You've been busy recording nailing your sound. What was the moment when you the feel of the album was realized?
It's definitely a gradual process creating the sound, but it did feel like all of a sudden, the music instantly started to come together and make sense. We got a few songs back from writing and recording sessions that all really worked together and it felt like we had some really strong quality songs and single contenders. That's when it started to get really exciting for me.
So, I've heard few of the songs....You've been working with Emma Rohan, Biff and Steve Anderson...Of course who have written for Kylie. What was it like going into the studio as a solo star with them?
It was such an amazing opportunity. To be in the same room writing and recording with people who have created some of the most incredible songs ever is such a privilege. I've had so much fun working with all of them and we have a right laugh in the studio. I'm so proud of all the songs that have come out of those sessions.
Definitely. I am such an 80's geek, and it's been really essential for me in writing this album to capture the feel of what was great about music back then, but to also make it feel contemporary and still relevant for today's market. I definitely have to reign my inner 80's self in sometimes!
My vocal training definitely helps in the songs that have long sustained phrases and higher notes throughout. Some of the songs on the album are definitely a right workout for me so it's important to use proper technique and not do lazy singing, otherwise I would batter my voice!
I've done the majority of the album in the UK, but I went out to write and record in Sweden with amazing writers and producers such as Quiz & Larossi, Fredrik Berger, Holter & Erixson, Anders Hansen and also lovely Sharon Vaughn. It was great to be out there to write because they do pop so well and it was great to get a couple of really fun pop songs to go on the album from over there. A US writing trip is definitely on the cards as well as i’d love to work with Billy Steinberg, Diane Warren and Linda Perry - total legends!
Yeah Lovelight definitely has that Scandinavian vibe! K Pop - i'm not sure i’d be able to carry it off as well as them! I love how visual exciting their videos are, so maybe I can bring a bit of that into mine!
Indeed it was. I remember it being my jam at school at the time. I still love it though. It's definitely a bit of a guilty pleasure that one.
Have you and your team identified the lead single yet? I loved Lovelight. But there is so much more! Its totally legwarmers and yet has that beautiful vulnerability to it. Its Annie Lennox meets Robyn.
We do have a lead single that will be going up online v soon. It's a fun pop tune with a little bit of a retro disco vibe. I co-wrote it with Anu Pillai (he wrote and produced Ladyhawke’s Paris Is Burning) and also Ali Love from Hot Natured and I love it. I might try and incorporate some legwarmers into the video!!
Writing with such amazing people such as The Nexus, Steve Anderson, Anu Pillai, Hygrade and the guys in Sweden has been a real highlight. It's also been so much fun to have the freedom to write and sing about whatever you want and to have so much creative control. When the sound really started to come together and we had some really exciting songs that all made sense, that was a definite up moment!
There haven't really been that many downs to be honest. I think when you're lucky enough to be able to write and record and do what you love, it's hard to find many negatives. It's definitely a long, hard process trying to create exactly the right sound, but when it does come together, all the stress that came before trying to get everything perfect instantly gets forgotten and it makes it more rewarding that you worked so hard to get there.
Definitely. Heart on Black is without a doubt one of my favourite songs on the album and one of the songs I'm most proud of. It's so true to the experiences I've been through in this industry, but I also think lyrically it is relevant to anyone in any walk of life who is working hard toward something. If i'm ever feeling stressed, I whack Heart on Black on and it kicks me back into shape!
It's such a cliche, but it would be that you have to believe in yourself otherwise nobody else well. It's such a crazy, intense industry and you just have to keep your own head, have faith in yourself and never take no for an answer.
What living artist(s) inspires you the most? And has influenced the sound going into the studio?
I'm such a massive fan of Pat Benatar and she is an artist that has always inspired me. Obviously another huge one is Madonna in the 80's and 90's. She is one of those artists that never felt the need to conform to what was happening in the industry around her and was always unique and true to her own sound. I'd like to be able to capture essences of both of these artists in my own music.
It just felt like the group had reached a natural end to be honest. After Louder went in the Top 10 of the UK single chart, we worked really hard and got the opportunity to do lots of amazing gigs and tours. We were together for 3 years in total and had so much fun, but all good things do have to come to an end, and it felt that the group had achieved everything it could and it was time for us all to try something new.
It wasn't really a decision about being a solo singer or not, it was really about the fact that Parade felt like it had come to a natural end and it was time for us all to start a new chapter. It wasn't until after the group came to an end that I actually sat down and had a serious think about what I wanted to do next, and felt that I wanted to have a go at making an album and trying to do a solo record.
I think it's really easy to sit and say that this government could do things better. There is definitely a different attitude towards the arts and music in Scandinavia than there is here in the UK, but we are so lucky to have such strong and inspiring artists, producers and musicians in this country. I feel like here in the UK, we are setting the standard for music all over the world. The UK music scene right now definitely feels like it's setting the trend rather than following it - particularly by looking at the success of British artists breaking over in the US.
And lastly, the BBC has an amazing product in the form of Top of The Pops. That could highlight the most important chart-breaking tracks sold that particular week and the importance of British musicians that you mentioned. Do you think its time to bring it back rather than let it pick up more dust. I mean Top Of The Pops 2, its archive show, is gonna soon run out of golden oldie footage to show. They is gonna need to recommission the show sooner or later!
I would love them to bring Top Of The Pops back. It used to be the highlight of my week when I was growing up. Back then it was about the only chance you got to see your favourite songs from that week performed by your favourite artist. I loved it!
If they did, I wouldn't be particularly demanding with my rider. Just lots of bottles of water, a kettle, and maybe a cheeky bag of sweets! I'd love to have loads of dancers if I was on Top Of The Pops, but I wouldn't want professional dancers doing routines, I'd just like to go out and find loads of normal people of all ages and sizes and just have a massive rave and party on stage. Basically just have loads of fun!