Henry Moodie is one of the UK’s fastest-growing singer-songwriters. That’s no exaggeration. Making his debut a little over 12 months ago, the 19-year-old emerging star has been living the life any aspiring musician would manifest for themselves. With back-to-back support tours and his own headline shows across the UK and mainland Europe, Moodie has secured himself a loyal legion of listeners who have helped him accumulate over 145 million Spotify streams from just five single releases. As an added bonus, he has also racked up millions of adoring followers across his social media platforms who are following his journey every step of the way.
With the world at his feet, Moodie kicks off a Monday afternoon in July by meeting Principle at our photoshoot location in High Barnet. His diary proves to be pretty jam-packed as a day prior he was in Newcastle ticking off another milestone – His first-ever festival performance. “It was so fun. The Vamps were headlining and their audience is always just amazing and super welcoming and down for a good time,” Moodie says, sitting down while in the middle of grooming. “Everyone in Newcastle knows how to have a good time. Everyone was lovely and it was a really great first festival. We’re very happy with how it went.”
Born in a village near Guildford, Moodie embraces a far more hectic lifestyle than he experienced a few years ago. He describes his upbringing as “peaceful” and “very small-town living,” explaining, “I had two dogs and two sisters, and my back garden was like a farmland. It was all very relaxed.” His admiration for music first occurred during his primary school days when he and his classmates would participate in singing sessions. “We had this teacher who just loved music and created this environment where no one was embarrassed to sing,” Moodie says. “Singing was always a fun part of the day. We used to do it every assembly, and I feel that subconsciously made me love singing.”
When it came to attending secondary school, the opportunity to sing was also encouraged as he and his fellow pupils would go about performing in charity concerts. “From year 7 to 11, we put on these benefit concerts to raise money. I think the first one was for the victims of the Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande concert and the second one was for the Grenfell Tower fire. After that, we ended up doing them all for solidarity sports,” he explains. During this period, Moodie was gaining confidence as a vocalist, uploading covers of songs from the likes of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran to his YouTube and Instagram pages. It was explicitly his cover of Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood” that helped him get noticed and discovered by a prospective manager.
Around the same time, Moodie was influenced by his mum, a psychiatrist, to start playing the guitar after she advised him to find an outlet that would allow him to express himself. That skill would later come in handy when he was approached to join a three-piece band by the team that helped put Busted, McFly, and The Vamps together. Jumping at the opportunity, Moodie made the big decision to quit his education after receiving his GCSE results to pursue the band full-time. The trio, also made up of two other 16-year-olds Luke Scott and Eddie Jones, named themselves The 202 and released their debut single, “Dance Floor,” in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. After two years, their journey together came to an end. Despite their short-lived memories, Moodie is still able to look back on that experience as a huge learning curve. “We were a band during lockdown and I think part of the problem. When you’re living with two other 16-year-olds in your parent’s home, it’s bound to like get a little bit too much. I think it came to an end because of that,” he admits, adding, “I think we just enjoyed different kinds of music, it was kind of a natural thing to part ways. There was never a fight, there was never really any mad drama. We just weren’t really compatible.”
After initially waving goodbye to his education, Moodie realised he needed some sort of routine again. He returned to school and attended the prestigious London music college BIMM Institute to study Songwriting soon after the band parted ways. Reflecting over that period, Moodie recalls applying relatively last minute, almost missing his chances of joining that term. “I was super late because the band ended in October and the start of the school year had already started a month and a half ago,” he says. “I remember being really scared that I couldn’t get in that year but luckily they were taking late admissions so we just applied online and the day we applied was the last day that we could.”
“When I got there, I would almost spend 50 percent of my time at BIMM and then 50 percent of my time in studio sessions in London because I spent a lot of time just trying to be in the industry at the same time. The best thing about BIMM after leaving school and that band was getting back into education and doing something creative again,” he continues. “Even just getting the train every morning at 7:00 AM, while it’s super early and you hate it when it’s happening, looking back, it was so nice to just have that routine every day. It was so important.”
