Stage names are a curious thing.

Some opt for relatively conservative choices (Tina Turner, Cliff Richard), while others go for downright wacky (Lady Gaga, Charli XCX). Barry Can’t Swim, the moniker of Edinburgh-born electronic producer Joshua Mannie, must surely rank among one of the most memorable.

Mannie (or Barry, I’m not sure what to call him) is reluctant to tell me whether he can actually swim – he likes to keep people guessing – but he is effusive about the support he has had since he started producing music under his moniker. It has been a stratospheric rise in the four short years since, as he now boasts more than 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, has just finished a sold-out tour of North America and is celebrating being nominated for his first Brit Award.

“Honestly, I feel like I have a ‘pinch me’ moment every week,” he laughs, “’it’s been crazy.”

Mannie will join some of music’s most famous faces at the Brit Awards ceremony on March 2, where he is nominated for ‘Best Dance Act’ alongside fellow Scot Calvin Harris.

“It is a bit surreal to think I am going to be there. To be producing quite left-field electronic music and be nominated for a Brit, I really wasn’t expecting it at all. Being there alongside all these massive names, when I am still quite an underground artist, it’s really cool.”

Mannie admits his uncertainty about whether he would be able to make a career out of making music. He played several instruments as a child, with a particular penchant for jazz music, but fell in love with electronic music while studying at Edinburgh Napier University. These eclectic influences are apparent when listening to his music, which blends classical piano with afrobeats, deep house with haunting vocals.

“I’ve always been fascinated by different types of music,” he explains, “and I’ve been writing my own stuff since I was 14. But it was a few years ago that it started taking off, and Spotify was a big part of that. You get one song added to a Spotify playlist and if it does well they add more. The good thing about Spotify now is that a lot of it is based around an algorithm, so if people are liking your songs and not skipping them it means that more people are going to hear it.”

“When I first started putting music out it was during Covid, so there were no live shows, but since that has come back it’s been amazing. The first time playing a show and having a crowd full of people sing your music back, that’s unreal. It’s surreal hearing people sing your music back to you.”

He is set to perform at Coachella in California this April, one of the world’s biggest festivals, after playing at Glastonbury last year. But it was a slot at the Fly Festival, in Edinburgh’s Hopetoun House, that was particularly emotional for Mannie, who had a special guest in attendance.

“My grandad is from nearby there so I brought him along to watch – that was pretty special. The people are always so nice in Scotland and the audiences, compared to elsewhere, are definitely rowdier and more up for it. For sure.”

He has been based in London for the past seven years but gets a huge “nostalgia” for Edinburgh and travels home as much as he can.

“I miss the pace of Edinburgh, when I go back I feel I can unwind a little bit more. I never get bored of the city, something about it has this magic quality. My girlfriend isn’t from Edinburgh so I love taking her around different places, she gets swept up in the magic of it, she loves it. The history is just amazing.”

And while he might be playing at international festivals and events across the globe, there is one Edinburgh venue that Mannie has his eye on for a homecoming show.

“I know it’s small but I love Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. I’m planning to go back and play there – I think it’s one of the best clubs in the world, genuinely.”

Hopefully that gig will contain some new material, as Mannie is currently working towards his second album with great “excitement”.

“My main ambition for the future is just to write good music, everything else is secondary to that. And if I write good music then all the other stuff should come afterwards.”

Perhaps, even some swimming lessons.

Barry Can’t Swim plays a sold-out gig at Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union on Saturday March 16. Head to  for details of upcoming shows.