Do you know Tom Craven?

Do you know Tom Craven?

When it comes to independent musicians, it’s common to find those who give up after the first EP or the first album (when they manage to record). Certainly not the case for Tom Craven, a charismatic stalwart solo acoustic artist on the Watford/Milton Keynes (UK) music scene for over a decade. The guy not only records his own compositions since 2006, releasing at least 4 EP’s (solo or with a full band), as he is already on his second full album. And don’t think that, at this point, he starts to lack inspiration. By the quality of “Make yourself known”, Craven is just getting started.

The ability to please an unlimited range of different age groups and tastes is like Craven’s superpower. On his newly released album, he features 12 tracks whose themes range from interrelationships, heartbreak to literary classics. The common point in all of them? The honesty with which Craven gives himself to the performance. “… it is a call to be honest and open in everything we do and make intentions and feelings apparent before these begin to eat away our thoughts into negativity”, Craven declares about the concept behind the album (Check out the Track by Track at the end of the article).

I believe people are craving personal connection after the past few troubled years and hopefully my words can bring people solace and show that they are not alone in their feelings.

Tom Craven

2 7 Things about Tom Craven

RC – Hi, Tom. How is it going? Are you in the UK?

TCI am indeed!  Originally from just north of London, a little town called Watford and now based in Milton Keynes, a little way further north.

RC – The first thing I felt listening to your new album is the melody and how competently you are able to deliver it on every track, which immediately reminded me of artists like Lewis Capaldi. Is he an inspiration, who do you draw inspiration from to write, especially your ballads?

TCLewis Capaldi is a fantastic singer and performer and I am actually acquainted with one of his songwriters! My personal inspiration comes from classic songwriters throughout the 60’s/70’s up to the present day. I was brought up on a staple diet of Country, Pop, Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues, Classic Rock etc etc, by my parents and the pop sensibility and melodies in these genres have always struck a chord with me. A direct influence for my ballads would have to be late-90’s artists like Damien Rice, Lisa Loeb, Michelle Branch and Turin Brakes. Not to forget the classics like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and Eagles.

RC – What do you mean when you title your new album “Make yourself known”? Is it a self-reference?

TC‘Make Yourself Known’ is a reference to how we all spend so much time convincing ourselves and others that everything is ok in the world, when it is quite evidently not. Albeit within relationships, friendships, work and even creative endeavours – it is a call to be honest and open in everything we do and make intentions and feelings apparent before these begin to eat away our thoughts into negativity.

RC – Your compositions follow the traditional molds (The Beatles, Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen) and are a pleasant surprise in a world that increasingly embraces trap minimalism and the synthesis of TikTok virals. When you are on stage, how is the exchange with your audience? Is it older people who know how to appreciate songwriting, or do you also appeal to younger people?

TC – I am proud to be flying the flag for traditional song-writing and sounds, whether it is with my lyrics, melodies or collaborative elements. Most entertainment these days is designed for a very ‘quick-fix’ and I believe there are still many people that are hungry for something deeper in what they listen to, watch and enjoy. I believe people are craving personal connection after the past few troubled years and hopefully my words can bring people solace and show that they are not alone in their feelings. My fan-base definitely covers a wide age-range, but with it’s classic sound and my own personal age and taste in music, definitely appeals to an older demographic!

RC – Who are you talking about on “Dreams of Sixsmith”? The writer? Why would you dedicate a song to him?

TC‘Dreams of Sixsmith’ is directly influenced by the beautiful, yet tragic love story between Frobisher and Sixsmith in the book/movie ‘Cloud Atlas’. I love to tell a story with my songs and I feel this song is one of my most poetic. It’s a classic tale of forbidden love, which is one of the most vivid and well-used inspirations for pop songs since the beginning of time!

RC – The world of music is increasingly focused on female artists (and it’s awesome btw). In the UK we have Holly Humberstone who, in my opinion, is one of the great songwriters of the decade. You feel confronted with this new market dynamic, you intend to do feat. female someday?

