A postie from Airdrie who created the viral sea shanty trend on TikTok has quit his day job to pursue a career in music.
Nathan Evans, 26, from North Lanarkshire, has beseen singing sea shanties on the video-sharing social network since July 2020, but it was his rendition of The Wellerman in December that went worldwide.
With more than 7.5 million views and Andrew Lloyd Webber among the celebrities to record themselves singing along with Mr Evans, the former postie has become the face of the modern-day shanty.
“It all started getting hectic,” Mr Evans told the PA news agency. “I was getting emails about interviews and radio, and it kept rolling on.
“On the Friday (January 15) I was like, ‘Right, I need to make a change here’, because I was too busy on my phone looking at emails and trying to post letters. I was like, ‘This is not sustainable’.
“The future will be quite bright I hope. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s never going to come around again.
“Hopefully if nothing comes of it then I can go back and continue being a postman, but I thought at the minute I’ll seize it and see what happens.”
Mr Evans now has more than half a million followers on his TikTok profile, where he shares sea shanties and other land-based music.
His rendition of The Wellerman has since been added to by singers around the world, with basses adding their rich tones in one version, and Lord Lloyd-Webber providing musical accompaniment in another, leaving him “speechless for about two days”.
As for why the sea shanty has resonated with millions, the Scot said he believes his accent adds to the song, but also said he believes it can act as a tonic during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Back in the day when the shanties were sung, it was to bring everybody together, to keep them all in time, to keep the morale high,” he said.
“So I think it’s just kind of brought it into this day and age. Everybody’s at home, they’re low, they’re not feeling too happy and then this song comes on and everybody’s joining in.
“It kind of brings everybody together, it makes it feel like you’re all united. Especially seeing how creative everybody can be with it, there’s people with violins joining in, there’s accordions.”
Mr Evans said that his dream would be to have an album, while he added that “if somebody like Ed Sheeran joined in” on his TikTok shanties, “I think I’d probably collapse”.
But while singing sea shanties has changed his life forever, he said the life of a sailor is probably not for him.
“I get seasick so I don’t know if it’s for me, and I’ve not been on a boat or a ferry in god knows how long,” he said.
“I get travel sick so I don’t know about that!”