Scouting For Girls’ Roy Stride On Olly Murs, Sussex And Goodwood

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West Sussex’s Roy Stride, lead singer for pop trio Scouting for Girls, tells Natalie Li about the joys of flying over the county and welcoming the band’s resurgence.

Roy Stride is in a rush, but he still has time to warmly apologise for being late for our interview. We’ve only got 10 minutes to chat, he tells me, before he’s live on the BBC.

Meeting the “Nicest Man in Pop”

It’s easy to see why he’s often described as the “nicest man in pop” – a term the 44-year-old Horsham local chuckles at. “I am very flattered to be described as that. It’s funny, but I’ll take it. They obviously haven’t spoken to my wife!”

Scouting For Girls
Scouting For Girls

Scouting for Girls: From Humble Beginnings to Pop Sensation

Upbeat, charming, and unassuming, Roy epitomises the breezy tunes that he and his childhood friends – Greg Churchouse, bass guitarist, and drummer Peter Ellard – rose to fame with back in 2007. They became the sound of the summer with their infectious breakthrough hit She’s so Lovely and their self-titled album reached number one in the UK albums chart in 2008.

The three-piece band, who grew up in Harrow, knocked Lady Gaga off the top spot in the official charts with their 2010 hit song This Ain’t a Love Song. “That was massive for us,” remembers Roy, “it was the accumulation of 20 years of work; we started playing music together when we were 12-years-old and now we were number one.

“The Britpop era was a big reason why I got into a band. I’m a huge fan of Oasis and it was the first gig I ever attended. It made me realise that I need to be in a band. I love the music from that era. To play in venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena are highlights of our career.”

A Comeback with a Sense of Gratitude

After a string of feel-good hits, Brit Awards nominations, and one Ivor Novello to their name, it seemed the band faded into obscurity. Over the last few years they’ve made a comeback with plenty of summer gig dates booked as well as supporting Olly Murs on tour.

“Last summer every gig was so good, the band has had a real resurgence in the last few years through Spotify and it feels like we’re on another big run and we’re just enjoying it.

“I love everything about going on tour, being a tourist, travelling – we get a massive kick out of playing live and engaging the crowd,” Roy adds. “You’re part of the band when you watch a Scouting for Girls gig.

A Life Away from the Limelight

As for fame, the trio have seemingly gone under the radar and escaped intrusive press coverage. “We’re a band that everyone has heard of and knows the songs, but they don’t necessarily know who we are and to be honest it’s a lovely way of being,” Roy smiles.

“There is nothing worse than people constantly judging you.”

Finding Inspiration in Family and Sussex Life

Dodging showbiz is Roy’s preference and writing songs for other artists, including the likes of One Direction, from his home in the village of Rudgwick where he lives with wife, Lucy, and children Freddie, 13, and Rosie, 12.

“I love Sussex and it’s funny how we came to be here. Lucy and I lived in South London for some time, but her parents were living in Putney, so she drew a circle an hour from where they live and picked Sussex! Now we live in the middle of a wood in the countryside.”

Roy Stride’s Creative Haven and Family Time

The couple often frequent the Fox Inn – a place that has seemingly provided some inspiration. “I love the sign on the pub – one side it says it’s the first pub in Sussex, and on the other side it says the last pub – it always makes me laugh. “I wrote our song We Still Believe with one of the dads from the school at the Fox. It was for our unofficial World Cup track in 2018.”

Balancing Fatherhood and Adventures

When Roy isn’t visiting his local he likes to head further afield. “Brighton is the best vibe in the world for a creative person – there are so many studios, I go there once a month. We go to Worthing a lot and I absolutely love The Pig, our new favourite place to eat out, followed by a walk along the South Downs. My plan is to do the South Downs way, I am hoping to do it with the kids, I did it with my dad, so I just need to drag them off the Xbox.”

Aviation Dreams and Achievements

Another childhood dream was realised in lockdown for the modest songwriter when he took to the skies and learned to fly. “During lockdown I had the time, so I learnt to fly at Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester, and I am going to restart my lessons this summer as I ran out of time, the band got busy. Goodwood is such an amazing place and to fly over Sussex, down to the coast, over Brighton and the Downs is incredible. They have spitfires at Goodwood so sometimes you land after a spitfire. It really is a childhood dream come true.”

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Scouting For Girls are heading out on tour with Olly Murs

His passion for aviation led Roy to launch a regular podcast all about flying and aircraft. He teamed up with three Sussex residents: TV presenter Rob Curling and his brother Jeremy Curling, plus former RAF pilot James Cartner. “Top Landing Gear is an aviation podcast for everyone, it’s slightly irreverent and fascinating to experts and aviation enthusiasts,” he says.

Looking Forward to Touring with Olly Murs and Fatherhood

This summer brings more flying and touring with Olly Murs. “We’re excited to be heading on tour with Olly. I have written for him and it’s amazing that years on from when I did that, we’re supporting him.

“The best thing about this band is that we’ve been friends since we were kids, and we did it together and we’re still together,” he smiles. “Our drummer would love to have another hit record! But we just want to keep doing what we’re doing, we’re so grateful for what we’ve got.”


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