Tomi Saario today unveils his brand new single ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’, out now on Four Music (Sony Music) and accompanied by a pioneering video, shot over the internet with Tomi isolating in Helsinki and the videographer in Berlin. The track is the Finnish singer-songwriter’s second offering and follows in the wake of debut single ‘Just A Little’, which has already amassed over 1.5 million streams since its release in January.
Combining Tomi’s sparkling vocals and trademark sunny guitar licks with slick pop production and a warming earworm of a chorus, ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ deals with the complicated emotions that arise from wanting someone who’s already taken.
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” is about being in love with a friend that is in a relationship with somebody else, even though it is clear that both of you feel the same way. So you end up just playing hide and seek with your emotions because it feels easier than facing them head on”, Tomi explains.
When Tomi’s original plans for a video and artwork were scuppered by Covid-19, he, creative director Sami Joensuu and photographer / videographer Max Motel had to get imaginative. With Tomi in Helsinki and Max in Berlin they decided to film the video remotely. Using a combination of skype and Tomi’s iPhone with cinematic video app Filmic Pro, they worked over 3 days with Max directing Tomi, who would upload the footage for Max to download and feedback. With no lighting or photography equipment in Tomi’s house, they had to shoot the artwork strictly between 8-9am, when the perfect light filtered through Tomi’s bedroom window. The video shoots went on into the night, with Tomi using an empty loo roll, kitchen towel and a clip-on LED for a spotlight, plus pillowcases over the lamps and cardboard boxes on the walls to get the right light.
“It was fun but it definitely wasn’t easy. Some of the positions I had to hold while filming were incredibly uncomfortable. My DIY camera stand (made out of two chairs and a table) wasn’t high enough, so I had to do most of the takes in this awkward half-squat position and do my best to make it look effortless. Now my legs hurt but hopefully people like it and maybe even get inspired by it,” says Tomi.
With a family full of fighter, stunt and airline pilots, plus an uncle who’s the most successful songwriter in Finland, Tomi Saario was never going to be an ordinary guy. Having fallen in love with blues music aged seven listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn, it wasn’t until he was 17 that he wrote his first song, citing John Mayer and D’Angelo as major influences. Before then a career in football looked more likely, having represented his country at youth level, playing against the likes of Real Madrid. “But then I had the realisation that I was better at music and when I finally started writing songs it was a no brainer” he explains.
Before he could fully commit to music, however, he had to complete military service, which is mandatory in Finland. After a year in the urban warfare squad, an experience he describes as rewarding and life-enriching, he moved to one of the music capitals of the world: London. Gigging relentlessly, he played over 1,000 shows in four years, turning up at any open mic night that would have him in order to hone his performance skills.
The latest exciting Scandinavian export set to take the globe by storm, 2020 sees Tomi Saario primed to share his songs with the world. The success of ‘Just A Little’ has already seen him garner support from the likes of Rollacoaster Magazine, as well as major radio and tv stations across Germany and Scandinavia. If ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ is anything to go by, this is just the beginning of an exhilarating journey for this talented young man.