It’s easy to listen to Lewis Capaldi‘s breakthrough hit, “Someone You Loved,” and assume that he’s still absolutely reeling from a devastating split. But to hear the 22-year-old tell it, he was already way, way over his ex by the time he wrote his signature bleeding-heart ballad.
“‘Someone You Loved’ took a very long time because my album was finished, so I thought,” Capaldi, the MTV Push artist for the month of October, recalled. “I thought I’d written all these songs and I was like, cool, let’s see if I can flog a dead horse some more with this old relationship that I was trying to write about.”
Capaldi came up with the song’s melodies in a whopping 10 minutes, but kept them locked away until a studio session months later.
“Because I was trying to write about a relationship that I had been writing about for two years and that had ended when I was 19, I was like, ‘I don’t care anymore.’ I was kinda over it,” he admitted, adding that it was a collaborator in the room who told him, “‘You don’t have to write about heartbreak all the time.'”
“And even though ‘Someone You Loved’ sounds like it might be in that vein, it’s actually a song about loss [on] a wider spectrum,” he continued. “So, bereavement, or people breaking up, or just losing touch with friends over the years.”
Those kind of broad influences are clearly resonating — “Someone You Loved” has already made the Scottish singer-songwriter a hometown hero across the pond, but now his dominance has extended to the U.S. This week, “Someone You Loved” climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and he earned three MTV EMA nominations. On top of those feats, Capaldi recently joined Alicia Keys onstage for a duet version of the song, and he’s getting ready for a sold-out North American tour in support of his debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent. So, yeah, you could say he officially “won” the breakup that inspired his biggest hit.
See Capaldi’s MTV Push interview above, and check out his exclusive performance of “Someone You Loved” below. (Pro tip: break out the tissues first.)