Tom Walker says he wrote his protest song Number 10 about Boris Johnson and his government in a bid to vent the frustration of the nation.
Sharing an exclusive clip of the single, the Scottish singer told Sky News: “[On Wednesday night], to see politics trending more than Love Island – you know that says something about what is happening in government right now.
“When a huge TV show that a lot of young people absolutely love is being completely put down in the trends list by a government that’s being disassembled moment by moment as people step out and resign… People have got to the point where they feel like they have to focus in on what’s going on because it is unprecedented, and we’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Calling the political turmoil “frighteningly entertaining”, Walker admitted putting out such an opinionated song was a risk: “For an established artist to all of a sudden go very political out of nowhere is probably a risk to be honest. It wasn’t until I saw the reaction from my song and read all the comments and realised that people are so, so frustrated.”
Walker wrote the first part of the song in response to the Conservative partygate scandal and the resulting confidence vote several weeks ago.
He said: “I’m not going after the entire Conservative Party and I’m not telling people who they should vote for. I’m just saying it’s unacceptable that [the government] were constantly at cheese and wine parties, while people couldn’t visit dying family members in hospital or witness the birth of their first child.”
However, with his finger on the political pulse, Walker rushed back into the recording studio on Thursday morning to write a new verse once Tory MPs began resigning in droves and it became clear Mr Johnson was likely to relinquish his post.
The BRIT award winner said his song reflects the fact people are “angry” and have “completely lost confidence” because they “don’t feel like they’re being listened to”.
He added: “I can see why. There’s scandal every other week… The government is just in complete disarray. It’s unprecedented to see that many resignations within 48 hours… I just welcome somebody new, to come in and try and bring a bit of integrity back into politics and hopefully somebody that we can trust.”
While Walker’s biggest hit to date has been his 2017 song Leave The Light On (which got to number 7 in the UK charts), it’s the online response to this song which has blown him away.
Walker called the response “wild”, with extracts from his early studio recordings racking up hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok and the initial version of the song (ahead of Mr Johnson’s resignation) edging its way into the iTunes chart, despite not receiving radio play due to its political content.
As well as the parties at Number 10 during lockdown, the song also references a struggling NHS and the cost-of-living crisis.
Looking back at the last few years, in which the nation battled against the Covid-19 virus, Walker said: “It was such a long, difficult time, musicians and artists didn’t get to go anywhere or do our job for two years. Not to mention the whole crisis in the NHS and what doctors and nurses and the amazing carers had to go through.
“So, for [the government] to just be found out, to be partying on multiple occasions, including when the Queen was attending [Prince Philip’s] funeral and they’re all in ten Downing Street, just partying… I just I kind of just lost it and started writing this song.”
Walker said a percentage of all proceeds from downloads of his song Number 10 will go to the Trussell Trust, a charity that provides emergency food and support to people locked in poverty in a bid to end the need for foodbanks.