Meet The Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov

Johannesburg singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov drops in to Colston Hall, Bristol on November 23 as part of his current UK tour.

He recently released the album Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, an eleven-track record featuring songs from Isakov’s previous albums. Andy Howells recently put questions to the artist.

How did you first start out in music?
I played a lot through high school. Drums first. Some electric guitar, punk and alternative bands mostly. Songs were something I sort of kept to myself for a long time.

Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
The idea of inspiration has always eluded me in a sense. I used to think I had to wait for those ‘moments’ ya know, but I found that if I worked that way I would be waiting a long time.
I notice that it comes from all kinds of places. Noticing them I guess is the trick. It can be simple as the way lights hit the pavement as you are walking. A person at the traffic light in their car next to you. It’s not some huge moment you wait for. It’s everywhere, and its work to tap into it. It’s a daily practice.

Can you give us some background about your latest release?
The symphony record was sort of a nod to all the hands that went in to the series of shows we did with symphony orchestras across the country. We worked on the arrangements for about a year prior, and chose the arrangements that still lent a sense of space to the songs.

You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Yes! I am currently on a tour throughout Europe and the UK supporting my friend passenger. I have playing solo, for the first time, and it’s been amazing. I am so thrilled to be bringing the band in the spring.

What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
I love Leonard Cohen. I think I probably listened to songs from a room over a hundred times last month. Especially in airports. It helps.

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
I’m currently out on tour now, in Denmark at the moment. I’m headed back this winter to work on our record that should be out sometime next year.

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