Pop songwriter Alexander is one of the most exciting musical talents to emerge from the South Wales music scene recently.
Described by BBC Radio Wales’ Adam Walton as “Startlingly sophisticated uplifting pop music”, the Cardiff based artist (featuring vocalist Charlyann) has just released the single, Nothing To Lose.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Alexander about the single.
How did you get into music?
I grew up in a pretty musical household. My dad is a great pianist and there were always 60s and 70s rock classics playing in the kitchen. I started on the piano when I was a kid and was pretty rubbish, but later fell in love with the guitar. My teacher Guy showed me how to play ‘Smoke on the Water’ in our first lesson together and I was hooked.
How would you describe your sound?
Alexander is a songwriting project so the songs often sound pretty different, though they’re all pop of some form. I guess the easiest description is to imagine pop music written by a rock guitarist who has a love of funk and jazz and you’re pretty close.
What inspires your music?
Stuff that happens to me and those around me. It can get pretty boring writing just about yourself so I like to write from the perspective of others too.
Can you give us some background about your latest release?
It’s called Nothing To Lose and it was sparked by an image that went viral earlier in the year of a woman standing calmly with a smile on her face as a member of the English Defence League shouts in her face. It’s about using positivity to stand up to to hate. The song has got a big pop hook in the chorus and a horn section too, so it’s good for dancing.
What do you like most about touring?
You meet a lot of people when you’re on tour who are just interested in meeting you and having a chat, particularly if you do a bit of busking in the daytime. There’s something welcoming about that when you reach a new city.
What can people expect from your forthcoming shows?
Alexander is mainly a writing project, but myself and Charly (who sings on most of my music) have such a good time doing it we will be performing some stripped back shows. Expect good vibes and a bunch of acoustic arrangements of my music along with the odd jazzed up pop cover.
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
If I’ve got a pop song I want to finish that day I’ll stick on some Maroon 5 or Sara Bareilles to get those creative juices on the go. Otherwise I tend to gravitate towards rock music. I’m currently obsessed with a band called Caverns and their EP ‘Tonche’. It’s this big, stadium-esque, psych-rock stuff.
Whats been your best live gig appearance as a performer?
There’s been a couple of standouts. I’ll never forget the first gig a member of the public knew all the words to a song of mine (it was in Gwdihw here in Cardiff). Also, when I was 17 my school’s big band played at the Christmas lights switch on in my home town of Bath. Nick Cage turned them on that year and there were between about 8,000-10,000 people in the city that night. I couldn’t see the back of the audience and I felt that high for days afterwards.
Vinyl or digital?
Without digital so many artists like myself wouldn’t be able to record and produce music anywhere near as easily as we do, so I’ll have to go with that.