While learning how to write songs at school and produce during studio sessions, Moodie was one step ahead as he had already taken the initiative to use TikTok to further help grow his brand and following. After all, there was not a lot else he could do during the height of the pandemic. “We were that GCSE year who had just been given our predicted grades, so we literally had no schoolwork whatsoever during the pandemic,” he says. “I think every day I was like, ‘What’s something that I can do to connect with the audience that I had started building beforehand but also just a way to try and build a platform and get my music out there?’ When I started TikTok, I was singing lyric changes about covid and trying to be relatable and give everyone a daily thing to help them through the pandemic.”
TikTok naturally became a part of Moodie’s routine that it didn’t feel like an effort to keep up with the platform’s latest trends. Before he knew it, he had created a fan base who fell in love with his natural charm and passion for music and songwriting. The only thing awaiting him, however, was releasing his own music into the world. Putting every skill he had acquired to the test, Moodie arrived in July 2022 by self-releasing his debut single, the sentimental pop-rock anthem “you were there for me.” Penned and largely self-produced in his bedroom as a tribute to his best friend, Moodie’s breakthrough was seemingly no accident, especially when he had built a strong relationship with fans who ahead of the release helped the teaser go viral.
Achieving millions of streams in just a matter of months, Moodie found himself topping the airplay charts and dominating Spotify playlists across Europe. He was also named amongst Amazon Music’s Artists To Watch for 2023, following in the footsteps of Billie Eilish and Holly Humberstone. “I was so so grateful for the support, but I was definitely surprised,” Moodie says about the attention “you were there for me” received. “Especially for a debut single, you couldn’t really ask for any better.”
Although, Moodie’s immediate success wasn’t just impressing his growing number of listeners. Labels saw huge potential straight off the bat and wanted to sign him, off of that one song. “That was a big ego boost,” he says with a laugh. “Because I had no idea how big it was gonna go and then it had a TikTok moment. You forget how powerful that app is when it’s on your side. It changed my life.” The idea of signing a deal with a label so early on was never part of Moodie’s initial plan. But, if the opportunity arose, he said he would always consider it. “I kind of had in my head that I was happy being independent, but if there was a label deal, I would take it. That was kind of my mentality,” he says. “I would have been happy staying independent because you can do quite a lot by yourself as an artist. Because of TikTok, you can make an entire song completely by yourself from your bedroom. It’s crazy.”
Following a number of meetings with different labels, Moodie found the right ones for him, inking a deal with Sony Music’s Robots + Humans in the UK and Colombia in the US. “We signed with them because they’re just the best teams ever. When we were attending meetings, we went in first with them. I remember walking out and being like, ‘This is the one!’” he recalls. “They were so on it, they felt really passionate about the project and that’s really important to have a team that is really backing you.”
Labels were right to want a slice of the pie as future releases from Moodie have continued to prove that he is a rising star worth investing in. While he may only have a handful of songs officially released into the world, Moodie is a fair demonstration of an artist who speaks to his generation through relatable and emotion-fueled songs. So far, 2023 has seen him release the heartwrenching piano ballad “drunk text” about falling in love alone, the rock-infused “eighteen” where Moodie expresses his lost emotions while transitioning into adulthood, and the acoustic-driven “pick up the phone,” his song of encouragement for those dealing with mental health issues. The latest addition to Moodie’s growing catalogue is his current single “closure,” a song he’s been waiting to unleash for some time now.
“I’ve sat on it for a while,” Moodie admits. “I wrote it about a year ago and I performed it on my headline tour as one of the unreleased songs and people in the DMs were telling me to put it out. I told myself that before the end of the year, I would put it out as almost a kind of closure to the first chapter of my career,” he continues. “I was just like, ‘Why not put it out?’ even though it’s been a while. I’m kind of a little bit disconnected from it now, but also very much still relate to it because it’s quite a relatable thing.”
