Alex Highton is just himself

by | Feb 23, 2014

Alex Highton – Artist Review
With the fresh sounds of Alex Highton, Folk finds a new breath of good old life. His secret ingredient to engaging melodies is straightforward: he is just himself, harnessing both his uniqueness and his relationship with the environments, people and events making up his journey. Highton’s rural surroundings have certainly had a noticeable input in inspiring such uncomplicated and honest melodies. The adventurous move from the city to his new village has no doubt contributed in kindling such an experienced story-telling perspective. So, let the walls crumble around you with every clever chord change, let your mind roam free and indulge in these beautiful melodies. Highton’s songs will unexpectedly catch you, tease the tip of your tongue and remain under your skin.

Alex Highton – The Interview

When did all this singing and song writing all start? 

Alex Highton [AH]: I’ve been writing songs since I first picked up a guitar when I was 17. I don’t know why I started, it just came naturally. Of course most of the songs I wrote at first were awful. I pretty much gave up music when I moved to the countryside, so I’m as surprised as anyone at the turn my life has taken.

The best thing about it all is… 

AH: Playing live, meeting nice & interesting people. That’s good.

The point of it for me… 

AH: Writing songs helps me clear my head and make sense of the stuff going on around me. My only goal is to make some great records.

To me, success means…

AH: …

making a great record, that I can feel proud of. That’s it really. I’m clearly not in it for the money… It’s all about the music. That’s it.

What makes me different

AH: I don’t know. I’m just myself, I’m not trying to copy anyone. I suppose everyone is unique really. So just being myself, that’s it I suppose.

When people get excited over my music, it feels

AH: Wonderful.

The music I listen to

AH: Like a lot of people I listen to lots of different types of music at the moment on my stereo you would find Harry Nilsson, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Joni Mitchell, The Beach Boys, David Ackles, Rotifer, Os Mutantes, Paolo Conte, Here We Go Magic, Randy Newman…….

Pay attention to the lyrics in music?

AH: Yeah of course. It depends on the song of course and think the lyrics and music go hand in hand. I can get quite bored of wordy music that has no tune, not so much when it’s the other way.

The most undervalued music artist is

AH: David Ackles, a fantastic songwriter from the sixties, early seventies, who totally changed my idea of what a song could be.

‘music school’ or ‘auto-didact’?

AH: I think both can work. I’m self-taught but whatever floats your boat.

Who most helped you in my career is… 

AH: The Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who randomly tweeted about liking my music and got me making music again.

What it means to me to have such great accolades (e.g. Tim Robinson calling you ‘world class’, etc…) 

AH: Well of course it’s great. It always surprises me, always. On the one hand I don’t care so much what other people think, it’s about making the records to please myself. On the other hand, getting praise from people whose opinion I respect, makes me feel warm & fuzzy.

Imagine a unique name for my music… 

AH: I can’t. They’re just songs. The type of song I’d like to listen to myself.

What ignites my song writing flow?

AH: I have no idea. Maybe I read a phrase in the newspaper, maybe I play a couple of chords on the guitar that sound nice together. Sometimes things just come out of thin air. I often wonder if I’ll ever write another song and then something appears out of nowhere.

I do it [the songwriting] all on my own. Just messing about on guitar, singing whatever comes into my head. There’s no method, just madness.

When it comes to songwriting, well I do that all the time. I have a couple of little kids, so it’s hard to rehearse all the the time. I play a lot of guitar though.

The performing… 

Alex Highton: Actually, it can be quite emotionally draining. Writing a song, however I dress it up, that means a lot to me. Most of the time I feel relaxed when I perform, I enjoy it up there, but it can still take a lot out of you.

My performing Superhero…

AH: This may sound like a weird choice but the best performer I’ve ever seen is a guy called David Thomas Broughton. Sometimes I think of him and the intensity & humour he can bring to a show. Him or Paul McCartney.

What do you wish you have been told when you started and that you think would help anyone who starts out? 

AH: Practice, practice, practice.

Other creative avenues beside singing / song writing?

Alex Highton: Nothing, I’m useless at everything else. If I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do anything. I love films, maybe I’d try and make films… If I wasn’t writing songs, I’d be trying to write songs.

Alex Highton – Official Website