vocals. There’s not many artists that can claim to have written all or most of their own music. She’s an incredible songwriter. Her success initially came from just writing amazing songs and putting her voice on them. She’s been uncredited for a lot of her early work because she hadn’t really pushed herself as an artist. It’s only recently that she’s been given the spotlight that she deserves, and it’s an exciting time for her. She’s got big things ahead of her.
Here’s the video of Sigala’s single “We Got Love”
feat. Ella Henderson.
DK: I like your new single “Lasting Lover” with James Arthur. Is it true that this song was co-written by Lewis Capaldi?
Sigala: Yeah that’s right. The song started out with just acoustic guitar and vocal. It was sent to us from Lewis’ team. It was a song that he had written for his album, and it hadn’t made it onto the album because he didn’t feel that it fit conceptually on the album, or it wasn’t quite right for him. But he believed in the song and he sent it to us, and I was really excited by it, because it was something different from what I’d done previously. It was coming from a ballad perspective, and I liked that it was a challenge to turn it into something that sounded like a Sigala song. So it was a lot of fun doing that, and it was inspiring. I’m always trying to get inspiration from something different, and this felt new and fresh for me.
DK: How did you connect with James Arthur for this song?
Sigala: I’ve wanted to work with James for ages. We talked about doing something, but we hadn’t found the right song up to this point. “Lasting Lover” instantly sounded like something he could sing on. He did an amazing job on the vocal, and he fell in love with the song as much as me. We worked on it for quite some time, and we worked on it over lockdown. We worked on Zoom and on phone calls, which was kind of weird since he lives down the road from me (laughs). But it worked out well, and we were committed to making the song the best it could be.
DK: With your songwriting, when you’re creating a new song, what’s your writing process? Do you like to create the beat or track first, or do you start with a topline and build on that?
Sigala: It’s different every time. I love working from the topline, and I get sent a lot of songs. It’s quite fun to be able to do that, because it’s how I approached my first single, “Easy Love.” I never really send out beats or instrumentals. My ideal scenario is to have an artist in the room and write a song with them. It usually starts off on the piano, and I don’t get too stuck in production on the writing day. I think it’s more important to focus on the song for the writing session. The way I approach it, is to get a great song. The production can be a million different things which we can work out later.
Here’s the video of Sigala’s debut hit, “Easy Love.”
DK: You’re now signed with Arista Records & Sony. Was signing with them part of your strategy to build a larger following in the U.S.?
Sigala: Yeah for sure. It’s always been a goal to have success in the U.S. I always felt like the UK would be my home…I don’t think too much abour where my music’s going to be heard. I just make it and see what happens. And each song does well in different territories, depending on what kind of song it is. But the U.S. has defiinitely been a goal for us. Things are starting to build over there. I’ve done a couple of tours now, and I did a support tour for Matoma, which was incredible. And each time I go back and do my own shows, I can see the crowds and numbers are building. I’m keen to keep going over there. I’ve had a residency in Las Vegas for a couple years, and that’s something I want to build on as well. The potential is really exciting.
DK: In 2018, you released your debut album, Brighter Days, which had many hits on it. Are you working on your second album now?
Sigala: That’s the plan. I will probably put out another single, and then put the album out at the start of next year, if all goes to plan. It’s been tough not touring during lockdown, but the silver lining has been that I’ve had lots of time in the studio, so it’s been really productive and I feel like I’m in a place I can put an album out soon. I’ve already got a whole bunch of songs, and it’s just about picking what’s going to be best for the album.