While Tom Grennan first came to public attention as a guest vocalist on electronic duo Chase & Status' 2016 track "When It All Goes Wrong," his own material features a gritty-voiced mix of soulful pop and indie folk. A series of EPs and singles for Insanity Records led up the 2018 release of his debut album, Lighting Matches, which hit an impressive number five on the U.K. Albums Chart.
Growing up in Bedford, England, Grennan initially pursued a football career before music became his primary focus. He spent several years cutting his teeth playing solo acoustic shows in London pubs before earning a contract with the Sony-owned imprint Insanity Records, which released his debut single, "Something in the Water," in 2016. The track was produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs). After his collaboration with Chase and Status elevated his profile, Grennan delivered a trio of EPs -- Release the Brakes, Something in the Water, and Found What I've Been Looking For -- which helped introduce audiences to his own style.
The year 2018 began with the snappy, string-laden single "Sober" and follow-up "Barbed Wire," with both singles signaling the direction of Grennan's debut album. Produced by Dan Grech-Marguerat (The Killers, Radioehad) and Fraser T. Smith (Stormzy, Adele), Lighting Matches arrived in the summer and made an impressive showing at number five on the U.K. Albums chart. The stripped-down acoustic single "City of Stars" appeared in 2019, followed the next year by the more elaborate pop-driven cuts "This Is the Place" and "Oh Please."