An Andover musician has said the last year has been the best he’s ever had as he works on putting together his debut album.

Eric Walker has been playing music professionally since 2016, and has recorded and released a number of singles since then. He has played gigs all across the county as he strives for his music “to really blow up”.

“I’ve missed doing the live gigs in pubs and stuff, but funnily enough the last year has been the best I’ve ever had for my music,” he said.

“I hope I’ve been an uplifting force in lockdown, keeping people entertained, putting smiles on people’s faces and getting them dancing around their living rooms during what is otherwise a really hard time.”

Eric grew up in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and came to music later than most when his passion for acting overlapped with his musical ability.

“I got into music a bit later than most people, because a lot of people start from a very young age,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in music. When I was younger I dreamed of being in a boy band like N’Sync, and it wasn’t until I discovered I could sing I really got into it.

“I was always into acting and when I did my A-Levels I auditioned for Guys and Dolls and at the time, I thought: ‘I can’t sing but I’d love to get an acting part’. But part of the audition process meant you had to sing and act, so I thought I’d get a chorus role.

“But I ended up with a part with a very heavy singing role, and I thought there’d been some kind of mistake. But the music director said I had a good voice.”

After moving to Winchester to attend university, the 26-year-old said that people told him to take singing seriously after they heard him in karaoke. However, nerves held him back.

“When I was in my second year at uni, I decided to join the singing group, which was like a glee club. I was really nervous at first but managed to get a solo in the song showcase and that really got me out of my shell a bit more, and made me more confident.

“Then in my final year, I did a duet at the summer showcase and I think those two things really brought me out of my shell a bit more and made me take things a bit more seriously. I think I’d always wanted to do it, I was just a bit nervous about what people thought and if I was any good.”

At first, Eric sang acapella at gigs, as he developed his skills on the guitar and ukulele.

“Acapella is next level,” he said, “as you’ve got nothing to hide behind. It’s all your voice which is quite hard work. But I always wanted to do things myself, write my own music and release stuff, so that was what drove me to learn how to play.”

As a singer/songwriter, he says he’s inspired by musicians such as KT Tunstall and early Ed Sheeran, and finds that he is a “natural for songwriting.”

“Some of my musician friends hate me because I can sometimes write a song in the space of five minutes,” Eric laughs. “The last song I wrote I composed and wrote word for word and chord for chord in the space of ten minutes.

“The first song took a little longer, I did a couple of sessions on it and performed it live to see how it was running and it was way too long. It was about six minutes and that was unnecessary, so I trimmed it down and it became a lot more fluid.”

As he’s written more, Eric says he has found a formula for his songs, which he began to play in competitions such as Live at Your Local and Open Mic UK; both of which saw him get to the regional finals in Southampton. At the latter, he was spotted as a potential talent to be nurtured, and joined a development program based in Totton.

“Meeting all the industry mentors was really good for teaching you how the industry works,” he said. “Before you’re in it it’s hard to imagine everything that goes on inside it.”

Eric also got given discounted studio recording time, which saw him record his first single, ‘Hold My Breath’.

“I was glad I had used that as my introduction to who I am,” he said. “It went down really well and is still one of my most popular songs. I play it at all of my gigs and people always request it.”

Since then, he’s released a dozen singles, two of which have been in the UK Songwriting Contest. However, just as he was breaking into new ground, Covid hit. However, he doesn’t see it as a drawback, and instead something of an opportunity.

“I’ve missed doing the live gigs in pubs and stuff, but funnily enough the last year has been the best I’ve ever had for my music,” Eric said. “I wish everyone else could say the same but the single I released last July, ‘Doing it for You, just reached 30,000 streams which is the most successful song I’ve ever released.

“It’s captured stuff on a global level, it has been played on radio stations from Luxembourg to the United States, and even in Japan. It’s really done well.

“It’s also been good for me as I’ve connected with fans in a different way so I think the pandemic provided an opportunity to do online gigs and livestreaming. Because I didn’t grow up in Hampshire, I’ve now got people outside the local area who know me who’ve never been to one of my gigs but doing the livestreams means they’ve been able to hear me live.”

Looking ahead to lockdown lifting, Eric’s hoping to play Winchester Hat Fair and Avebury Rocks, as well as a variety of other gigs around the county. In particular, he’s looking forward to returning to Portsmouth, which he says is ‘one of his favourite cities to perform in.’

While he works on his album, he is also looking forward to continuing to develop, being labelled “one of the hardest working musicians” by BBC Introducing.

“The dream is for my music to really blow up,” he said, “and say I’ve played at the likes of Wembley Stadium and joined the ranks of some massive artists.

“I was lucky enough two years ago to record at Abbey Road Studios and the feeling of being there when you know so many famous artists have been there from The Beatles to Florence and the Machine.”

During his time at the studios, Eric said there was a particularly good moment while he posed on the steps outside.

“There was a funny moment when I had my photo taken on the steps,” he said. “Because I was in the bit where tourists weren’t allowed, some started taking pictures because I think they thought I was famous. I guess I looked the part wearing sunglasses and sitting with my guitar on the steps!

“I remember that feeling of people thinking I was famous and it was a really nice feeling, it was incredible. The dream is my music having that impact on people.”

Eric’s music can be found on Spotify at: