06 August 2020
By Ellie Palmer
Despite never having piano lessons, Billy’s debut piano album has reached the Top 10 in the UK album charts – with a helping hand from his late father
Stream Together At Home below.
“I’ve never had lessons. I can’t read music. I just started messing around on the piano when I was about eight years old. I don’t ever remember not being able to play.”
The ability to teach yourself the piano is an ability that not many carry. It takes a natural musician to do so.
Billy Lockett is certainly one of those.
His debut album, Together At Home, is a one-off instrumental project of modern classical-esque piano tracks, inspired by Ludovico Einaudi, and recorded in his late father’s home during the recent UK Covid-19 lockdown. It’s already reached #8 in the UK album downloads charts and #11 in the UK independent album charts.
Watch Billy perform Together At Home below.
It’s a commendable achievement for the Northampton-born singer-songwriter (and now pianist), especially given it hasn’t all been plain sailing for him of late.
His contract with his previous record label came to an end shortly before the pandemic, and his touring plans were put on hold. But rather than taking that as a hit, he decided to make the most of his freedom by recording Together At Home, a move heavily inspired by his late father.
“I spent the whole of this lockdown in my late Dad’s old house surrounded by his paintings. It's strange how I feel like I spent time with him even though he's not here. When I was growing up we would always make classical music together, so it just felt so right to produce the album in this house. This album wouldn't exist without him.”
Together At Home reached #7 in the UK album charts
The 11-track album includes a mix of both new compositions and re-workings of his most popular songs. It’s heavily inspired by Einaudi, who appeared on the cover of issue 113 of Pianist.
“He is the reason that I play piano. I just love how simple some of his music is, but how it’s all about the feeling, it’s all about the right notes, it’s not about being clever or fancy in any way. It’s just about trying to touch somebody. I think he’s just amazing.”
You can certainly hear the influence of Einaudi in the album, most notably in One World. It's majestically simple yet carries a bucketload of emotions – a tactic we find Einaudi using regularly.
“One World flew out of me… The crazy thing about it is it didn't exist before I pressed record. I wrote it on the spot as the recording was rolling, so I think that gave it an organic realness.”
Some of the proceeds from the album sales are being donated to the National Emergencies Trust charity. “I feel they are incredible but don't always get the coverage other charities get, even though they do such great things at grass roots and community level.”
Watch Billy perform The Big Wheel, another brilliant track from his new album, below.
"I'm working on an EP. I’m hoping to give more information about that soon! I’m also working towards my second album. This is going to be my first [full] album singing. [There will be] pop songs and ballads. I’ve spent the last three or four years writing songs. It’s going to be nice to put a body of work out using a collection of those. Hopefully a tour will come soon as well… I don’t know how that’s going to happen!"
If you’re looking for an album packed with emotion and passion, this is it. It’s a glorious collection of mini masterpieces; something any minimalist pianist would be proud to release.
Main image: © Olivia Rose