Nathan Evans, from Airdrie in North Lanarkshire, has gone from strength to strength since posting his version of Wellerman on TikTok on December 27 last year, releasing multiple singles and playing at festivals across Europe.
He performed with Ant and Dec, earned a Brit Award nomination, and the song went on to be the top selling single of the year in Germany, beating Ed Sheeran into second place.
Evans said: “This full year has just been a year of dreams, literally. It’s been incredible.
“I’ve been to Germany, I’ve been to Austria, been to Switzerland, and I’ve never been to any of these places before.
“We’ve been at festivals and these countries, we’ve been in festivals in Scotland, been to festivals in England – and just playing songs in front of people and they’re singing back to you is just a dream come true. It’s just incredible.
“So everything that’s happened this year has just been milestone after milestone that I never ever thought I would get to.”
The success sprang largely from his Wellerman video, in which he layered several audio tracks to sing all the harmonies on the song.
He already had a following in the tens of thousands on TikTok for his videos, including a couple of sea shanties, which he produced after finishing his rounds delivering mail.
When he put the Wellerman video on his page, Evans knew he had “a few followers that would enjoy it”, but he had no idea what was about to happen.
“It was maybe three or four days later when I realised that it was it was growing very, very quickly, the views were just going mental,” he said.
“And I was like, OK, something’s happening here.”
Before long the song was everywhere.
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber layered his own instrumentation over Evans’ vocals in his own TikTok video, and 1990s boy band stars Gary Barlow and Ronan Keating produced their own version.
Within two weeks, a remix had been made and was getting national radio airplay, and with managers and record labels getting in touch, Evans quit his job.
He said: “It could have easily went one of two ways – it could have worked out really well for me and put me here where I am now, with a tour and writing loads of songs, and music is now my full-time job.
“But it could have easily went, like, Wellerman and that is it, it’s over, it’s finished.
“So I wanted to just make sure that I was always going to make the most of it.”
Evans, who began sharing footage online of himself performing sea shanties in July last year, has previously admitted he much prefers being on dry land to life at sea.
“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.
His most recent release was a trio of festive covers, including Driving Home For Christmas and Auld Lang Syne, while he has also put out a single he wrote himself, Told You So.
And there should be more coming in 2022.
He said: “I’ve got some singles in the pipeline, waiting to come out at the beginning of next year … it’s super exciting.”