During the last two years, I have been carried along on a powerful, surging wave of positive energy. When I finally liberated myself from years of spiraling addiction, a place of inspiration and creativity became available to me. I set about writing an album that documents my transition from the darkest recesses of human experience to a place of resolution, fulfilment and happiness. At long last I am comfortable in my own skin and have achieved that elusive dream of writing a set of songs I can truly call my own.
Moving away from Keane to work on a solo project was a daunting prospect for someone who knows nothing else. Initially, I had worked largely on my own at home, often finding myself banging up against a creative brick wall. The solution to that problem was to get out into the world and meet other like-minded people. During 2015 I worked with a whole host of different writers in London and LA. These sessions are a curious cocktail of a workmanlike approach mixed with an obligation to make yourself completely vulnerable to someone you have only just met.
Among the most productive and inspirational of these sessions was with Matt Hales. You may know of Matt from his time as Aqualung but he now spends his days writing and producing from his sunny base out in Pasadena, California. Not only did I love the songs that I wrote with Matt but I loved his production on the demos that we made; as a result, when it came to making a call on someone to produce my record, he seemed like the perfect fit to take things forward.
And so, by New Year 2016 I was packing my bags and flying out of chilly old England to hook up with him. Over the course of the next few months, we carefully pieced together a sound and an atmosphere that we felt would complement the deeply personal and impassioned nature of the songs. A whole string of fantastic musicians weaved their way through the process. Drummers, guitarists, violinists, saxophonists, a gospel choir, even the Bugles Band of The Rifles Regiment. Old friends stopped by to add their voices to big congregational sections. A journey that started full of trepidation turned into an adventure through a beautiful landscape of opportunity.
By the time May came around the main body of work was complete. Mix engineer Ben Baptie was charged with the responsibility of balancing everything up and giving the songs their sonic finishing touches. I spent several happy days in London listening with immense pride (and occasional tears) as my record became the finished article.
So there it is, a solo album pretty much done and dusted! The one big frustration being (of course) that I’d love you all to be able to hear it right now, today. You’re going to have to wait a little bit longer but I feel sure it will be worth it in the end. In the meantime, please join me on this wave I’m surfing right now and stay tuned for plenty of exciting updates that I’ll be sending your way.