You were in MIC for four seasons. Why not a fifth?
'I was having dinner with a friend in New York and we were talking about what we were really passionate about in life. For me, it's music. She said to me; "Well, then why aren't you doing that full time?" It really struck me and made me think what am I doing? MIC was an amazing experience and I made great friends from it but music is what I want to do.'
So does a musical streak run in the family?
'My grandpa was very musical, he was an incredible bagpipe player. I learned them at school too and then I taught myself how to play the guitar. I've never had a lesson. I just watched some YouTube tutorials and taught myself in my bedroom. At dinner parties at home everyone would sing a song but I could never even play in front of anyone.'
So how did you make the leap from bedroom to stage?
'I did a bit of a p**s take music video with some of the boys from Made in Chelsea. When I went in to record my vocals, the sound guy turned around and said; "Dude you know, you can actually sing." So I explained to him that I actually write songs and he said we need to get a studio session in. So we did. And then my mum's friend was a producer so I did some stuff with him too. He used to work with Elton John, like thirty years ago and he said he was going to e-mail my music to Elton. I really didn't really think anything of it, I was like as if Elton John will listen to it, but five minutes later we got a message back saying; "Love the sound, does he have a nice face? " I screenshotted it, it was so cool.'
Who else do you admire musically?
'I think Hozier and James Bay have a really cool corner in the market. I love a New York jazz artist called José James. I saw him live and it's the sexiest gig I've ever been to. You couldn't go to that gig and not get laid! His band were sick, they played for like two hours. And then there's John Butler who is a bit more surfy. And I'm desperate to see the Amy film. Lyrically, she was amazing.'
What's your song-writing process like?
'I probably write a song a day every day about random stuff, but the good ones hit you out of nowhere. It's when something major happens and you get a rush of emotion. I can't talk about negative things but I can write about them. It's a bit like therapy for me. My two managers are really good at getting me to talk about things that I don't want to talk about through music. Like, I had never spoken about my parent's divorce but I wrote a song about it. Songs are like my diary.'
You're off to record in Nashville soon, is there pressure?
'There is because I've stepped out and said this is what I want to do. So there is pressure for me to do it well. But I'm not going to release anything until I think it's right. A year ago I didn't know anything about the music industry and I wasn't particuarly well advised. I released songs that shouldn't have been released. So now I'm very fussy. I'm starting from zero again to make sure that I find my sound.
You've been doing a lot of small gigs. What are they like?
'I love doing small, intimate gigs and chatting to the entire crowd. I want people to get to know me. People think they know me but they don’t. I’m using it as an opportunity to talk about what I’m doing and what I’m writing about.'
What are your fans like?
'They're very enthusiastic. They always pass out. There have been three times now where I've had to catch someone. Luckily, because I'm a surf instructor and lifeguard I know what to do!'
When did you get into surfing?
'I was always into water sports like wakeboarding and water skiing. But when I was 15 I went to stay at my friend's house in Cornwall for two weeks and he got me into surfing. I have never looked back. It's so addictive.'
What are your favourite beaches?
'Porthmeor beach in St Ives is perfect. You can duck dive and all you see is beautiful sand underneath you. And then there's an amazing café where you can get amazing Cornish tapas aftwerwards. The best waves are in Croyde in North Devon. In Ireland I go to Bundoran where I climb down cliffs to get into the water. And in Mexico, there's a place called Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast where the whole vibe is just insane. One of the best waves I've had is in Barbados, in Sandy Lane. No one really goes there but it has a world class surf break.'
What tips do you have for beginners?
'It's really important to be swim fit. You should try get to a pool two or three times a week as it builds up your upper body strength in a way you really can't do with weights. Surfing is all about being flexible as well as fit so swimming is really the best thing for it. Yoga is all really good because that's all about being flexible and strong. I like bikram as in the heat I feel like I'm working harder. But any power yoga is good.'
How can we stay upright on the board?
'When I teach my surf courses, the most important thing I explain is to keep your head square to your feet. When you’re standing up on the board, your head is actually the heaviest thing i it’s the thing that tips you off one way or the other. So if you keep your head straight to the middle of the board then you’re going to be fine. Try and imagine you can only move your head up and down, and you can’t move it left or right. That’s definitely the best way to stay on the board.'
When you're #eatingclean what's your diet like?
'I love poached or boiled eggs for breakfast. If you have a busy week, you can boil them the night before and then just take them with you with some fruit. At lunchtime I'll try and have a salad maybe quiona with some protein. I find it hard to do more than a day without carbs and I'd never do longer than week, ever. If you buy a salad out don't use the dressing that comes with it. Just get a lemon and squeeze that on it instead. I love snacking on nuts but try to get the non-salted ones, almonds are good. And I love chocolate, if I'm being good I'll have dark. In the evenings I'll have fish or meat with vegetables.'
Are you a good cook?
'I love it. My signature dish would probably be fajitas, it's not cool but it's easy. I'm one of five kids so I'm really good at meals where you can feed a large group or eat it later. So when I cook for myself I have leftovers for days. And I love to barbecue. I do it all year round, even in the winter, you'll find me out in the snow.'
And alongside surfing and music, you've also got your clothing label Jam Industries?
'Yes, it's a lifestyle brand that me and my brother set up. I work on the creative side and he looks after the business stuff. My mum is now involved too, she looks after the wholesale side. She used to be a buyer so it's great to have her on-board. I remember the first time I saw someone wearing one of our t-shirts. It was a wicked feeling, I love it.'
Finally, what's this about Ed Sheeran sleeping on your couch?
'Before he became really famous, he was supporting Kasabian in Leeds. I was at uni there and he was friends with one of my housemates. Ed texted him to say he had no money and could he crash on our couch? So he came and as a thank you he said he'd do a gig in our basement. So we invited all these really cool and edgy people over and I suddenly thought s**t what have I done? They're going to go down to the basement and see some ginger kid with his guitar and probably laugh. So I hid in the loo for 15 minutes and then crept downstairs and it was amazing, Ed had the whole house dancing and he was just freestyling and rapping about my best friend and just taking the p**s out of him. Everyone loved it.'