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Tom Cridland: “Be a good listener”

Have a genuine passion for the subject of the podcast, be polite and friendly, be a good listener, be well organized and, most importantly, don’t dither, just get started and follow through with your plans and ambitions. As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had […]

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Have a genuine passion for the subject of the podcast, be polite and friendly, be a good listener, be well organized and, most importantly, don’t dither, just get started and follow through with your plans and ambitions.


As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tom Cridland.

Once upon a time scientists fused the DNA of The Beatles, the Bee Gees & Phil Collins to create a singer songwriter, podcaster and fashion designer to save rock n’ roll: Tom Cridland.

Tom designs clothing to last longer and be treasured, in direct contrast to the fast fashion philosophy that has become so prevalent in modern culture. His sustainable fashion innovations have taken his brand, founded with just a £6,000 government start-up loan upon his graduation from University, to having customers on every continent, being named a Fortune Cool Company and being included on the Sustainia100. Tom’s designs include the 30 Year Sweatshirt, 30 Year T-Shirt and Half Century Jeans, all durable wardrobe staples backed with a guarantee. They underline his sustainable ethos intended to encourage you to buy better quality garments and hold onto them.

Tom’s Greatest Music of All Time podcast features candid and uncensored conversations with cultural icons and public figures about current affairs, how they achieve their success and, of course, their favourite music. Guests have included Annie Lennox, David Guetta, Chance the Rapper, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Don McLean, Pixies, The Pointer Sisters, Seal, Johnny Marr, Europe, Toto, Styx, Sir Cliff Richard, The Hollies, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kool & the Gang, Chris Rea, Foreigner, Don Felder of the Eagles, The Zombies, B.J. Thomas, UB40, Level 42, Raphael Saadiq, The Stylistics, Brooks & Dunn, Boyz II Men, ABC, Keane, Ronan Keating, 10cc, Bonnie Tyler, Luis Fonsi, Duke Dumont, Steve Harley, Dave Stewart, Douglas Murray, James Lindsay, Owen Jones, Alastair Campbell, Olivia Arben, Lisa Ann, Jeffrey Archer, Aubrey de Grey, Rose McGowan, Gloria Estefan, Brian McKnight, John Oates, Roisin Murphy, Chick Corea, Boney M, Jon Anderson of Yes, Tito Jackson of The Jackson 5 and David Crosby.

Tom Cridland was inspired to start making his own music by his friend, Nigel Olsson, Elton John’s legendary drummer. In 2019 he played a gig in all 48 contiguous US states and, the following year, he released his first solo album, Falling off the Rails. He has recorded at The Village in Los Angeles with Simply Red guitarist Kenji Suzuki and at Abbey Road with legendary David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick. His blend of pop, rock n’ roll, soul and disco has caught the attention of the legendary Philadelphia band, The Stylistics, who have invited him to support them on their upcoming UK tour in 2021.


Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I grew up in London. My Dad is English and my Mum is Portuguese. I am really proud of my Portuguese heritage. Portugal is a beautiful country.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started off designing sustainable fashion, including the 30 Year Sweatshirt and 30 Year T-Shirt. I named the business after myself reluctantly on the advice of my girlfriend and business partner, Debs. That’s how the Tom Cridland brand started, with a £6,000 government start up loan. I was always obsessed with music though, ever since falling in love with The Beatles as a boy. I belatedly started songwriting, recording my own songs and then touring independently. My song “Falling off the Rails” caught the attention of the amazing soul group, The Stylistics, and they invited me to support them on a major UK tour. That’s how Tom Cridland, the singer songwriter was born. Building on those two things I came up with the idea of the Greatest Music of All Time podcast, which is a cross between Joe Rogan and Desert Island Discs.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

It has luckily been relatively stress free so far, in terms of amusement I found my recent interview with Don McLean pretty funny. Hearing him sound off on Cardi B’s “WAP” was a definite highlight! I also very much enjoyed David Crosby’s somewhat controversial comments on Rick Rubin. I tend to try to be a good listener as an interviewer so luckily I haven’t really made a mistake yet, as such.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I love what I do so it is not an effort to maintain this schedule. I don’t think anyone should go into podcasting, or into anything for that matter, unless they have a sincere love for it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Dad, my mum and my girlfriend and business partner have helped me so much. They offer me incredible advice, emotional support and are always there for me. Running my fashion, music and podcast career with Debs is a wonderful life — she is an incredibly hard working, talented and selfless person and working with my girlfriend has not been a challenge whatsoever. There is a story about Debs that I would like to tell you that illustrates my regret at having taken our relationship too much for granted when I was younger.

