Nathan Evans: TikTok Wellerman singer reveals ‘fairytale year’ ahead of Edinburgh gig

Sea Shanty singer Nathan Evans has made waves around the world with his fisherman-themed folk songs – and he’s “still pinching” himself after his rapid ascent to stardom.

By Gary Flockhart
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 1:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 12th December 2021, 4:43 pm
Sea shanty star Nathan Evans is set to play his first ever Edinburgh gig when he visits The Caves on Monday, December 13. Photograph: Jo Hanley
Sea shanty star Nathan Evans is set to play his first ever Edinburgh gig when he visits The Caves on Monday, December 13. Photograph: Jo Hanley

Reminiscing about the year that was, the former postman-turned-singer says it's been a “crazy journey” and “like a fairytale”.

It all began when he started uploading songs to TikTok after delivering the morning mail in his native Airdrie.

The first track he shared was a cover of Leave Her, Johnny, a traditional Irish shanty dating back to the early part of the last century.

But what happened next was off the scale, with the video racking up eye-popping numbers.

By the time he uploaded a rendition of the New Zealand whaling ballad Wellerman a few months later, he was at the centre of a new cultural movement whirling around sea shanties.

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Remixed by 220 Kid and Billen Ted, Wellerman reached number one in the UK singles chart in March, and is one of the highest-selling songs of the year with 713,000 chart sales.

As if the whirlwind chart success wasn’t enough, Evans’ first book, The Book of Sea Shanties: Wellerman & Other Songs from the Seven Seas, hit the shelves in October.

Now that he's taken his career full-time with a major label record deal, it's safe to say his postie days are long gone – and Evans admits it's more than he could ever have dreamed of.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Edinburgh, he says: “It's been an incredible year. It's hard to put it into words, but it's been a crazy journey and just totally wild. It’s been like a fairytale and I'm still pinching myself.

“When things started to take off, I had no idea where it would lead. I thought once the pandemic is over I will be able to play some pubs and clubs.

“Obviously it has blown that right out of proportion. I’ve been to Germany three times. I've been to Austria. Played in Switzerland. I did a show to like 40,000 people, which was unbelievable.

“On top of that, I've performed at The Brits and played the main stage at TRNSMT festival. It's mental. I could never imagine it was going to go like this.”

One thing he's never done is perform live in the Scottish capital – but that's all about to change when he visits The Caves on Monday (December 13).

“I'm really looking forward to this gig, as it's the first time I've played in the city.

“I actually know Edinburgh really well, though, because I went to Napier. I studied web design and got my degree and stuff.”

Asked what fans can expect from the gig, he says: “They'll get to hear all my songs that have come out so far – Told You So, Wellerman, Ring Ding... all those.

“Then there will be all the other stuff I've been working on recently, songs that might make it onto the album eventually.”

Nathan Evans, The Caves, Niddrie Street, Monday (December 13), £13.20, doors 7pm, 0131-510 1122

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