Singer/songwriter Alex Marshall’s solo journey is one artists should be taking notes on.
Singer/songwriter Alex Marshall’s solo journey is one artists should be taking notes on.After leaving The Cab two years ago, he got to work on his debut album. Truly on the grind, he split his time between creating for other musicians and establishing his own sound.
Now, with the debut of his single “Hurricane” and an album ready to be released in a few months, his determination has paid off.
This week, PopWrapped caught up with Alex to talk about crafting his debut album, hanging out with his fans for a private listening party, and what his journey towards musical independence has taught him.
PW: When did you start working on this album?
AM: It was almost a year and a half, two year process. Recording a record gets expensive very fast, so I was doing a couple of songs at a time. Then I would write and produce songs for other artists. I had to do it in increments like that.
PW: Any general idea for an album release date?
We’re releasing a couple more singles before we come out with a release date. We’re gonna do more of a radio push for the next two singles. They’re a bit different than our first single, but after that, I’m gonna gauge where we need to go as far as the full record.
PW: Tell me about the process behind making “Hurricane.”
"Hurricane" was actually the last song to be recorded and written for my entire album, but ended up being the first single. I wrote the song about an ex-girlfriend, a super public relationship, and it was filled with chaos. She was up and down, and at the center of it, we still cared about each other. It was calm in the core, but it was just windy and chaos everywhere else.https://twitter.com/Alextmarshall/status/751124410434596865
PW: How did you connect with Justin Timberlake?
As I said, I was doing songwriting and production for other artists to help fund what I was doing. One of the artists that I was working with is managed by Justin’s management team. I did a couple of songs with her, and on one of the songs, I sang with her as a duet just to show them what I envisioned for the song.
I ended up getting a phone call from Justin’s team about a month later to come to Amsterdam. They said, ‘Hey, can you be in Amsterdam in two days?’ Two days later, I was there and ended up being out there for around three weeks with them. It wasn’t just Amsterdam, it was all over Europe. From that point, after Justin listened to my stuff and gave that approval, that was the spark that helped me get the record done.
PW: You did some secret sessions a few weeks ago with fans. What was the reception to the new music?
I was so nervous, because I had no idea what to expect. I got this idea when I was in New York [that] we should get together with fans and bring them into a recording studio and set up speakers, play them the record from start to finish, play both of the videos before they come out. I didn’t really have any expectations. I had no idea how many people would show up, or even want to come to something like that.
It was strange because they connected in different ways to different songs. I wanted it to be super stripped down, no barriers. You can ask whatever you want, I’m gonna ask whatever I want to ask you. That’s how I wanted it to be, just open communication. One of the girls, she was crying during my ballad. I was so moved by how she connected to the song. She told me how she connected to it, and it was completely different from how I wrote it. It was amazing. I look forward to doing more of those.
PW: Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of Symphony Soldier. What have you learned from the journey of transitioning from the band to a solo artist?
When I was with The Cab, the amount of team that we had--management, label, agents--all of those people moved a lot of the pieces to what we were able to do. So, when I left the group, none of the those people came with me. I was in this big team, and then I was out. I had to pick up those pieces and learn the things that these people were doing. When I connected with the Timberlake camp, they helped with those things and getting them accomplished on the business side.
Musically, I learned that I’m extremely critical of myself. When I’m making music for other people, my instincts are really fast and immediate. I get a vibe and I know that that’s the right thing. With myself, I’m so much more critical. For the record, I made 50 or 60 songs before I narrowed it down. My computer hates me right now because there’s no space left, one, and two, there’s way too much music on it.https://twitter.com/Alextmarshall/status/768215955436544001
PW: What artists have been inspiring you lately?
I just got back from Utah; my parents have a cabin in Utah so we go up [there] and listen to tons of music. My dad is a music nerd. I’ve actually been listening to a lot of older music over the past month. We’ve been listening to his iPod--Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Prince. My dad sends me music every single day on my email. That’s our thing. He actually helped with a couple songs on the record.
Watch "Hurricane" below and buy it on iTunes here.
For more on Alex Marshall, follow him on Twitter.