There are plenty of people out there taking to stages around the world, equipped with an acoustic guitar. So how do you get yourself heard? Well, for starters Alex Hart has a heap more talent than your average open mic night entrant and her voice has a genuine, original tone that helps highlight that she’s very much comfortable making her own, top quality music. I caught up with her to delve a little further into her world;
Who are you, what are you and where are you?
My name is Alex Hart, I’m a singer/songwriter/musician and I live in Plymouth!
Why did you start making music? Who were your first great inspirations?
I first started making music at the age of 7 when my grandfather gave me his mother’s Violin to play. I really wanted to learn the Flute but because I had braces at the time I thought I’d find it harder to play. I had great rhythm at school and loved to write poems and sing in front of my class mates. At that age I loved general pop music, The Spice Girls etc.. I then progressed to acoustic artists like KT Tunstall and Sheryl Crow and when I started secondary school a teacher introduced me to Doris Day which opened up another world completely for me. Not long after I discovered Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon and wow, the list goes on!
What made you decide to perform as a solo artist? Do you prefer being in complete control of your music?
I have been in bands all my life, personally I prefer being in a band but it’s always been easier for me to make a living on my own. It’s been great because I have learnt so much along the way already, I am in control of my music when I’m alone but I prefer the way my music sounds when I play with other people. I’ve been a solo artist for a few years now and it can be quite a lonely place. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and has given me a lot more confidence in myself as a person.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s so hard to say! I am influenced by so many different genres of music, Motown to country, folk to jazz, RnB to rock.. but for the first album I like to call it Westcountry – Country. It’s my take on the “westcountry sound”.
‘Orange Van’ has a brilliant rhythm to it, and I’m a bit of a sucker for a ukelele, what was your motivation for writing the song?
I actually didn’t have a massive part to play in this song. My writing partner Barney Dine wrote this when he fell in love in an Orange Van. Originally it only had guitars on the track but when he gave it to me and we wrote some more lyrics, we decided to add another instrument to it. The Uke is great, it gives it the space it needs in the verses. One of my favourites.
How important is lyric-writing for you? Are there any great lyricists/poets that you truly admire?
I would say that writing lyrics is actually the hardest part for me. I have so much to write about but I find it quite hard to portray it well. I love John Mayer for his lyrics. I can get into a rut of just writing songs about love but there are so many things you can base a song on. I’m good with melody, lyrics come later.
Where should we be looking to find new music? Who is worth keeping an eye on? (besides yourself, of course)
In the south west we have some amazing up and coming bands that you should check out. Joanna Cooke, an amazing Jazz and Blues singer, Antimatador – Hip Hop, Jazz and just their own style of awesome. At the moment I am mesmerised by a female trio called The Staves. Just beautiful music that inspires me.
How do you think bands should be going about getting their music heard? Is it simply a case of getting yourselves out there as much as possible?
There’s no rule book for the music industry which makes it so hard! It’s taken me nearly 10 years to get to this stage and I’ve still got a way to go, but the more gigs you do, the more people that will hear you and hopefully the more opportunities you’ll get. Promotion is so important too, anything you can get in a newspaper or on a local radio station is great. Just keep telling them what you’re up to and you will be the first thing they think of.
What does music mean to you?
Music is everything to me. It always has been. We’ve had quite a relationship so far, sometimes its good and sometimes it’s really hard but I know that I’ve only got one chance to try and make a good and fun career doing what I love and what makes me happy. Even through the struggle sometimes I always push on and know that I’m so lucky to be doing something that I want to do with my life.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
I would just like to be successful, have a long lasting career in music. It doesn’t matter how big, I would just like to experience playing in lovely venues and sharing my music with others.
Where can we see you live in the next few months?
You can find me in and around the south west. I’m gigging regularly in Plymouth at Annabel’s, the James Street Vaults and the Tiki Bar and currently filling up my diary for the year. Keep checking my website for gig updates.