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Monday, 15 June 2009

It's 9 O'Clock On a Saturday...

There comes a time in a man's life when he has to stop blogging and start living, you know!!!.... I'd like to say my lack of communication stemmed from a deep need for self-reflection, that I had to take some time away from my online audience to ponder and process the past 2 years of ups and downs and in-betweens. But truth is, I've just been really, really busy.

This Spring I've become quite the scribe, occupied not with gigging, but exclusively writing songs for myself and others. The last twelve weeks has seen me produce an obscene amount of material, collaborating on music for the first time in my life. I've had the pleasure of working some great, established talents like Greg Kurstin, Gary Clark, Martin Brammer, Steve Robson, Lol Creme, Grant Black, and Jerry Abbott, as well as exciting new artists Rachel Furner, Ayah Marrar, and Ed Drewitt (all three of them are in my Top friends on Myspace, check em out, they're great!). As for the fruits of my labor, they will be on display during my shows this summer in the UK and US, as well as future recordings... more on my recording career in a few paragraphs... right now I feel a thought brewing (uh oh)....

So how does it happen that a self-made, suffering artiste like myself becomes, dare I say, a hack, in the truest sense of the word, i.e. Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo? While living in New York, making music was my private obsession, dirty auto-erotica done in the confines of my Brooklyn apartment and the occasional recording studio. Playing shows provided me with a much needed release, an exhibitionist kind of thrill. I considered myself a streaker of the highest order.

But when I got to London, something changed. For about a year I sat down on my lonesome to write and I was out of things to say. It was the first time in my life I was sapped of melodies, a rusty, dusty muso pick up truck on the side of the road. I mean let's face it, after 7 or 8 dedicated years of singer/songwriter-ness, how many times can a guy hit a chord on a Piano and feel inspired to pour out the contents of his soul? As I write this, Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls is on MTV pouring out the contents of her soul on a Piano in the middle of the desert, belting a dance remix of "The Hardest Part". If that's not confirmed proof that the singer/songwriter mold has been completely co-opted, I dunno what is. Somewhere between John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Gavin Degraw, James Blunt, Paolo Nutini, Howie Day, Joshua Radin, Brett Dennen, and Mat Kearney, I stopped buying into the notion of the earnest guy with his guitar tugging on my heart strings. Ok, maybe these all-american, cheeky chaps are legitimately suffering and there is something strangely beautiful about it but honestly, who cares? Not me.

So where does that leave this nearly 30-year confirmed Piano singer/songwriter, now that he's slagged all the acts he could potentially open for? ;) After awaiting the release of my major label debut, a Pop inflected, singer/songwriter album called The Planeteer for nearly a year, I find myself making a different kind of music. Music that's F-U-N. With the current shit economic situation, multiple international conflicts, global warming and whatnot, I don't wanna hear some guy who's never struggled with anything but a line at Starbucks whine about bourgeois malaise that he mistakes for heartbreak. I want Michael in 1982, I want Prince 1984. I want to party with Zombies and Were-wolfs like it's 1999, or 2009 for that matter. I want a self-aware, self-made, world weary version of Robbie Williams who's able to sing about life and love and sadness with a raised eyebrow. To put it plain and simply, where's my generation's Billy Joel?

Now before I propose a full on, feel good revolution, I owe you guys an explanation. To answer the emails I've received as of late: The Planeteer has not been released. The sad truth is its fate is up in the air, like a piece of my heart lying around outside my chest, without a home in your stereos, ipods and file-sharing sites. The reasons why, while painfully clear to me, would be painfully boring to you. Just know that with each passing week, my album is getting closer to your ears. In the meantime, I've put some new music on Myspace. More than ever, I feel I'm writing the best music of my life, working toward a new album of truly inspired songs that not only make me happy when I listen to them, but make me wanna dance. Don't worry, it's not a disco record (though that would be cool - I would make a great Tony Manero). Just think about that part in Uptown Girl, when Billy blasts into the bridge (Middle 8 for you English people) and goes "woah-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh". Now imagine 45 minutes of that feeling. I've finally acquiesced to all the after-work businessmen at the hotel bar. I will sing you a song. I am the Piano man.