It’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK and Thomas Headon is spending a sunny Saturday at Ace Cornershop on Shoreditch High Street located in the capital city. He’s just spent hours mingling with fans and applying temporary tattoos on them, which some queued hours to get done. The fun event is part of a three-day pop-up that is in promotion of Spotify’s Our Generation playlist, in which the likes of Holly Humberstone and Lava La Rue also participated. Headon shortly after treats an intimate crowd to an acoustic set before wrapping up his day with an interview with me. Naturally, we start off by talking about tattoos, real ones that is.
“I think it’s like upwards of 17,” he says as he guesses how many he has while peeling off the temporary one he did on his arm earlier. Headon was 18 when he got his first tattoo and admits that it’s that particular one he already regrets. Located on his right arm, he points at what looks to be a triangle and a snowflake. “It’s horribly ugly and I wanna get it covered,” Headon states. Nevertheless, there are many he loves, including the one that says “Hi!” on his wedding finger. “Someone’s gonna hate me in the future, alas,” he jokes. His most recent? The little envelope with the heart in it on his left arm. “I like tattoos near my hands but my mom doesn’t at all for obvious reasons because she’s my fucking mom,” he adds.
When he’s not pressing fake tattoos on fans’ bodies or getting permanently inked himself, Headon is a full-time pop star with a busy career. Just a little over a month ago, he released his latest single, “i loved boy,” a break-up song written from the perspective of his friend. “It was such a quick song to write,” Headon says about the creative process. “Sometimes you fucking spend an hour being like, ‘Oh, is the word and or but?’ but everything came out super naturally, which is super cool.” The track followed 2022’s “Georgia,” an infectious sing-a-long track that he revealed was his favorite to date upon its release. Months prior, Headon dropped his third EP, Victoria, in March, which leads me to ask the obvious, is a debut album going to be next?
“I do get to write an album,” he reveals. “We’ve got an EP bundle of songs coming up in June/July and then I just get to write an album, which is great. As soon as all this promo for ‘i love a boy’ and everything is done, I am just in full album mode. It’s very exciting.”
Even though writing for the album hasn’t officially taken place yet, Headon confesses there have been a couple of songs from over the years that he has purposely been saving for a bigger project. That said, sitting on songs and waiting to release them isn’t typically his vibe. “There are so many songs that I thought were amazing at one point and now I’ve just kind of been like, ‘I don’t like that at all,’ which is a shame because their lifespan is short, but at the same time, it makes you keep writing new stuff,” Headon says. Planning ahead, the 22-year-old is already mapping out how he hopes the creative process will go down. “I think I wanna work with a bunch of people I haven’t worked with before and I want to collaborate more, it’s been a while since I’ve done a collab,” he says. “The more social it is, the better, I think.”
Born in London, Headon and his family moved down under to Melbourne, Australia when he was just five. 11 years later, he realized that if we were to take music seriously, that would require a change. That change would be flying back to London to pursue his dreams. “I had been thinking about it since I was 16 and then did it when I was 18. So, it was kinda like two years in the making. Everyone around me in my life was super supportive about it, which was nice. No one said, ‘Don’t do it,’” he explains. With the initial plan of returning back home if it didn’t work out within the first year, Headon was able to survive, just about. “I look back and I’m like, ‘Dog, you had like six pounds! What were you doing?’” he says.
A full circle moment, his first gig funnily enough took place around the corner from the venue we’re talking in. “It was for a children’s nursery so parents can go to gigs in the day,” he says. “When I realized where it was when I got here, it was so cool to see my name on the billboard outside.” Declaring that to be one of his pinch-me moments so far, he also considers headlining a show at the O2 Kentish Town Forum as another. “That was crazy,” he says. “I still remember walking out and thinking, ‘Holy shit!’”
Like many of the rising stars of today, TikTok has played a big part in Headon’s rise and building a loyal fanbase. He gives full credit to his manager who influenced him to expose himself on the video hosting service before it became a popular trend. “He was like, ‘You should post covers on TikTok,’ which was super cringy but I think it’s just one of those things, it was like it was cringe until it worked,” he admits. “When it worked, I was like, ‘Well, who gives a fuck!’”
As Headon’s popularity increases and his followers count rises, he finds himself having an on-and-off relationship with social media, something which his job requires him to use regularly. “I used to adore it. I used to think it was super fun that it came along with the job. But I think the more music I make, the more I’m like, I don’t want to touch my phone. I do just want it to be just me and my friends making music and people listening to it, but I understand it has to be done,” he says.
Preparing for what is going to be a busy year of releasing music, fans can’t help but notice that there are no live shows currently in the pipeline. Or is there? “I keep asking people whether I can tell you this but I’m just gonna say it,” he says. “I’ve got a small UK tour in the summer. The London show is at Camden Assembly. Then I’m releasing this EP thing. I think I begin releasing the album at the end of the year.” And just like that, we cannot wait for what will come out in the upcoming months.