IT is hard to ignore the stunning…
voice of Argyl Singh! It is evident the Swiss-based musician is unlike anyone out there! He talks to me about the new/debut single, Another Loss, and what the song is all about; whether there will be any more material this year – and how long music has been in his life. I ask why he relocated from Scotland to Switzerland; what the music scene is like over there – and whether we can see him in the U.K. soon.
Singh discusses his influences and time spent busking; what it has been like touring Europe – a few great albums that have made an impression on the young songwriter.
Hi, Argyle. How are you? How has your week been?
My week has been busy, but good!
Between moving house, working two jobs and planning an E.P. release - I have had my hands full!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
So. My name is, of course, Argyle Singh, I am a twenty-three-year-old from Ayr, Scotland. I left Britain at nineteen and started my travels in Amsterdam. Since then, I have been all over Europe, busking away. My hobbies are, pretty much, traveling, playing music; art, watching M.M.A.; generally being social and, of course, a good old bevy!
Another Loss is your debut single. Talk to me about the song and how it came together?
It was actually among the first couple of songs I wrote - which were all on the same night, believe it or not. I'm surprised they were even decent enough to (still) play today, to be honest with you. It's a song about change: everybody has grown apart from someone that they thought they would know forever. Although it is an everyday thing, in my teen-years; my relationship with my family was not at its best. Let’s just say so: my friends were my family, in my eyes.
Maybe I was just sentimental that night - but they do mean a lot to me.
Its vocal will be remembered for a long time! How long did it take to get the voice THAT good?
I hope so, thank you! I never really took any singing lessons apart from, maybe, a wee choir in primary-school, I suppose. I tried a singing teacher about a year ago and it was not really for me. I guess I got my practice in while singing along to the radio as a kid; doing my dad's nut in. I'm always singing under my breath while doing anything, anyway.
To be honest; there’s always a melody stuck in my head, somehow.
Who are your idols and musical heroes that helped shape your sound?
That’s a hard one to answer, really, because my taste through the years has varied so much but, for my sound now, I would have to say it stretches all the way from old artists like Otis Redding; Ray Charles and Bob Dylan; to newer artists like Paolo Nutini, Ben Howard and, even more recently, Kaleo. But, don't be fooled: I love a bit of 1990s Hip-Hop and Deep House etc.
Oh, and my favourite band of all time has to be Arctic Monkeys.
You were born in Scotland but live in Zurich. What was the reason behind the move and is there a better music scene where you are?
The reason is really simple: I moved here because I fell in love - my girlfriend is from here. The music scene though is definitely not better than in Britain, I have to say. Don't get me wrong: it would still surprise you. There are a lot of cool bands going around here that we may or may not ever see in Britain.
Some of my favourites are Ellas, Frank Powers and Pedestrians CH.
When in Amsterdam, at aged nineteen, you had little more than a bag of clothes and a guitar. Was that a hard time or did it help shape you into the musician you are?!
Not as bad as most people imagine.
It was the best six months of my life, so far. There were certainly stressful times, as my daily routine was to get up and go busking to earn enough for a bed for the night - plus food and other substances...but the stressful part was never getting the money: it was getting back to the hostel in time before it was booked out! Maybe I was lucky but I was never left hungry or homeless. After a month or two, I found a roommate, thankfully, which took all that stress away - and I just had time to enjoy the summer. It definitely shaped my outlook on life as a person and as an artist. I would encourage anybody to do it.
The world is not this big, bad place everybody seems to think it is if: you just open your eyes and your mind.
Since then; you have toured Europe and got great reaction ns. What has the experience been like and what does it feel like bringing music to the people?
It is the best feeling in the world!
Some people say they get nervous when the spotlight is on them but, when it comes to playing music, I thrive under the pressure - it makes me more nervous when people are not listening. That’s why busking and traveling go so well together: because any given day hundreds - or even thousands - of people can hear your music!
It's attractive to people and, believe me, it attracts the best kind of people, also.
Long Time Coming is your debut E.P. Give me a window into the sort of songs that will be on the E.P. - and the subjects that influenced the writing…
Well. There are two more intimate songs about heartbreak on the E.P. (Another Loss is, of course, one of them) and the other three are more upbeat and happy. I only just realised now that - apart from another loss; all the other songs are about women, actually...
Shoot me now...
IN THIS PHOTO: Ron Gallo/PHOTO CREDIT: Alysse Gafkjen Photography
Do you have gigs coming up? Where can we come and catch you play?
Just the 28th for the E.P. release in Zurich! You guys can find the details on my Facebook page events. Otherwise, I just have a few smaller living-room concerts and private events booked – but, I am working on some cool stuff!
Also; I will be hitting Holland and Italy at the end of January for some gigs (dates coming soon).
Are you coming back to the U.K. before the end of this year? Do you miss living over here or are you quite comfortable where you are?
I am actually coming over at the beginning of November to see/meet my new nephew!
I also have tickets to see Kaleo on the 3rd. Aye, there are a lot of things I miss about home but there are also a lot of things I don't miss. I am comfortable enough for the time being here, but my plan is to make the move to London for the music in around a-year-and-a-half. The money is good in this country so I might as well take advantage of that and save as much as possible before I go.
The reason being that I'm not a big city guy - so I need to be able to jet off any given break I can get.
If you had to select three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Again, that's really too hard to answer since it changes every day but, today, I would say Arctic Monkeys Fluorescent Adolescent; Paolo Nutini Sunny Side Up and, maybe, something like Damien Rice's first album (I think it was called O).
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Work hard, plain and simple!
There are no shortcuts - which I am just realising now, if I am honest. I really wish I had the courage to pursue my career in music earlier…but such is life. Most of all, (just) keep your eye on the prize; remember what you’re doing it for…and enjoy yourself! Most of the behind-the-scenes action in the music industry is still a mystery to me - but you just have to dive in.
Christmas is approaching. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
I'm really not sure, yet. I will have to see how work is looking: I’m not a full-time musician yet, unfortunately.
Maybe I can get a short trip up to the mountains, at least.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I Had a Real Good Lover from the Shouting Matches. It's actually one of Bon Iver’s old bands. It’s a shame they broke up - I love the music they played.
Thanks again, folks. I can't wait to get to Britain to start gigging for you lot again!
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