TC Female artists have always been integral to my taste in music and as mentioned earlier, some of my biggest influences are. Holly Humberstone is another fantastic artist and is featured on many of my Spotify playlists! A great songwriter. I believe in good songs and performers, regardless of gender/race/religious beliefs/sexuality. It is definitely not something to feel negative and confronted by. Quite the opposite! I have a number of tracks featuring superb performances by female artists on my releases throughout my time as a songwriter – from Lauren Fox on my 2017 single ‘Magpie’; Becky Holloway on the original album version of ‘Magpie’ in 2012; Lauren Rich on the remaster of ‘Heads Rule Hearts’ in 2022; Rachel Chilcraft on ‘New Signals’ on this very album ‘Make Yourself Known’ and even my own sister joining me for ‘Beneath The Burning Moon’ on my 2015 EP ‘In Rivers’! Collaboration is in my blood and these artists are all incredible performers and songwriters to work with.

Holly Humberstone: “A great songwriter

RC – About Brazil, do you enjoy anything from our music/culture?

TC – The music for sure! I have yet to visit the country, but I have acquaintances who do Samba performances throughout the UK and I have always adored the vibes, the rhythms, the colours and the raw passion that music from Brazil brings. My family were huge jazz fans too and the energy within these genres is incomparable!

TRACK BY TRACK: “Make yourself known”

For starters, what makes Tom Craven’s second full album a unique release in the middle of 2023 is that it goes against the grain of what the music industry forces us to listen to today via streamings or, even more sadly, via TikTok. Instead of compositions based solely on beats (trap), Craven prioritizes melodies, presenting a set of ballads that would put him at the top of any chart if solid names like Mariah Carey and Phil Collins were still on the rise.

Let if Fall (My December)

I usually skip the first tracks of every album I listen to. Is that, usually it sums up and spoils all the surprise of the rest of the album. This is not the case with the opening track. With a keyboard that reminds me of Bruce Hornsby classics, it kind of warms our ears for what comes next.

Hidden City

On “Hidden City” Craven’s melodic talents reach their peak, delivering a song that resonates directly with our own idea of ​​nostalgia for cities we’ve lived through all our lives. With a touch of Alt. Country that makes it my favorite tune.

New Signals

Impossible to listen to this one without using some tissues. The track that most reminded me of Lewis Capaldi’s sugary ballads.

Secondhand Smoke (Same Jeans)

Perhaps the most exciting and powerful track on the entire album, which speaks directly to alternative rock bands that did not leave the radio in the 90s, such as Semisonic, New Radicals and Third Eye Blind.

A change in the papers

One more ballad to listen to over a glass of whiskey and coke. If there’s one thing serious about Craven, it’s that he doesn’t feel bad to bring us to tears.


If there’s an album that fits perfectly with this one, it’s Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love” (87). “Catalyst” is the new “One Step Up”.


After two tracks of pure crying, it’s a bit of a relief to hear this energetic “Sleep”. The desire is to play it in the car, at 120 km per hour, on vacation. The song that Coldplay tries to write today and can’t anymore because somehow it got “ugly” to be simple.

The Game Inside

In my opinion, the least inspired track out of the 12, even if it’s better than most of what’s been released around as a potential hit.

Dreams of Sixmith

You can know an artist by the kind of influences he lists. And when he’s inspired by literature, what we get are tracks like these: sensitive lyrics that stir our mood. “Dreams of Sixsmith’ is directly influenced by the beautiful, yet tragic love story between Frobisher and Sixsmith in the book/movie ‘Cloud Atlas’”.


It’s curious that “Truffles” is positioned at the end of the album, because it fits perfectly with the vibe of an end to a show. With everyone up, ready to face day to day again.

Atlantic Bells (Piano Version)

If you too were thinking there was a minimalist track missing from this album, “Atlantic Bells” proves that there isn’t any more. An organic ballad that showcases all of Craven’s attributes as a singer.

Little Steps

That’s what happens when you blend country with punk-rock.

Many thanks to Tom Craven. 

Marcos Tadeu

Marcos Tadeu

Jornalista, idealizador e apresentador do Rock Cabeça na 100,9 FM, Rádio Inconfidência FM (MG) desde 2016. Acima de tudo, um fã de rock gringo.