Interview with Alex Clare

text: Evie Saphire-Bernstein

Alex Clare is a singer-songwriter from London. His style of music is hard to define, and while the jazzy vocals would suggest one genre immediately, do not be fooled by the first impression – there is much more than meets the eye. Clare has a tendency to infuse his music with a soulful voice and powerful electronic beats, creating a mash up of epic proportions.

Talking about his start in the music industry, Clare tells us that he grew up in a large family, with five siblings. While they all enjoyed different kinds of music, he struggled to pin down a sound he really liked. “When I discovered electronic music, a lot of kids around my neighborhood listened to it, and I really connected to dubstep. I guess you could say that sparked my interest.”

With his enthusiasm for music expanding, Clare began to learn how to play instruments and perform. “My first proper gig, I fall trying to get up on stage—and smashed my face”, he tells us.   He played the whole show with a bleeding nose, and what he describes as “a possible concussion”, all the while loving every minute of it.

Clare’s family have been very supportive throughout his musical  journey, “My parents, you know—they had a lot of kids before me. I think they got their worries out over them, you know?” he laughs. “By the time they got to me, my dad was like yeah—do what makes you feel happy. “

It is this loving support that gave Clare the confidence to become a musician. He traveled around London playing gigs, trying to make a name for himself. At one point, he even went to cooking school, “to have some sort of a back-up plan,” but quit when he realized that his true passion was music.

An early demo got him signed to the Island label In the United Kingdom, at which time he began work on the album, The Lateness of the Hour, produced by Switch and Diplo. When asked to pick one favorite from all the songs he’s written, he paused. “That’s an interesting questions,” he started, and one that had more than one answer. “Well, Won’t Let You Down is probably my favorite. I mean, it’s about a girl I’m still trying to convince to run away and marry me.” But also—Hummingbird—I love singing that song live. It’s so powerful. I just really love the emotional impact of those two songs.  But Hands are Clever was definitely the most fun to make in the studio.”

One of Clare’s recent songs, “Too Close,” became a hit after Microsoft used it in their new campaign for Internet Explorer. The song has steadily risen in the charts ever since, and interest all over, from London to America, has been piqued. He made it clear that while some people might think of that as selling out, that’s not how Clare sees it. “It’s like– the commercial gave me a great opportunity to  get my music out there, so much more than anything else before it ever had. I’m happy about doing the commercial. I would do it again.”

The internet itself has been more than kind to Clare; it’s there that we see imitation as a sincere form of flattery.  He tells us, “there’s a lot of kids out there covering my songs”  which he really enjoys. He’s even re-tweeted a couple, some of the ones he’s really liked. “It’s like me and my friend are just sitting in a car, and suddenly we see all these covers on Youtube of my songs—it’s pretty crazy that anyone would put in so much time and effort into something I wrote.”

Now that he is out of the studio Clare is planning a tour. “Probably around Britain, and then maybe America.”   We certainly hope to see him on this side of the pond.