Liam Doyle has stormed through to the Salute 2017 Finals with ‘I Won’t Let Go’, we caught up with him again to get his reaction on making it through to the final stage of the Salute Music Makers Competition.


  • SALUTE: Yes Liam, congratulations, how does it feel to get through to the Salute finals?
I’m incredibly overwhelmed to be in the final 6. I was determined to come away with something as I’ve worked really hard this past year and to have won £10,000 is crazy! The competition was so tough with so many unbelievable artists and it really could have been anybody’s. It definitely feels like the start of big things to come! I feel so grateful to the judges for picking me for the top 100 and to everyone who’s been taking the time to vote!
  • SALUTE: What was it like choosing the new song for the finals? What is the inspiration behind the new song?
I felt that I wanted to pick something with a bit more of an upbeat sound to show some variety! I think that ‘Don’t Walk Away’ is lyrically stronger than ‘I Won’t Let Go’ and I’m looking forward to hearing what people think.
The song is mainly about trying to hold on to someone who is hiding how they feel for you, especially when things get hard and feeling like there is real potential there if only they’d give it a chance. I tend to take personal experiences but also incorporate general life observations and other people’s experiences into my writing!
  • SALUTE: How did you find out about Salute originally, and what do you think of what we are doing?

It was actually through Tenement TV, I’m sure that I had seen an article about it and I jumped at it straight away. Everyone in this industry knows how expensive everything is, especially when you’re unsigned and self-funded so the prizes are unbelievable! I think it’s an amazing, fair and simple voting system and for us artists, an incredible opportunity.

Sometimes you just need that kickstart, especially when working so hard, scrimping and scraping and putting your heart and soul and every bit of money into your passion.

  • SALUTE: Have you had much coverage from the local press about your involvement and success with Salute?
I have a few radio interviews and live sessions coming up in the next week or so to talk about the competition and have also contacted numerous online news sites and blogs.
  • SALUTE: Did you have a good summer?

Summer was great for me. I had a very busy year last year and actually had some voice problems so I spent a lot of time chasing answers about that whilst still gigging. It was hellish but taught me a great deal in not taking my talent for granted. Sometimes you’re on autopilot and don’t stop to think about things that are happening in the present and I’ve realised sometimes it’s good to take a minute. I think it also taught me that things tend to happen for a reason and not to put so much pressure on myself. Luckily I got to the bottom of it and I used the summer to really get comfortable on stage again and write a lot of new material that I can’t wait to get recorded. I played a folk festival in Liverpool organised by Janice Long and performed at other independent festivals.

  • SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like musically?

I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow has a very strong musical scene where everyone kind of knows everyone else and I’ve learned a great deal from playing in cafes and bars all over the city. I’ve spent a lot of time in London through music and I think, although it can often be the place you need to be, it’s nice to be away from that way of living sometimes. With the internet, you can do so much from home. I busk a lot on Buchanan Street and there are so many incredibly talented musicians out there on a daily basis.

  • SALUTE: Glasgow has some great local scenes, did you collaborate much with other musicians?

There are loads of open mic nights all over the city and these were invaluable to me in getting that experience of playing live in front of people. They would often turn into a jam session.

Also, I talk to a lot of the buskers who all help each other out as much as we can and often join each other.

  • SALUTE: When did you write your first song? When did you write ‘I Won’t Let Go’?

I have an identical twin who played piano and sang from a young age and I always kind of copied him. I started posting his videos on youtube when we were 15/16 and saw he was getting great comments from all over the world so I put some of my own up and it kind of took off from there! At first, he was playing piano for me which was a bit of a problem as I wanted to be able to post whenever I wanted to. I taught myself guitar and piano pretty quickly after that and wrote my first song when I was 16.

I actually wrote the first part of ‘I Won’t Let Go’ based on a film I had seen and had never really been able to finish it. I don’t know if I maybe never felt as connected to it. It sat for maybe two years or so half-finished until something happened in my life and it wrote itself within 10 minutes!

  • SALUTE: Besides your twin brother have there been any other musicians that you’ve collaborated with or been particularly inspired by?
I was lucky enough to play a few shows with Ben Montague who’s work ethic and stage presence inspired me massively. I also am a big fan of Gabrielle Aplin’s work. The way she set up her own label from a young age and took her career into her own hands is pretty inspiring; not to mention her songwriting is phenomenal!
  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for recording and production

Youtube/Facebook wise, I tend to just record on my laptop and link up a mic. I think there’s something special about a raw one take video. I don’t really like it when everything is far too polished unless it’s being released! I’m quite into messing around on logic and creating my own demos although when I need a song recorded for an EP or release, I save all my money and work with a producer when I’m able to. It’s hard work getting to that point, again being self-funded but as long as you and the producer have a mutual understanding, it’s well worth it.

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