“SOMEONE call 999, Richard Hawley’s just been robbed,” shouted Arctic Monkeys’ mainman Alex Turner on picking up the £20,000 cheque for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize at the expense of his fellow Sheffield musician.
HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, tonight, 7pm, £22.50, 0131-221 2280
History repeated itself last year when everyone’s favourite modern romantic crooner was again ‘robbed’ of the prestigious prize, this time losing out to the then relatively unknown electronic quartet Alt-J.
Not that Hawley seems bothered about any of that. The Coles Corner singer, who has been shortlisted in the British Male Solo Artist category at this year’s Brit Awards, says he couldn’t care less for gongs.
“The last thing I want is to win anything, unless it’s the egg and spoon race,” jokes the 46-year-old ahead of tonight’s visit to the HMV Picture House. “Really, though, it doesn’t mean anything to me.
“There’s such a massive fuss made about these things and the hoo-ha seems to get bigger every year. The second it’s over it’s all forgotten about anyway - no-one ever remembers who won what. “Besides,” he continues, “you don’t make music to get awards. Having these big, glitzy ceremonies, it seems to be for the benefit of other people, namely big multinational corporations.”
He may find himself nominated for every award going these days, but the former Pulp member and ex-frontman of The Longpigs says it was by accident that his solo career even began.
“I just couldn’t find a singer that had the pre-requisite lack of ego and a deep enough singing voice,” he laughs. “The bassist said to me, ‘Why don’t you just effin’ sing it yourself then?’ And I did.”
Seven solo albums later and he still doesn’t feel like he belongs in the charts, despite most recent album Standing At The Sky’s Edge reaching No3 on its release last year.
“I think I still feel like I’m on the margin of things, I really do,” he says. “I never feel like I’m mainstream although I do understand that it might look like I am to some people.
“Put it this way, I never thought I’d get this far. Never in a million years did I think that. I scratch my head quite a lot and I bet a lot of other people do as well. It’s an unusual position that I find myself in - and sometimes I find myself laughing about it.”
Hawley says he’s looking forward to returning to Scotland, where he always gets a warm welcome from his fans.
“The best concert of my life, in 30-plus years of being a musician, was Glasgow Barrowlands,” he says. “I doubt this will go down well with the people of Edinburgh, given the rivalry between you lot, but it was just unbelievable. I’ve never experienced anything like that. The atmosphere was off the scale.
“Having said all that, I love playing in Scotland in general - so I’m very much looking forward to playing Edinburgh.
“I felt I needed to say that last bit,” he adds, laughing.
At tonight’s gig Hawley won’t just focus on his most recent album but will play a selection of favourites from his back catalogue.
“Call me old-fashioned, but I do like to play the older stuff as well. There will be quite a few from the last album, but I’ll throw in some songs from other albums as well.”