The singer-songwriter oeuvre has become one of the most innovative spaces for new music in recent years. Gone are the days of whiny ballads sang from behind the safety of an acoustic guitar. The ballads are still around, but they’re given grittier lyrics and placed over pounding beats and bass, as in the case of British artist Alex Clare and his new single ‘Treading Water’.
Of course, having his debut album produced by Mike Spencer and Major Lazer was always bound to give him more of an edge over other artists in the same genre. Given the popularity of this kind of vocal driven post-dubstep, you’d have thought Alex Clare had been riding high on this wave.
In fact, his debut album entered the UK charts at number 156 and only sold 1,000 copies when it was released last year. He was dropped from his label, put his pop star dreams on hold and carried on his day job, working as an estate agent. When earlier this year, he received a call from Island Records, telling him that Microsoft wanted to use one of his songs in an advert.
If the penny hasn’t dropped yet, then yes, Alex Clare is the voice that sings over that huge drop and its ‘wub wubs’ on the Internet Explorer advert – one of the most tagged tunes of the year. If you’re interested, the song is called ‘Too Close’, produced by Diplo and Switch – it now has its very own video featuring two medieval knights duelling each other in modern urban surroundings. Of course.
Although Alex might not seem like a natural fit for the dance music genre, but he’s always been a party animal. “Oh man, I used to party hard, loved raves and warehouse parties, waking up in strange places and doing the walk of shame home, but I’m a lot more chilled these days,” he says in an interview with The Couch Sessions. “I think “Up All Night” really was written in hindsight, mashing together a load situations I’d been in. Being in New Orleans, it definitely brought out parts of me I’d forgotten about. Every now and then I’ll have a big old blow out, but to be honest, I love just chilling with my friends, going fishing and writing. That’ll do it.”
As for his plans for the future, Alex doesn’t want to pigeonhole himself. “I love making dance music, but to be honest, I make music for music’s sake, there’s no great plan to it,” he says. “I just find an impulse and run with it. Regardless of boundaries or genres, I’m just gonna keep making whatever gives me goose bumps, and hopefully people will keep feeling it.”