Lewis Capaldi made his Glastonbury debut this summer, with a late afternoon set on Saturday (June 29). Playing the festival is a mark of achievement for any artist, but it’s one that Capaldi approached as he does the rest of his career: modestly. He kicked his set off with a looped video of Noel Gallagher during a Radio X interview saying “Who’s this Capaldi fella?” Such self-deprecating humor is a Capaldi staple -- and what helped his career approach mainstream success.
The 22-year-old Scotland native is in the middle of a breakout year: his debut LP, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, dropped in May and nabbed the biggest week for an album in the United Kingdom so far in 2019. The project’s most prominent single, “Someone You Loved,” is seeing similar success, also hitting No. 1 in the U.K. earlier this year and currently climbing the ranks on the Billboard Hot 100, setting a new peak at No. 46 on charts dated July 13. “I just thought this is a song for people who have been there since the start,” Capaldi tells Billboard. “It’s been incredible to see how it has connected [on a larger level].”
He made his first onstage appearance nearly two decades ago. When he was a child, his family used to make 15-hour-plus road trips in a minivan from Glasgow to France, blasting Queen, Elvis Presley and Fleetwood Mac along the way. During one drive, while stopped at an RV park, they saw a cabaret band turn its set into an open mic night -- and a then-four-year-old Capaldi jumped at the opportunity. Moments after finishing a performance of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” he returned to the stage to deliver “We Are the Champions” as an encore. “That was when I got the bug,” he says. “Ever since, I’ve been chasing that feeling. That euphoria.”