Not Waving, But Drowning

Album: Not Waving, But Drowning (2019)
Play Video


  • The title of this song comes from British poet Stevie Smith's 1957 poem Not Waving But Drowning. The poem is about a man who drowns because bystanders mistake his distressed thrashing in the water for waving.

    Loyle Carner explained to The Observer that after re-reading the work while writing his second album, he found a strong personal resonance.

    "I see myself in it," Carner said. "Because I've had some small success, moderate, tiny success on the grand scale of success, but enough that people think I'm going, 'Look at me in my new house with my beautiful girlfriend'. And, sometimes, especially when the album process was beginning, I was drowning! And everyone thought I was hanging out."
  • Carner chose to title his second album after this track. He explained to HMV that his grandfather left him his poetry book when he died, which included a poem written in response to Stevie Smith's "Not Waving, But Drowning." As the title of Carner's first album was named after a song that the MC's stepdad recorded before his death in 2014, it made sense for him to title his second one in tribute to his grandad. "He was another wordsmith that I looked up to," the rapper said.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Desmond Child

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

Michael Sweet of Stryper

Michael Sweet of StryperSongwriter Interviews

Find out how God and glam metal go together from the Stryper frontman.

Justin Timberlake

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?