Songwriter Tom Hickox grateful that dreams are paying off

Tom Hickox

Tom Hickox - Credit: Archant

Musicians can often seem spoilt, but the journey that has brought Camden-based singer-songwriter Tom Hickox to the release of his first album has filled him with gratitude.

The son of one of Britain’s foremost conductors – the late Richard Hickox CBE – it’s easy to assume that he was destined to be a professional musician, but it’s been a long road.

“I wasn’t directly influenced by my father,” says the 32-year-old. “There was music around the whole time and, indirectly, that was a huge influence, but I never wanted to be a classical musician.

“I had music lessons as a kid and I played drums in my band at school. We were terrible, but through that we explored writing our own material and I absolutely loved it. I knew then that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

But Hickox’s dream took a while to come to fruition. Growing up just off Liverpool Road in Highbury, he moved to Scotland with his mother as a teenager – before going to Manchester University to study English literature.

After that he worked in offices, on building sites and in a bar to pay for recording, all the while writing the haunting songs that make up much of his first album, War, Peace and Diplomacy, which was released in March. He is now preparing for a spring tour, his first as a headliner, which will finish at the Roundhouse on June 2.

His influences include PJ Harvey, Randy Newman and Tom Waits and he has been compared to the likes of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave.

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Hickox’s last gig was a sold-out show at the Union Chapel, but Tom – whose wife Amy is the violist in his band – still has his feet on the ground.

“It’s really satisfying that people have responded to the album so positively, but I wouldn’t change a note of it – even if it got panned. I don’t think there’s anything difficult about what I do. It’s hard work but I’ll never complain about having to work hard.”

Tom Hickox’s new single, Out of the Warzone, comes out on Monday. He plays the Roundhouse on June 3. See