It may shock you to learn that all of my top teeth are fake. Once upon a time one fell out. Keen to avoid showing off my hideous toothlessness to my Aunt who we were meeting the next day, I placed the tooth carefully on the side of the kitchen top, ready for the dentist to glue back in. Debs then disposed of what she thought was a lemon pip on the kitchen top. She awoke to a tirade of abuse from me, asking where my tooth was. Within seconds she was rooting around a bin liner for it. She should have been giving me a slap in the face. Debs has constantly stood by me, no matter what. If you too have someone wonderful in your life, I hope you don’t take it for granted like the pig I have been all these years.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

I can’t pretend that I’m bringing too much good into the world, other than hopefully the enjoyment people get out of listening to the Greatest Music of All Time podcast and the amazing advice offered to them from our guests on the show. Guests have included Annie Lennox, David Guetta, Chance the Rapper, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Don McLean, Pixies, The Pointer Sisters, Seal, Johnny Marr, Europe, Toto, Styx, Sir Cliff Richard, The Hollies, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kool & the Gang, Chris Rea, Foreigner, Don Felder of the Eagles, The Zombies, B.J. Thomas, UB40, Level 42, Raphael Saadiq, The Stylistics, Brooks & Dunn, Boyz II Men, ABC, Keane, Ronan Keating, 10cc, Bonnie Tyler, Luis Fonsi, Duke Dumont, Steve Harley, Dave Stewart, Douglas Murray, James Lindsay, Owen Jones, Alastair Campbell, Olivia Arben, Lisa Ann, Jeffrey Archer, Aubrey de Grey, Rose McGowan, Gloria Estefan, Brian McKnight, John Oates, Roisin Murphy, Chick Corea, Boney M, Jon Anderson of Yes, Tito Jackson of The Jackson 5 and David Crosby.

Starting this podcast helped me recover from a binge drinking addiction though. At rock bottom my drinking had escalated to the point of consuming over 20 pints in single sessions, urinating all over myself, binge eating and putting on 30kg in excess weight, appearing drunk on national US television and sustaining serious head injuries.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

I gave up alcohol on October 13th 2017. By then I used to drink too many alcoholic drinks almost every day. I was binging on jaigermeister, cheap lager and expensive pina coladas as often as I could. I am unbelievably lucky to have Debs to look after me and to try to look after back. Her love and support was the constant that saved my life from the pitfalls of drinking too much.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Debs has hopefully finally been spared living with a reprobate.

Perhaps my lowest moment at University was arriving back from a night out so drunk that I thought mine and Debs’ bed was a loo. I dropped trou and started urinating on my side of the bed, waking up Debs. She tried to get me to the bathroom but it was too late and the bed was sodden. I then continued urinating on the floor of the bathroom. The next morning, I woke up and immediately cried to Debs, “Why is this bed wet? What have you done to it?”. Sadly there is no photographic evidence of this charming memory so, instead, I am accompanying this chapter of the story with a photo from another happy occasion where I had once again soiled myself in a kebab shop.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

No — this is all on me! I must focus on not behaving in this reprehensible fashion again.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.

Have a genuine passion for the subject of the podcast, be polite and friendly, be a good listener, be well organized and, most importantly, don’t dither, just get started and follow through with your plans and ambitions.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am not a big fan of the current polarization in society and the lack of nuance in media reporting. I hope for a movement based on the Christian philosophy of loving your enemy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

John Lennon says in a Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”. I think that really helps you live in the moment and appreciate the here and now if you think about it.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Elton John. The greatest singer songwriter of all time in my opinion.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you for these excellent questions, was a pleasure to answer them.


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