Singer-songwriter Bryn Christopher is no stranger to the pop world, but after a decade penning bops for acts including The Saturdays and Alexandra Burke, this year he’s finally stepping back into the spotlight.
“I’m just desperate to sing and release music,” he laughs, “without the stress of, ‘Oh, it needs to be Top 5’ or anything like that. Last year, I did an acoustic thing and it was the best few days. I think I just want some attention!”
Throughout his career, Bryn has never shied away from putting himself out there; born in Great Barr, Birmingham, he attended the Italia Conti Stage School in London and was a contestant on ‘Popstars: The Rivals’ back in 2002. “I was only there for two days and then I got chucked out,” he admits. “Me and Nicola [Roberts, Girls Aloud star] were both 16 and we had to have our mums with us – there were about eight of us that were like the little kids!”
Of course, he didn’t land a spot in winning boy band One True Voice, but Bryn continued to audition for various acts and eventually convinced industry folk in the city that he was hot property. “I lied to them and said, ‘Oh, loads of people want to work with me, do you want to or not?’ And then they did,” he grins. “I did a couple of demos, left the school that I was at and luckily got signed to Polydor within a couple of months. Then, obviously, I was in the industry and working with some amazing songwriters, like Wayne Hector and Steve Mac, and I realised just how small the industry is – as long as you’ve got good friends that like you, you can work with them forever. I’m still working with Wayne now…”
The songwriting duo were behind Westlife’s Flying Without Wings – “which I used to do at every school concert” – and Bryn was also starstruck when he found himself at dinner with Swedish producer and songwriter Rami Yacoub. Well, he would have been had he realised who he was: “I just thought he was some cool producer and it was only years later when I was looking at his credits that I realised, ‘Oh my God, he’s //that// guy!’ He wrote //loads// of Britney Spears songs. I can’t believe I had dinner with him and didn’t even know…”
Someone he was more than prepared to meet was Melanie C; a few years ago, he was invited to write with the Spice Girl and their sessions produced Who I Am, the lead single from her eighth studio album. “Biff [Stannard, songwriter] asked if I wanted to come down to Brighton for two days to work with Mel C and in my head I was like, ‘Of course I’d love to spend two days with her’ – I didn’t expect to get the first single,” he admits. “To hear her sing the melody that I came up with was amazing, it was such a fun time.”
Having been signed to a major label in the past, now he’s enjoying life as part of a smaller machine that allows him the freedom to steer his ship and release the kind of music he wants to make. “I really enjoyed being in the major label world but there’s freedom and not the same pressure [now],” he reflects. “When I was at Polydor, I had a Top 20 album and that was technically a failure. Now, I’d be like, ‘How is that a failure? That’s mental!’ I’d love to be in the Top 20 again, but a lot of my friends are on major labels and I know that sometimes they aren’t allowed to release the songs they want or they aren’t actually working towards an album. So yeah, I really enjoyed my time, but I think independents are just as good.”
With that in mind, his sights are set firmly on the next 12 months – when we chat in December, he frequently reminds himself that it is, in fact, still 2023 – and having enjoyed dance collaborations with Sigala (Sweet Lovin’) and Felix Jaehn (No Therapy) in recent years, he’s planning to switch things up.
“I’m going to be releasing many more singles, some a little more acoustic,” he teases. “I’ve got a song called Because Of You that I’m really excited to get out there that shows my voice off, with just violin and cello. I’ll still be staying in the songwriting world, but it’ll be fun to get back to releasing my own music.”
Don’t be surprised when you see his name popping up in the credits on other artists’ albums too; a huge Eurovision fan, Bryn recently got to work with Loreen on a number of tracks, which he hopes will make it onto her hotly-anticipated new LP. “My friend was in with the guys that wrote Tattoo and he said, ‘Do you want to come in and do some hooks?’, and I said, ‘OK, that’s cool’,” he shares. “Then a week and a half later, I got a text saying, ‘Do you want to go in with Loreen next week for two days?’ and oh my God, she’s just everything. I’m obsessed with her. She’s gorgeous, so lovely, just a beautiful human being. So we did a couple of songs and I think one of them is really good…”
Now, the sky’s the limit. “Beyoncé would be a dream, obviously,” he beams, “and Selena Gomez – I love her!”
Watch out for more from Bryn Christopher throughout 2024 and check out his songwriter’s version of Sigala and Ella Eyre’s huge hit, Came Here For Love, out now.