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Promising Newcomers: Alex Highton

This interview has originally been published in 50K MUSIC MAG # 11 in January 2010

  by Mario

50K MM: Who are you, where do you come from, ...? Please tell us something about yourself.

Alex: I was born in Liverpool, lived in London for a few years, and more recently have moved to the countryside not far from Cambridge. I'd never lived outside the city before and I was a little bit anxious as to how I would take to it. Luckily I fell in love with the life, & the village, from the moment I arrived. I've two little girls and it's nice to get out into the fields with them, although this last week we've been snowed in. I love all types of music but the songs for this album seem to have been pretty heavily influenced by Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson & David Ackles on one side & NIck Drake, Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn on the other. Although I tend to just write whatever comes out and see what happens. All these songs were written in a bit of a bubble, I wasn't listening to any new music, which was strange for me. Since I recorded the demo's at home it's been an interesting year or so. They've played my songs on the tv (Hollyoaks), the radio (Tom Robinson's BBC 6 Introducing show, a live session for BBC Suffolk, amongst others), & I've had loads of interest from various different record companies. Also the Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher stumbled across my music and started supporting me, which has lead to a lot of interest from all over the world, for which I will be forever grateful. Considering I recorded the songs just for my own amusement, the whole thing seemed to have taken on a life of its own and I've decided to go with it.

50K MM: How did you discover SellaBand?

Alex: I had heard of the website Slice of the Pie, had a look at it and was a interested. So I started searching around for competitors to see what they did. I stumbled across Sellaband and was immediately impressed with the flexibility of the system. So I thought I'd give it a go.

50K MM: How are you going to convince people to believe (and invest) in you?

Alex: This is a really hard question and one on which I've taken quite a bit of advice in the forum. I thought I may as well find out the best way forward from the people who know the site inside out. I think the most important thing is the music and I'm hoping that people like it enough to invest! I've been getting some great reviews, BBC Introducing Suffolk & The Rebel Riffs Music Blog, have both said it's one of their favourite albums of the year, which considering it's currently collection of demo's recorded in a shed, I'm really proud of. Hopefully this shows the believer's some potential. I've tried to make my incentives value for money across the board, from a 1 part believer upwards. I hadn't really done this when I first signed up. I'm trying to engage with the community as much as possible, making sure I'm in touch with followers & believers & getting involved in the forum (where you can find a wealth of information & some really nice people). On the other hand I'm trying to bring in outside investment. I've just signed with a fantastic booking agent (BPA Live) and they are starting to get me gigs. At each of these I'll be giving away cd's for free with information inside about Sellaband, which I'll also be mentioning during the gig. I've been messaging my myspace fans, contacting my mailing list, twittering about the site. Also hopefully in the near future I'll be lowering my target as well. A producer friend who is currently working on the Brian Ferry / Roxy Music project, has offered to help me at a massively reduced rate, just waiting for the costs from him. Recording starts in March, as he's agreed to wait for his money until I reach target. I'm totally open to ideas as well. So if anyone has any please get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

50K MM: You have raised about 1 % of the budget so far. Have you thought about the time after reaching the goal of 50k yet? What are your plans then?

Alex: I have no idea how long it will take for me to reach target. As I said the album will be recorded anyway in March, however there's no point having an album that no one ever hears of. I imagine, even with a reduced target, it could take some time. I'm in for the long haul! Once we've raised the money I've very good contacts within the industry to work the marketing side for me, BPA Live are working on Festivals & higher profile gigs. I think in the end it will all be down to good old fashioned hard work. Lots of gigs, lots of promotion.

50K MM: And last question: How can we support you to speed up raising your budget?

Alex: Help me spread the word. I need all the help i can get. There's lots of great artists on Sellaband and I'm honoured to be part of the set up.

Al on MySpace