Hot off the presses from the ‘Isn’t It Ironic?’ department comes this story of a seasick postman who’s about to get his 15 minutes of fame (and likely a whole lot more) by singing—what else?—sea shanties.
For those not familiar with the jaunty ditties, sea shanties, dating back some 600 years, are folk songs first sung by fishermen, whalers, pirates, merchants, privateers, and pretty much anyone who earned their keep sailing the seven seas.
The tunes feature a steady beat to keep time, and in the days when maritime trade was the king, were crooned in unison by ships’ crews as they toiled at their labors.
Likely or not, in 2021, sea shanties have become all the rage on TikTok, and the man we have to thank for the trend is a 26-year-old Scottish postman named Nathan Evans.
Evans, who has a powerful and pleasing singing voice, has been posting TikTok music videos for some time. His first sea shanty went up last June at a fan’s request.
After hauling in a leviathan’s worth of followers, Evans recorded his second shanty, ‘The Wellerman’, last December—to the tune of 7.5 million views.
As in days of yore, he soon had scores of Internet shipmates singing as well as playing along, including none other than legendary music composer and impresario, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Evans’ rendition of ‘The Wellerman’ proved so popular, he decided to quit his day job to pursue a career in music.
“It all started getting hectic,” Evans said in a January 21 interview with I News UK. “I was getting emails about interviews and radio, and it kept rolling on. [Last] Friday I was like, ‘Right, I need to make a change here’, because I was too busy on my phone looking at emails and trying to post letters. I was like, ‘This is not sustainable’.”
While Evans is hopeful the tides of destiny will steer him toward fame and fortune, the mail carrier remains pragmatic about his prospects.
“The future will be quite bright, I hope. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s never going to come around again,” Evans said. “Hopefully if nothing comes of it then I can go back and continue being a postman, but I thought at the minute I’ll seize it and see what happens.”
As high as Evans’ star may rise, just don’t look for him to do any of his warbling aboard a cruise ship once the pandemic has ended. Even the motion of the ocean from something as tame as a ferryboat ride is enough to make him ill.
Aye, ’tis never easy,
When the singer is queasy…
When he’s a singing o’ the sea!