The Northern Quota

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Karl Toth on his new single 'Coming Home' and bowls of Cheerios being his future

  • Molly Court talks to up and coming singer songwriter Karl Toth

Whether it’s scrolling through Spotify, the wonders of BBC Introducing or finding someone on YouTube after watching several eating challenge videos; there’s nothing more refreshing than stumbling across up and coming musicians and artists.

It was quite some time ago when I discovered a Lincolnshire man and his organic vocals, but I’ve been watching him blossom, I’ve see him release his most passionate songs yet and I think it’s time that I introduce you, to Karl Toth.

As the Beast from the East moved on to its next victim and the world started turning again, I spoke to Karl at Manchester’s newest glamorous hotspot for wining and dining, 20 Stories (and yes, it’s as high as it sounds).

Whilst up in the sky on a bitterly cold day, we wrapped ourselves in blankets that resembled the fascinating Technicolor Dreamcoat and used cups of freshly brewed coffee for hand warmers (because nobody brings hand warmers to a swanky rooftop bar). He told me all about self-loathing, his journey so far and why every song is always about ‘something’.

Taking on the likes of music phenomenon’s Frank Turner and Newton Falkner as his inspirations (thanks to a CD he was given during his teen metal phase), Karl is a singer songwriter taking the acoustic folk world in his stride. Often seen with his guitar, he’s traveled up and down the country, eager to make a name for himself.

Knowing music has always been the one for him, he took his first guitar lesson at high school in Year 8 and obviously, he didn’t bring his guitar (he did in fact get his dates wrong for the lesson and was yet to buy one).

Karl said: “Someone in school had a guitar and I didn’t have one but I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I went over to their house and they didn’t want to use it. I thought what an idiot, not wanting to use this, so out of anger I decided to learn guitar because it was cool.

“My friend had one of those amp starter kits and I remember picking it up and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.”

Karl used to play his guitar in school assemblies and being one of the very few who could do so at such a young age, would make me think he was quite a big deal.

From the ripe age of 18, he dumped his A-Levels and focused entirely on music at Lincoln college, whilst he was also writing songs and performing on radio stations. Featuring in a live studio session at BBC Lincolnshire, Karl debuted his early songs such as ‘Judgement’ and ‘The Man in My Head’. His early stuff is clearly very innocent, but it still had me swaying.

Soon after, he began his sofa surfing days, staying at friends’ houses as he sang his heart and soul out late into the night, gig by gig.

Since recently moving to Bristol to focus on his career where he now has his own studio and is able to perform collaborations with other artists, Karl’s been taking on his own company and performing at Open Mic nights ran by Bristol born musician George Ezra.

Karl said that this Open Mic was like no other. Instead of having your usual pub-like scenes and middle-aged beer hecklers, this was next level and something with style. It was solely for music and talent.

He said: “I don’t have a specific favourite performance but any gig where people are listening rather than just coming for music in the background is what I like.

“Most recently, I played at Mr Wolfs in Bristol. Loads of people came up to me asking for selfies. Wouldn’t you say selfies are the modern autograph?”

This was something that quite literally blew my mind. An autograph could be simply forged or hidden away in your Hello Kitty notebook, but a selfie is one of a kind (without the help of Photoshop). You’re able to share that thing loud and proud. The ‘likes’ on Instagram would be phenomenal. Who knows, you could even be a viral hit.

When asking Mr Toth on his proudest moment yet, he simply joked that it shouldn’t be a difficult thing to choose but he’s apparently full of self-loathing. I suppose it’s good to know fame hasn’t gone to his head just yet.

From being the man behind the background music at the Hilton in Lincoln, to performing weekly at weddings for the local rich farmers (where every car was a Ferrari or Lamborghini), he’s now onto releasing his own music across platforms such as Spotify and iTunes. He’s not a stranger to radio appearances either, including live session on BBC Radio Leeds.

He recently released his current single ‘Coming Home’ on Valentine’s Day. The song begins with the lyrics “cold side of the bed when I wake, forgot I was alone” and I can tell you now, my heart strings were pulled.

The artwork is unique, staring two animated hands holding one another, layered with a geometric style pattern (a little secret: his brother was the brains behind this one).

The song features Elizsabeth, who’s latest single ‘My Comfort Zone’ topped iTunes at a staggering number two (sitting just below ‘Paradise’ by George Ezra). It’s a classic acoustic love song including some pulsating beats and claps.

Karl said: “Coming Home is about being in a relationship and not seeing each other for a long time, say if someone was in the military, it’s sad but you know they will be coming back.”

What’s so mesmerising about Karl’s music is that it’s wholesome. He’s definitely an artist to include in your ‘Sweet Soul Sunday’ playlist, or a voice to have in your ears as you try to hold back hormonal tears when the hoover gets blocked.

He’s previously written an original song ‘Falling Over’ with Amelia Streatfield-James. She’s part of Leeds Contemporary Singers who recently won Pitch Battle on BBC.

An absolute stand out from Karl’s new EP ‘Pick Me Up’ is his first released single ‘Not Falling For It’. Unlike the rest of his mellow anthems, this one gets your foot tapping followed by the urge to have a boogie. It’s funky with an acoustic undertone.

He said: “My songs are all about specific things, there a song called Pick Me Up which is about Tinder and a song called Wise Man which is about Alice in Wonderland.”

As Karl continues to focus on all things music and creating his own empire, he’s currently writing a song incredibly close to his heart and many others.

He explained: “Recently, someone I know tragically took their own life, so I’m writing a song for them.”

It is certain that Karl will produce a beautifully written song, full of harmonies and emotion.

The future ahead of Karl is looking rather envious but most importantly full of more tear-jerking songs and just pure acoustic loveliness. Ed Sheeran who?

Karl said: “I’m making cups of tea and recording most days but hopefully the future is full of more music and many more bowls of Cheerios.”

Who knows, that Grammy award could be waiting, and it won’t be long until he’s in an arena near you.

Karl next performs at The Bristol Hippodrome on Saturday 10th March.

You can listen to Karl on Spotify, Sound Cloud, Amazon Music, Google Play and Apple Music.

Follow his journey to stardom on Facebook and Twitter (as well as some little snippets from songs).

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