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On the Rise
St. Lundi

13 March 2024, 10:00

Originally from Hayling Island on the South Coast, it took St. Lundi a long journey to bring himself full-circle to where it all began.

“I don't think many people are born on Hayling Island. I think if they are, it's an emergency. Kind of, it's happening,” laughs Archie Langley from his home studio in London. After abruptly leaving home the week after his twenty-first birthday, the past few years have been a whirlwind, taking him from sofa-surfing and open mic nights to playing in front of thousands opening for Kodaline, and a collaboration with Kygo.

After a period of introspection, he recently announced his debut record The Island, taking things back to where they began. A collection of songs full of sentiment and striking honesty, the album is cemented by Langley’s intimate delivery and delicate storytelling.

Growing up, Langley’s fascination with music was heavily influenced by his parents. His mum would play the likes of Damien Rice and James Morrison while driving him to school, while his dad introduced him to Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack. “I used to sit, when I was younger, watching a DVD of The Rat Pack all singing and they'd have these little glasses of whiskey and I'd sit there with apple juice because it was the closest thing that looked like it,” he laughs.


He began to learn guitar in his early teens, but always lacked the confidence to try and sing. It wasn’t until at the age of nineteen that he was encouraged by a close friend. “I just didn't believe in myself for such a long time and then I sang to a friend one day and he said, ‘you're not that bad,’ and it kind of started from there,” he says.

Langley began to play small shows and open mics around the pubs and venues of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. “They're not the most inspiring sometimes,” he laughs. “I remember one I played, I was playing below a TV that was showing the football and they didn't turn the sound off. So I just stood there playing my heartbreaking songs, and everyone's just like, shut up - trying to watch the football.”

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At the same time, Langley was living with his grandparents and trying to make sense of his childhood. “There was all kinds of stuff that happened growing up that I was like, I guess not processing very well and struggling to deal with, and it's such a small place, everywhere you go reminds you of something that's happened at some point. I just didn't want to be where I was anymore,” he says.

Eight days after his twenty-first birthday he told his grandparents he was popping out, jumped on a train to London with just £60 in his pocket, and left his life behind.


Once in London, things began to move fast for Langley. Staying with a friend’s brother, he travelled to Shepherd’s Bush to play an open mic night and was offered a sofa by a group of friendly Australians. “I went back and there were twenty Australians living in this big house, ten bedrooms,” he laughs. “I lived with them for two years. For the first few months I didn't have money and so I slept on the sofa and if they were partying in that room, I'd go and sleep on the stairs up at the top. I had such a funny entry into London and living here, but it was the funnest time and I was looked after by twenty Australians.”

He played shows wherever he could, meeting people and building a network. He got a job in a school and would save up to record and release his own music. Quickly, he was discovered by his management and label, Propeller Music. A UK imprint of the Norwegian stable, they began to set him up in writing sessions, one particular camp in Norway proving particularly fruitful. “I remember going out to that camp and I saw the list of names; Goodboys, Dagny, Zak Abel, all of these amazing writers, and then there was Archie Langley. I hadn't even come up with St. Lundi yet, not released a song,” he laughs.

Despite his imposter syndrome, Langley connected with the duo Seeb and ended up with two credits on their Sad in Scandinavia album - “Colourblind” and “Sleepwalk.” It also led to the opportunity to pitch a song to Kygo. Working with his friend, songwriter Brad Mair, the two wrote over a track that had previously been created for a song by writers including Jamie Scott and Dermot Kennedy. The pair had just forty-eight hours to submit the song, only discovering it was being used on Kygo’s Golden Hour album the day before release.

Dropping his first single “You’ve Got The Wrong Guy,” a raw and striking ballad, in March 2020, the timing couldn’t have been worse. However, the time it afforded Langley proved invaluable. “I was working at this school and I took one day off a month which cost me money. I got one day a month to write a song and if that song wasn't very good it would be quite demotivating and upsetting,” he says. “We all got paid a full salary to do some online lessons, but I basically just got sent home for four or five months.”

Coming out of the pandemic after spending so much time alone, Langley's anxiety was intense. Having only played two shows in his first two years as St Lundi, the pressure was on. After a few false starts, he began opening for the likes of Tom Gregory and Kodaline, playing eighty shows in a year. “Going on that [Kodaline] tour was kind of like facing my anxiety every night,” he says.

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He got a bug for playing live, and early last year began therapy sessions to try and alleviate his post-lockdown anxiety while processing events from his childhood. “I'm feeling in a good place, but it was a wild time battling this thing of, we were locked indoors for a year and now I'm off playing to thousands of people every night,” he says.

The result is his debut album The Island, a collection of personal, highly-charged songwriting interspersed with poignant voice notes and delivered with a striking truth. Latest single “Different Houses” is centred on his experience of divorce as a child, but written with the benefit of acceptance. It’s an impactful, heartrending piece that strikes with the intimacy of a diary entry. “I tried writing that song for about two years and I just couldn't get the final piece of the puzzle,” he says. “I believe it did take going to therapy.”

For Langley, honesty in songwriting is crucial. Having taken the advice of Danny O’Donoghue from The Script, he explains, “A lot of people underestimate how much people can hear honesty in a song and a lot of writers can sometimes forget that. Just by being honest in your vocal or in something, there's that extra 1% that it's quite hard to find otherwise, and I think it's stuck with me.”

The Island is released on 20 September

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