Popular Sheffield band Reverend and the Makers have released a new single, ‘A Letter to my 21 Year Old Self’, in an exhibition at the recently re-opened city centre pub Fagan’s.

The exhibition, which took place last Thursday, saw the walls of the Irish pub adorned with letters from famous friends associated to lead singer John McClure, writing to their past selves. The exhibition saw letters from Jeremy Corbyn, Mel C and Steel City artist Pete McKee.

A selection of the letters on display at the ‘A Letter To My 21 Year Old Self’ exhibition at Fagan’s Pub. Photo by Kelan Sarson.

John McClure’s own letter, which makes up the song’s lyrics, saw him wrestle with what others think of him – ‘Don’t concern yourself with what anyone thinks, maybe be kinder to yourself and know your worth.’

Jeremy Corbyn’s own letter states that his younger self should never allow ‘hatred to spread unchallenged’ with Mel C commenting on fame being a ‘beast.’

‘A Letter to my 21 Year Old Self’ touches on themes of looking back at the past and reassuring a younger version of yourself that things will be ok, a subject matter that Mr McClure said left him ‘crying’ during the songwriting process.

He said: “Well, I’ve got a pal who I write all my songs with, called Danny. We go to football together, he’s a Sheffield Wednesday lad.

“We’re doing this tune together one day, he goes ‘Why don’t you do a tune where you’re talking to yourself when you’re 21?’ Me, I’m a lyricist. I just need concepts, I was writing like mad. It’s the first time I’ve ever written a song that I’m crying whilst writing it.”

Reverend and the Makers broke onto the scene in 2007 with top 10 UK single ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’, catapulting the Steel City band to stardom.

Now, 16 years on from their debut album release, the band are still tasting success – selling out Sheffield Academy earlier this year.

For McClure, who lived with Arctic Monkeys frontman and fellow Sheffielder Alex Turner during the band’s early days, Sheffield continues to be a place of inspiration so late in his career, and a place where he feels comfortable despite his fame.

He added: “Well, I’m just me. I’ve only ever left Sheffield to live anywhere else twice.

“If I was too famous, I’d be an absolute monster. I’ve enjoyed being mid-table all my life! In Sheffield, I’ve got a vibe. People like Richard Hawley, they’ve lived in Sheffield all their lives and been successful here. As my Mum used to say, there’s something in the water. I’m looking at them and thinking: ‘Well, you can be here and be successful, be artistic. Why can’t I?'”

Fans of the band flocked to Fagan’s for this single release, with some even saying they had McClure round their house a few nights before for an impromptu acoustic performance.

One fan said: “He performed in our garden, had his guitar with him. To be fair, he forgot his microphone!

“I said: ‘Don’t worry John, I’ve got a karaoke machine upstairs!'”

This single release at the famous city centre pub coincides with the new Reverend and the Makers album release next month on 28 April. The album is titled ‘Heatwave In The Cold North.’

The album will see Reverend and the Makers play Neighbourhood Weekender Festival in Warrington in May alongside a late summer date at Kendal Calling Festival in July.

Fagan’s pub at night, the venue for the Reverend and the Makers single release. Photo by Kelan Sarson.

With some artists losing their way towards the end of their career’s in terms of creativity, John McClure is very much still in his stride, even with six albums under his belt.

He said: “I’m in a purple patch. I’m hungry, hungry like the wolf!

“Something’s clicked in my life and let’s hope it continues!”