On Wednesday 1 February, Bath Spa University’s Student’s Union hosted their weekly Coffee House Sessions, with 24-year-old Southampton singer Tom Pointer. But don’t let his clean-cut appearance fool you, there’s a lot more to Tom Pointer than meets the eye. Production Editor Katie Marsden was present for the afternoon of sweet music.
Anyone watching Tom Pointer on stage at the Bath Spa Student’s Union would be shocked to hear that as a teenager the other kids thought he was uncool. Standing onstage, eyes closed crooning out self-proclaimed, soppy songs, he looks the very antithesis of the curly-haired kid once plagued by braces and acne. In a close-fitting black shirt, he doesn’t look like a guy who used to paint his nails black and go to Trivium and DragonForce gigs.
For Tom, the Coffee House Sessions are all about making connections – trying to engage with an audience who aren’t there to see him. His songs are reflective, using hindsight to reflect on key moments in his life. He describes playing to a roomful of strangers – most of whom are on their phones or chatting with friends – as liberating. It’s easier to express the vulnerability of his lyrics amongst strangers, and he feels he gives a little piece of himself to the audience when he goes on stage.
It’s great if even one person looks up when I’m playing. They haven’t intentionally come to see me, and didn’t pay anything to be here.
Despite playing in two ‘questionable’ metal bands as a teenager, he moved to London when he was sixteen to play for the Wasps rugby club. There he was introduced to the capital’s culture storm, becoming intrigued by the influences of the Afro-Caribbean music his friends enjoyed. Having moved on to study Fine Art and Sports Science at Loughborough University, Tom turned back to music whilst recovering from a spinal injury. Music had always been a crucial part of his life, and during his rehabilitation, he rejuvenated the musical affair. It doesn’t matter whether he’s relaxing, exercising or hanging out with friends – there is always a piece of music to fit the mood.
Tom’s sound is inspired by James Bay. When he first listened to Bay’s Let It Go, Tom was going through a break up and found it difficult to listen beyond the first track. He felt self-conscious being drawn to such a sentimental artist, but stuck with the song reasoning ‘that if it hits you, and it relates to you, then it doesn’t matter who the artist is.’ Tom opened his set with his favourite song to play live: Ruby. Written about a journey and not knowing what to find, for Tom, the song is a perfect blend on attitude and vulnerability. He followed this up with a handful of other songs including a great cover of Elton John’s Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.
Following on from his set at Bath Spa University, Tom has another fourteen gigs to play at other SU bars across the country – including one at Loughborough Uni. He told us this is the gig he was most nervous about in case some of his old tutors show up. Beyond that, he’s not looking too far into the future. His goal for the rest of year is to release another one of his songs, 24 Hours, as a single. Here at milk, we’ll definitely be on the look-out for when that track drops.