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From Scotland’s Pub Stages To Sold-Out Stadiums: A Guide To Gerry Cinnamon

Gerry-Cinnamon
Photo by Paul Gallagher
Glasgow's folk poet Gerry Cinnamon scored one of the bestselling albums of the year. But who is the man behind the stadium rock phenomena? NBHAP author Louisa investigated into the media-shy artist.

Gerry Cinnamon might be the biggest rockstar you’ve never heard of. He has sold out stadiums within the UK. played major festivals and most recently charted at Number 1. However, the Scottish artist achieved all this without a big promo campaign, interviews, or television show appearances. So, how do you explain the Cinnamon-phenomenon to someone who’s never heard of it? We tried to analyze his road to success from start to his most recent chart success. 

From dishwasher to millionaire (… well, almost)

Gerry Cinnamon isn’t quite a big fan of the media and he isn’t shy to state that: I don’t deal with people that I don’t trust. And I don’t trust people that I don’t know. So I don’t deal with any cunt, he frankly said in a rare interview with The Face. Yet, some facts are still known about him. Growing up in the Glaswegian working-class district Castlemilk, he was introduced to The Rolling Stones, Beatles and Dylan as a kid. In his teenage years, he learned to play both the guitar and harmonica. After a quick detour to London, he returned to Glasgow as a young adult, balancing several jobs, from scaffolding to barista or chef. In college, he formed a band called The Cinnamons, from which he claimed his solo artist name. Giving his aversion against media promotion, it seems quite astonishing what Cinnamon has archived only with his own social media promotion. Having started out in local pubs with a loop pedal, Cinnamon self-released his debut album Erratic Cinematic in 2017 which was highly acclaimed by his Scottish fans. 

Fans and followers

With his Dylan trademark cap, Adidas track jackets and his signature mod haircut crossover, he represents the type of lad you would imagine to be a crossover between Paul Weller and Liam Gallagher. However, this isn’t the only sign of nostalgia in the Cinnamon-universe. For his album and single artworks, he used numerous analogue pictures of the British working class. throughout the 60s and 70s. With this proclivity to older times, Cinnamon might remind you a bit of early 2010’s folk darling Jake Bugg.

Bearing this in mind, you can only imagine Cinnamon fans to be that kind of people that were born in the wrong decade. At least, they can wear merchandise shirts with the inscription ‘Gerry Fucking Cinnamon’. Similar to his competitors, his lad-heavy fanbase is pretty compassionate. There are videos emerging on the internet with fan chants from various places such as Barcelona or his hometown Glasgow. Their sing-along sentence tends to be the Scottish phrase Here wehere wehere we f******ng go!

Cinnamon’s biggest fan is probably Liam Gallagher though, who took him along his Australia tour in 2019. Of course, he has also embraced the love through Twitter:

Top Of The Pops 2020

This year – before the global Covid-19 outbreak happened – Cinnamon was supposed to headline Glasgow’s Hampden Park stadium with over 50000 capacity, as well as a prime-time slot at Reading and Leeds Festival. However, he still decided to release his second album The Bonny, despite tour cancellations and closed record stores. For him, it was the right decision: The album charted on Number 1 of the Official Album Charts in The UK, having also been the fastest-selling vinyl of 2020 so far.

Familiar to the masses. Gerry Cinnamon is a festival headliner in the making

Even the name of the record symbolizes the mythology within Cinnamon’s lyrics: Bonny is the Scottish word for a bonfire, but the meaning behind the album title is still different. ‘The Bonny’s just a metaphor for dreaming something into existence and building it bigger, and even if you don’t care enough about yourself to do it for your own good, maybe try doing it for the people you love’, he explains.  Within his songs, he processes his own experiences and feelings. Cinnamon describes issues which plenty of us have already faced: alienation, insomnia, break-ups. However, there’s also a feeling of positivity swinging within Dark Days, of all tracks. The message behind the lyrics give hope to carry on through the ongoing crisis:

These days it’s easy to be convinced that the world’s full of nothing but darkness but now and again you have those wee moments that really mean something; whether it’s at a gig, singing with your pals; or you’re loved up with somebody; and you get feel that feeling.”

Many songs on the album – such as Canter, Sun Queen or When We’re Going are the type of songs you could expect to be festival anthems in the (hopefully near) future. Cinnamon doesn’t just write sing-along tracks, though. The more down-tempo and melancholic tracks of The Bonny (such as Mayhem or Every Man’s Truth)are those type of songs that you could enjoy alongside with a pint of lager in your local pub. At times, the Glaswegian seems like a modern-day Scottish version of Bob Dylan or Neil Young, in other moments he shows similarities to The Pogues and more recently, Frank Turner. Cinnamon seems refreshingly unselfish, a character trait that is pretty rare in the music business. He simply does without posting selfies and releasing shiny music videos. 

With his working-class spirit, his honesty and the down-to-earth mentality, Cinnamon gives us hope, that there will be a promising future for independent guitar music. His personal goal is to make real music and motivate fellow working-class musicians to do the same. The next step in the career of the Scottish bard would be – again according to his infamous The Face interview – to buy his mother a house. What a lad. 

Gerry Cinnamon‘s chart-topping second LP The Bonny is out now via AWAL.

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This article was made possible via the concept of ‘Smart Compensation‘ which allows to invest more time on specific editorial topics. Find out more about it in NBHAP’s Mediakit.