Stand Out Stories: In Conversation With Tom Zanetti

Stand Out Stories: In Conversation With Tom Zanetti

Our most recent Stand Out Story star: Tom Zanetti, takes to the spotlight. Renowned music producer, father and tv personality, there isn’t much Tom can not do. He joins us to discuss his story, thus far.

On Growing Up

I grew up on a council estate with my mum and my brother and sister. We didn’t really have any money when we were growing up at all; we used to share clothes; my mum only got what she got to pay for food. We didn’t have anything flash, we just lived in a little council house. We were basically on rations for a lot of years. We couldn’t afford to do much so we just used to pull the mattresses off the bed and fly down the stairs on them.

On Discovering Music

My dad was a DJ in the 90s. He used to take me to help set up. I just used to love listening to music growing up in the 90s. My dad’s Irish, so I used to listen to all kinds of music growing up; speed garage, techno, all the stuff he used to listen to. My mum’s side is Italian, so we used to listen to a lot of Bocelli, not to mention a little Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. There was always just such a fast selection of music in my household. I’ve always grown up around it.

On Big Breaks

I used to write poems, then I started MC’ing. Everyone used to come round to my house and I’d always be the one MC’ing. Around that time, my mum told me she wanted to take me to a recording studio. So we went and I burned like, five CDs. One of the friends that I gave the CD to started burning it and selling it at school. That CD then made it onto the Leeds market. Now, the Leeds market was where you got all the underground music that you couldn’t get from HMV at the time. It’s where you got the DJ sets that were being played in the club. It’s where everyone would go on the weekend to get music. I was just walking through one day when I was like 15-16 and one of the guys in the stalls told me that my CD was one of his best sellers.

On Overnight Successes

The first track I got signed with was ‘Darlin;’ But what people don’t realise is that that song, along with ‘You Want Me’ had been doing the rounds for about five or six years before they were signed. They’d already built a bit of momentum, that’s how ‘Darlin’’ ended up on the radio. Target wanted to play it on the radio – it got such a good response and that’s what led to it getting signed. But those songs had been bubbling away for years prior to that.

On Making a Name for Yourself

There was no Instagram when I was 15; Facebook didn’t exist when I was throwing my parties. I used to stand outside Space Club every night religiously giving out CDs to promote my party. I used to set time for myself when I just used to message every DJ that I could think of. All the older DJs remember me for that – I used to spam the life out of them! It was the only way you could get heard back then.

On Style

Style is important, it’s the way to represent yourself. You can do whatever you want with it – you can be as loud as you want. So I think style is a great way to show your personality. I’ve worn shirts and trousers since I was a kid, since I threw my first party at 17. Everyone else was in whatever was trendy and there I was in a shirt, belt and some smart shoes. I might have looked a bit daft but I always wanted to present myself like that. I try not to follow too many trends and just do my own thing.

On Leeds

In Leeds you can go out and you’ll make a million friends. You’ll just have a great time. You’ll find all kinds of different people from all different walks of life- all together dancing and having a great time. I think that’s the best thing about the north. We’re welcoming people.

On reality TV

I’ve been asked every year to come on TV shows, but it’s never really lined up for whatever reason, whether that’s for personal or professional reasons. I’d never even seen Celebs Go Dating or Made in Chelsea. I had to quarantine for 10 days before I even went to the mansion for Celebs Go Dating. I just thought I’d go in and have a laugh.

On Fatherhood

My son’s 14 now and he’s just the best he’s ever been. Every day I think he just gets better and better. The relationship we have now is just as strong as when he was a proper daddy’s boy. I just love being a dad. I love my boy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On Staying Motivated

Growing up, when I started seeing how I could make money I realised I could start doing nice things and helping my family – it gave me the drive to succeed and to work for what I wanted. You just have to get into it. Protect your mindset. Keep busy and crack on and just try to make the best out of a bad situation. You can only get somewhere if you keep moving forward. So get up in the morning, get a shower and fight the day head on. If you’re hungry enough you will get there despite how hard it is.

You can shop the Stand Out Stories edit with Tom Zanetti here now.

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