A fresh year wouldn’t mean much if I failed to catch up with…
Albert Man and ask him about his latest musical happenings! I speak with the songwriter about his single, Say Something Loving, and whether this means more music is afoot. He discusses his 2017 and what it was like working at Sticky Studios; what we can expect from the Say Something Loving launch-night; some new artists he fancies – and records/artists who have inspired him.
I ask about whether he has advice for new artists and, looking at his own music, how he has improved; what he thinks of the modern mainstream – which artists were coming to his ears at a young age…
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a Northern singer-songwriter living in London - playing and writing Pop songs on keys; performing both solo and with a band in London (and further afield). I created a new music festival called Music Makers Festival (www.musicmakersfestival.com) last year with my manager and wife (Manoja) to showcase musicians we wanted to help promote.
Say Something Loving is your upcoming single (out on 2nd February). Its title puts me in mind of a song from The xx. I am guessing the background to this song is different! What is the story behind your track?
I came up with the idea for the song or the first few lyrics while I was travelling on the Tube. The idea came from just seeing the way some couples spoke to each other. I think everyone needs something loving said to them every so often. It’s about not forgetting to do just that no matter how long you’ve been in your relationship.
I think, sometimes, people forget that especially in the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives and, hopefully, listening to this song will encourage people to be nicer to the ones they love (smiles).
What was it like working with Adam Coltman at Sticky Studios?
I really enjoyed working with Adam at Sticky Studios. We got on well and had similar personalities; not to mention we look pretty similar too (smiles) A great-sounding track just came together really quickly. Adam was just on it; he knew exactly what I was after and we worked really well together in the studio. Sticky Studios is very well-known for some incredible artists that have recorded there such as Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes; One Direction, Christina Perri; Paloma Faith and Wiley - and it’s where Ed Sheeran recorded all of his early work.
The official launch, on 7th February, takes place at 1901 Arts Club. Is that somewhere you have played before? How are you feeling about that date?
I have never played there before - but Manoja always finds special places for the events we run together. We wanted to find something intimate for this single launch and, when we saw this really beautiful old Victorian house, we knew it was the right venue for this event. There’s a grand piano, too, which is always a special treat for me (smiles).
I can’t wait to play it on the night - and I think all my wonderful artists supporting me on the night will be playing a few songs on it too. The venue is a short walk from Waterloo Station – so it’s easy to get to. I think everyone is going to love the venue!
You can still get tickets for the event at www.albertman.com/tickets.
What can we expect if we come along? Can we expect some exciting support acts?
Definitely, I have to mention the grand-piano again (smiles) which you don’t get at most gigs (and I’ll be playing with a full band). I also have two brilliant support acts: Hattie Briggs (Fender Undiscovered Artist 2017) and Saarloos from Dublin; a new collaboration between Brian McGovern and Craig Gallagher (both of whom have supported Gavin James on tour). I am excited about this event - as I think it’ll be a special one with this combination of the beautiful venue and amazing musicians joining me on the night.
Will there be more material arriving? Is there anything in the pipeline?
Glad you asked! I have loads of new stuff...
It’s just a case of getting the funds and time to get back in the studio. Also, I like working with different people and in different studios; so still looking for the next producer and studio to work with.
How would you say you have grown as a musician in the past year? Do you feel like 2017 was an important year for you?
2017 was a very important year for me. Manoja and I try to keep goals every year - so we have a good idea on what we are trying to achieve. I released an E.P. and live-album. My E.P. launch-night at St. Pancras Old Church was sold out. I played twelve festivals over the summer including The Great Escape, Camden Rocks; Liverpool Sound City, Reverb Festival; Tramlines and Standon Calling. Also; I organised my own music festival with Manoja called Music Makers Festival (www.musicmakersfestival.com).
I think, as a musician and songwriter, I keep evolving and I think I am a better songwriter now than when I started. I learn a lot from my previous songs - and the new ones feel a bit more grown-up than some of the earlier ones. I wrote loads of new songs at the end of 2017. I’m so excited to get them recorded.
Tell me about the musicians and sounds that you were inspired by as a youngster. Which artists compelled you as a child?
I always loved David Bowie, Elvis Presley and The Doors. I also was a big fan of Talking Heads, Joy Division; The Staple Singers and Huey Lewis.
I think they all influenced me a lot as I was growing up.
What do you think of the modern scene? Do you think the mainstream is as strong as in past years?
I think, maybe, we have too much choice and music is too accessible making for more-fickle listeners. It’s great to see some really talented artist like Rag'n'Bone Man in the mainstream, though - so there’s always brilliant new artists out there.
IN THIS PHOTO: Billy Lockett
If you had the chance to select the three albums that mean the most to you – which would they be and why?
Nevermind by Nirvana
Because Smells Like Teen Spirit was a song that really struck a chord with me when I was a kid.
David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
For being such a mind-blowingly brilliant album with lots of piano in it.
Pulp’s Different Class
Because Jarvis Cocker’s a lyrical genius.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
Don’t rely on anyone else to do anything for you: learn how to record your own demos and make your own website, videos and posters etc. It is very much D.I.Y. when you’re an independent musician - and it is fun learning all these new skills to represent your work the best you can!
What other tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we see you play later in the year?
I’ll be booking lots of shows after my launch on 7th Feb to help promote the single - still waiting for confirmation on some of these. The next gig after the launch is a house gig at The Drawingroom (in Chesham) on 10th March.
Do you have any ambitions of resolutions for this year at all?
I would like to get one of my tracks played on a T.V. show or movie this year and organise a tour outside the U.K.
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).
Let’s have a bit of Talking Heads and Burning Down the House (smiles).
Follow Albert Man
Top photos of Albert Man were taken by Arnab Ghosal (http://www.arnabkghosal.com/)
The photo of Albert in a red T-shirt was taken by Nick Kent (http://www.nickkentphotography.com/)
The final. black-and-white photo is courtesy of Manoja Ullmann