Life & Culture

Life affirming postie shanty

In this month's Window on the World, Jonathan Shalit reveals how postman Nathan Evans became a global sensation


One of the great blessings of my professional life is that it can offer, with the right luck and good judgement, the opportunity to change the course of people’s lives for the better. It is one of the reasons that I love my work so passionately. David Joseph, the outstanding Chairman of Universal, once called me a ‘repeater’ in this regard.

I was reminded of that when I recently met young unknown Scottish singer-songwriter Nathan Evans. Nathan had uploaded his version of sea shanty ‘Wellerman’ to TikTok from his home in Airdrie. It went viral. Soon after, from my cross trainer, I saw Nathan interviewed by my client Lorraine Kelly on her daily morning ITV show. Immediately I signed Nathan to my company, InterTalent.

Our motto is ‘Transforming Careers for Exceptional Talent’: I told Nathan I was confident we could do just that for him. I promised to make him an international star, not a promise any experienced talent manager makes too often.

Sure enough, within one week of joining us Nathan had signed global deals with Universal, Sony ATV & TikTok, appeared live on ABC’s Good Morning America and various other TV shows on all five continents.

Nathan now has a global chart hit all over the world, including America, and a number one in the UK with streams soon to pass 100 million.

Nathan was even commissioned to write a special sea shanty for this year’s Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Only four weeks ago Nathan was working as a postman to see him through the pandemic. He has now hung up his postbag.

Stories like Nathan’s are life-affirming — and I have a few others to tell this year as I celebrate my thirtieth year in showbusiness.


Throughout life, I have always been a glass half full rather than half empty kind of person. Therefore I was shocked recently when, in the middle of the Covid and lockdown gloom, I found myself tweeting: “DEPRESSION: Never thought it would apply to me. Looked up current feelings & ‘diagnosis’ is mild depression. When talking to people who are ‘honest’ in their own feelings, find am not the only one. Will ‘All’ need to focus inwardly to get through this. Upping outdoor exercise, eating healthier, bought a Sun Box.”

I was touched and amazed to receive the biggest reaction ever to this tweet which helped me quickly recover my oomph. Over half a million people engaged and the response to a problem shared positively revitalised me.

Social media rightly gets an enormous amount of criticism. But its power of enabling the sharing of experiences and helping so many, including me, to discover that they are not alone in their challenges is a huge positive benefit.

Former Strictly Judge and the UK’s greatest ever choreographer Arlene Phillips kindly wrote, “It’s tough isn’t it when something hits you like a ton of bricks and you have no idea where it’s come from. I feel sometimes the me I know is looking at stranger me in a mirror.”


Last week, courtesy of Deliveroo, we had a delicious family lunch delivered from Kelly Landesberg’s outstanding restaurant, AOK. Thanks to AOK’s focus on healthy cooking, I can eat well without guilt. Kelly’s father Gary is Chairman of The Arts Club, one of the great clubs of London co-founded by Charles Dickens. The thoughtful Landesberg family have been exemplary during Covid, last summer being behind the Coran Care Challenge, raising money for NHS Staff and vulnerable patients.



Holocaust Memorial day this year was poignant as 80 years ago in 1941 Himmler instructed annihilation of the Jews. Many Jews today prefer to keep their heads below the parapet for fear of reprisal. I understand that.

Some years ago in support of kidnapped Israel Soldier Gilad Shalit I wrote in the Mail on Sunday, “The kidnappers are terrorists, just like the 7/7 bombers.” I received death threats. So I thank Rob Rinder, Rachel Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Luciana Berger, David Baddiel and Maureen Lipman for the courage they show in speaking out. With ever growing antisemitism around us it is a brave thing to do. Rob Rinder spoke so wisely when he said, “Be the light in the darkness”.


This month for my charity shout out I urge as many as possible to become NHS Volunteer Responders, which I have. You can find out how by downloading the app on to your iPhone. Please just do it.

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