“‘Closure’ is written about how sometimes relationships can just fall apart and there’s not really a specific reason why it just didn’t really work out. You either fell out of love or your lifestyle got in the way. It’s about wishing you could pinpoint a reason or wishing they cheated or like did something bad,” Moodie says. “I almost feel that’s kind of easier to get over someone if you have a specific thing you can say they did because then you call tell yourself, ‘Oh, it’s that reason.’”
Admittedly, while Moodie’s more sad approach to writing music might resonate more with fans, he has challenged himself to pen a happy song, and so far failed at his attempts. “Oh my god, I think it is so much easier making sad songs,” he declares. “When I’ve gone to the studio and tried to write a song just about feeling happy, it’s hard to not go into the cringe lane with it. It’s very challenging trying to keep the song’s substance and keep it interesting.” What he has mastered, on the other hand, is getting in his feelings and writing something that paints a slightly less colourful picture. “It’s a bit easier because you can get really in touch with your emotions and talk about specific things that happened. I feel like songwriters lean towards that because I guess songwriting is therapy for people so they normally write about the stuff that’s difficult,” Moodie says. “I’ve really wanted to write a happy song, but that one is yet to come. One of my next goals is to write a feel-good tune.”
When the world eventually opened up and allowed musicians to perform on stage again, Moodie made up for lost time by performing on a couple of support tours for The Vamps and Mimi Webb. Singing each night in front of thousands of people, Moodie expresses nothing but gratitude for the early opportunities he was able to experience fresh out of the gate. “Performing at The O2 for The Vamps was such an iconic thing,” Moodie declares. “I had always dreamt of standing on that stage, so it was such a weird thing. Every time I would go there and watch an artist, I would wonder what it would be like standing on that stage.” After months of only being able to interact with people through a mobile device, Moodie was finally able to see how the numbers translated into something real. “Especially when you’re doing a support slot and you see people singing your songs because obviously they’re not there for you, but it’s a really cute moment to see they care for more than just the headliner,” he adds.
That said, it’s one thing to open up for an established artist on their tour but it’s a whole other situation when people purchase tickets to your own headline shows and have them sell out. Following his first two support bookings, Moodie’s career proved to be moving at a fast pace when he performed across the UK headlining his own sold-out gigs, which were swiftly followed up by more shows in Europe. “That was insane. I was so grateful for the fact that so many people bought tickets,” Moodie says. “The Vamps’ audience was so nice and wanted to come along after I did that support, so that’s really good. I would always watch the headliner and be like, ‘I wonder what it would be like being the headliner’ and then when it happens you’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ The energy is crazy, it’s so fun.”
Spending a fair portion of the year gaining confidence as a performer, Moodie has returned to take to the stage and has since opened up for both Busted and Lauren Spencer Smith simultaneously. “It’s been sick,” he says about being back on the road. “I really miss touring. You get really used to it and then you go home and it’s this weird thing where you have to adjust to normal life.” With both tours wrapped, Moodie is eager to get himself back out there after winning over new audiences. His second headline tour, which kicks off in March, will be his biggest and best yet, with 17 dates announced. Commencing in Hamburg, Moodie will visit all over Europe before finishing at London’s iconic KOKO, where the likes of Prince, Demi Lovato, and Dua Lipa have all played.
And with the summer season well and truly over and winter in full swing, it’s time for Moodie to get back into the studio to write the next chapter of his career. “I think at the moment, I’m definitely gonna go through a phase this winter of really missing tour,” he says. “On the other hand, I feel like writing in winter is much better than in summer because one, you’re trapped in the studio all day. If you did it in the summer, you would miss the sun, miss the heat, miss the vibes. Two, I guess seasonal depressions. I know that’s an extreme way of putting it, but you’re typically sadder. I really get in my feels during the winter because I’m really in touch with my emotions.”
Worldwide domination hereafter? Just watch this space!
You can catch Henry on tour at London’s KOKO on March 29th 2024. Tickets here.