What's next for Lewis Capaldi? Virgin EMI's Ted Cockle talks 1m sales, Jim Carrey and new music

What's next for Lewis Capaldi? Virgin EMI's Ted Cockle talks 1m sales, Jim Carrey and new music

Lewis Capaldi is back at No.1 with Divinely Uninispired To A Hellish Extent (EMI). It’s the debut album’s sixth spell at the summit and its ninth week at No.1

Capaldi narrowly missed out on reclaiming No.1 after his double BRITs win a few weeks ago. The LP has now had 42 consecutive chart weeks and sales of 809,700, according to the Official Charts Company.

“The album's not left the 10 since release, we're hoping to keep it that way for much longer,” Ted Cockle, Virgin EMI president, told Music Week. “He’s stayed strong throughout. While other new artists have come and gone with their album, he’s stayed there in the 10, which is an achievement." 

Someone You Loved has passed a billion streams on Spotify. A million sales for the debut LP are now in sight, according to Cockle.

“Amongst my closest friends, we always say you’ve not really entered the room until you sell a million albums,” said Cockle. “We believe that remains an incredibly potent yardstick of success – and it becomes even more difficult as consumption shifts [to streaming]. So if we can head towards a million by the end of the year, which we remain very hopeful of, that will be joyous. 

“I think he's deserving of it with so many strong records on there. He can reach that very honourable and quite select club of artists who have done that. He’s one of the very few British artists in the last couple of years to reach a billion streams [for a single]. If we can hit a million albums, which is our target, that would be marvellous, and it is achievable.”

While Someone You Loved is the Scottish singer-songwriter’s signature hit (now on over 2.7m OCC sales), it’s actually one of five platinum-certified singles.

“Before You Go is a sizeable radio hit at the moment that is sticking, airplay remains strong on that and across all of his hits,” said Cockle. “It continues to gather real pace in America. He’s going back over to do quite a lot of touring and promo.”

Ahead of his BRITs win, Capaldi made a debut appearance on The Graham Norton Show on BBC One. While his brand of humour has clearly been effective on social media, the BBC TV slot was an opportunity to reach a different audience.

“The Graham Norton Show was the first mid-market TV programme that he managed to speak on,” said Cockle. “We found it great that he was on the couch with Jim Carrey, and he held his own very nicely with Jim Carrey in the humour and engagement stakes." 

Capaldi’s carefree humour was also on display at the BRITs.

“Someone You Loved is a pretty emotive song, but it was good to get the balance with his awards acceptance speech,” said Cockle. “He actually gives people what they want. When they listen to a song they want it to be moving, emotive and powerful, and then when the song stops they can be entertained. It's a double-header win for a fan, isn't it? He scores top marks on great voice, great songs and entertaining delivery.”

While the album and singles are still streaming heavily, there’s now a sense that this campaign is gradually winding down.

“There’s just one more song, Leaving My Love Behind, that we’ll probably begin with in the middle of April,” confirmed Cockle. “We believe that will be the last song to be taken from this project.”

However, there is little indication that Capaldi plans any kind of extended break. Touring commitments include US dates and two shows at The O2 in the autumn, while new music is on the horizon.

“He’s a naturally active person because his affection and enthusiasm is for playing, singing and performing, so there isn't a lot of time off this year,” said Cockle. “He may well [take some time] as he drills down into the album, but he's still got a lot of touring for the next six to seven months. Then he’ll see how his record making is coming together, he’s got some opportunities and he’s going to start putting some songs together. 

“None of us ever want to pressurise him or suggest anything has to happen. It may come together – or he may have to go and bury his head in a studio for six months when he’s finished his touring this year.”

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