ShantyTok: Singing postman quits job after he's offered a record deal

Jessica Carpani
·3 min read
Nathan Evans 
Nathan Evans

The sea shanty singing postman who made folk music go viral has quit his day job after winning a record deal with Polydor Records.

Folk musician Nathan Evans posted a cover on social media app Tik Tok of the infamous 19th Century whaling song The Wellerman in December and quickly amassed a following.

The 26-year-old’s song sparked a new trend for #ShantyTok as it was dueted by other users including Lord Lloyd-Webber who provided a musical accompaniment, leaving the Scot "speechless for about two days".

Mr Evans, from Airdrie, Scotland, soon found himself at the centre of a media storm with views of the cover rising sevenfold since last week, amounting to a total of 7.8 million streams.

On Wednesday, the postman shared with his newly acquired 566.3k followers that he had quit his job - and landed a music deal with Polydor Records.

A visibly overwhelmed and shocked Mr Evans said: “See how I was a postman on Friday? I have just signed to the biggest record label in the world. I have just signed a deal with Polydor Records. I’ve done it. It’s done and I’m releasing a single.”

For those wondering if the new single will be his rendition of The Wellerman, Mr Evans said “aye”.

There is currently no set date for the release but the star has cracked open the champagne.

"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," he said.

@nathanevanss

Thanks TO EVERYONE!!💙I can’t explain what’s happened this week!! Postman to Polydor! ##viral ##scottish ##recorddeal ##fyp ##foryoupage ##seashanty ##shanty

♬ original sound - N A T H A N E V A N S S

He went on to describe his sudden catapult to fame: "It all started getting hectic. 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'.”

As for why the sea shanty has resonated with millions, Mr Evans said he believes his accent adds to the song, but that the historic fisherman songs 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."

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Mr Evans 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."