Tom Walker: Triumph Over Anxiety in 'Freaking Out'

Tom Walker navigates personal struggles and artistic reinvention.

by Nouman Rasool
Tom Walker: Triumph Over Anxiety in 'Freaking Out'
© Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images

Scottish singer-songwriter Tom Walker reveals a strikingly personal journey in his latest single, "Freaking Out," opening a window into the anxiety and isolation he experiences amidst social gatherings. The song, which gained significant traction on TikTok, resonates deeply with fans, particularly those grappling with autism, ADHD, and similar challenges.

Despite not charting as high as his previous hits like "Leave A Light On" and "Just You And I," Walker finds the heartfelt fan responses more fulfilling than any chart success. Born in Kilsyth and raised near Manchester, Walker's musical roots trace back to his childhood, influenced by the likes of Ray Charles and Foo Fighters.

Self-taught in multiple instruments, he honed his songwriting at London's College of Contemporary Music. His career trajectory shifted dramatically in 2017 when he was featured on NBC's Today Show, following recognition by New York DJ Elvis Duran.

His subsequent success, marked by the globally acclaimed "Leave A Light On," culminated in winning the best breakthrough artist at the Brit Awards.

Pandemic's Creative Hurdles

The pandemic, however, brought unforeseen challenges for Walker.

The shift to online collaboration proved stifling, leading him to discard an album's worth of material and reevaluate his relationship with music. The gradual return to normalcy saw Walker confronting anxiety, even as he ventured back into live performances.

His upcoming album "I Am" signals a rebirth, with a raw and percussive sound that delves into themes of despair and hope. The record includes "Lifeline," a poignant tribute to a lost friend, reflecting Walker's commitment to addressing mental health issues.

Collaborating with organizations like Samaritans, he aims to offer more than just lyrical solace. Beyond his music, Walker's personal life has been a beacon of stability. His recent marriage to Annie Watson-Foulds, a relationship that blossomed from shared interests and unwavering support during his early struggling artist days, adds a layer of joy to his narrative.

Looking ahead, Walker's return to the music scene in 2024 is eagerly anticipated. Despite a gap since his last major release, his upcoming tour has already seen sell-out shows, adding extra dates to meet the demand.