“If I told you my secrets,
You’d never look at me the same way,
Well, I guess you’re right, some things I can’t change […]”
Lyrics like this one of the tune “Into The Silence” are the work of the Australian songwriter and producer Tim Metcalfe. The first ever album in which he was involved went straight to number one in seven European countries – including Germany and the UK. “Gospel”, “Run It Wild”, “Be A Boy”, “Don’t Hear me (Hold Me)” – and many others. The list of his hits gets longer and longer. Lucky me, because more than a few of these tunes are favourites of mine and touch me to the bottom of my heart. Tim Metcalfe, songwriting, lyrics and a picture of the series “One Picture. A Story.”.
“Istarted writing songs probably around the age of ten,“ Tim remembers with a grin, “although I’m not sure I had much talent at that stage. It wasn’t until I was around 18 when I realised that I was getting good, and then around 21 when I thought, ‚Okay, I can really do this‘.” He decided to go into the music business properly, which turned out to be one of his best decisions. Three years later in 2012 his first album was released.
Often by his side when it comes to songwriting is his best mate Flynn Francis. They got to know each other when they first went to high school and began to write tunes together a few years later. This was a collaboration which was to lead to a time when they would establish a new chapter in the music industry in cooperation with a world-famous star.
Producer Tim Metcalfe about songwriting
When he was younger, Tim tells me, music was everything for him. Nowadays he listens to a lot less music by other artists. This is mainly because he is so involved with his own projects. “When I finish something really good,” he says, “that I’m proud of and can play back really loud, whether that be in the car or on stage or whenever – that brings me infinite joy. That definitely makes me smile.“ In his opinion the best lyrics arise, “when you’re writing about what you’re experiencing or something you’ve been through.” Looked at from the point of view of a professional songwriter, this means that one has to try and express the feelings and emotions of other people. One of them is no other than Robbie Williams.
Tim Metcalfe: „After about a week we wrote ‚Take The Crown‘“
Turning the clock back eight years Robbie Williams was about to release his ninth studio album: ‚Take The Crown‘ (2012). This is an album which is ‚Not Like The Others‘– as the tune of the same title suggests. Tim was involved in eight out of the 13 tunes. It went straight to number one in seven countries in a very short time. “Robbie Williams was my very first job“, Tim tells me. “I met him through his brother in law, who then introduced Flynn and myself. He was a fan of our music and after about a week we wrote ‚Take The Crown‘. We‘ve been working together ever since. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in six albums with him now.”
Those include – besides ‚Take The Crown‘ – ‚Under The Radar Vol1‘ (2014), ‚The Heavy Entertainment Show‘ (2016) ‚Under The Radar Vol2‘ (2017), ‚Under The Radar Vol3‘ (2018) und ‚The Christmas Present‘ (2019).
Since this meeting took place in 2011 not only have many catchy tunes come about, but Tim has accompanied Robbie Williams to quite a number of concerts in Europe and worldwide, too. One of those concerts was a part of the „Let Me Entertain You“-Tour in 2015, which took them to Barcelona where they performed on stage together for the very first time. They were planning to sing ‚H.E.S‘, a tune that has never been performed live at a concert before, and ‚Motherf***er‘, a tune that wasn’t even released at the time. During rehearsals, Tim explains, Robbie Williams kept singing the words wrong. “The arena was huge and so half way through the rehearsal Rob said, ‚Nah, I don’t want to do this tonight, this place is too big and I don’t want to f*** it up‘. Then he said‚ ‚Why don’t you just join me on stage for ‚Angels‘?‘”. So Tim went backstage and figured out all the chords for a song that he had never played before.
„Let Me Entertain You“-Tour in Barcelona: „Definitely a moment I’ll never forget“
Everyone in the team knew that Tim was supposed to go on stage at the end of the concert. But when the moment came Robbie Williams seemed to have forgotten all about it. He started the tune – the incredible finale of every concert – alone and as often happens with ‚Angels‘ the whole band went on stage as the second verse started. At this moment Tim ran across the stage and snuck up behind him to say‚ “Hey, what’s up?“. Robbie Williams looked absolutely terrified, Tim remembers with a laugh, probably thinking, that a fan had broken onto stage.
But he quickly recovered, introduced Tim by name with a grin and got on with the song. A moment later the first picture of the series ‚One Picture. A Story.‘ arose. “Then during the guitar solo moment he came over (which is when this shot was taken) and said ‚Mate, you scared the absolute sh** out of me‘. So while we were sharing that moment of the song we were also laughing at the situation. It was the first time I had played in front of such a huge crowd and ‚Angels‘ wasn’t a bad song to lead with. It was a moment I’ll never forget – and definitely ignited a flame within that really pushed me to go out and do the artist thing myself.“
Tim Metcalfe: „I’ve been lucky to be a part of some great records“
In 2019 Tim and his mate the singer Dan Keyes went on tour through the US. “It was the first time I’ve toured the US so it was pretty exciting.“ What was originally formed under the band name „New Rides“ is now more like a “solo artist vibe“ for Dan, Tim explains. One tune called ‚Don’t Hear Me (Hold Me)‘ has already been released.
Another tune called ‚London‘, which was the first one Tim and Dan wrote together, will be released soon. “It’s probably my favourite of all the songs I’ve been involved with“, he says. He also mentions in this context ‚Surrender‘ (UTR Vol1), a tune he wrote with Robbie Williams . “I think I’ve been lucky to be a part of some great records and projects that have had many different levels of success, which is the beauty of it. But I think the best is yet to come“, Tim concludes with a twinkle in his eye.
Written by Michelle Brey