Having grown up in a rather musical family, it was perhaps of little surprise that Alexander Claffy followed his parents into the music world. Influenced by bands from all genres from rock to jazz, he recently released his concept album Claffy and has created music to uplift and inspire. With plans to keep writing and recording, he kindly agreed to this interview to chat media, musical influences and music icons.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Alexander Claffy: My name is Alexander Claffy. I've always wanted to compose and perform for as long as I can remember.
PW: You come from a rather musical family; your father is a pianist and your mother a vocalist- did that have any influence on you wanting to become a musician yourself?
AC: Growing up in a musical household was incredibly crucial: it shaped my love and passion for the American songbook as well as all styles of music.
PW: Which bands and artists most influenced you growing up and have those influences changed over the years?
AC: Growing up I was heavily influenced by anything I could get my hands on - everything from Black Sabbath to Bird with Strings.
PW: You've studied and learnt the double bass with the help of music icons including Ron Carter - what was that experience like and did those mentors give you any advice you still reflect on?
AC: I've been extremely fortunate to study with some incredible educators both in regard to the bass and music in general. Being around people like Louis Hayes, Johnny O'Neal and Mr. Carter is some of the most valuable time one could ever spend.
PW: You've also worked alongside a number of your musical heroes including Christian Scott, Jimmy Cobb and Johnny O'Neal. What were those experiences like?
AC: Working as a supporting artist with people like Wallace Roney, Russell Malone, Christian Scott and others has always been an incredible learning experience. In fact, any time you work as a supporting artist, the knowledge and insight into the music and business you gain is monumental; if you're really looking for it.
PW: Tell me about your debut concept album Claffy, which has just been released. How would you describe it?
AC: The concept of the record was to move people, to feel SOMETHING and particularly the emotions that I was coping with at the time.
PW: You've created a record that provides a real documentary style insight into your life, telling the story of love and heartbreak. Was that always your intention or did the record just veer off in that direction?
AC: My debut album is something I'm quite proud of. The intention behind the record has always been based off the compositions, which were real stories of heartbreak.
PW: What did engineer/producer Michael Perez-Cisneros bring to the process of creating the record?
AC: Michael Perez-Cisneros is single handedly the most talented and patient engineer I have ever worked with, hands down. Michael is such an amazing person, he truly embodies what I feel to be the perfect engineer. This record was made all thanks to him!
PW: The record also includes a number of rising, largely unknown musical talents including Michael Stephenson. How did you get individuals such as him involved?
AC: All of the personnel you see on this record are highly talented individuals. While most are young and just cutting their teeth in NY - like myself - I find them all to be under-appreciated and I hope somehow this record brings them more attention.
PW: What do you hope people take away from the record when they listen to it?
AC: I hope people take away from the record that true love is completely possible, and not to give up hope in this age of disconnected "millennials".
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and would you agree it's a necessary tool for bands and artists today, or is it still possible to build a fan-base without it?
AC: Social media is a complete must in this day and age - no other medium at this time allows for mass communication and unity in the arts. While I feel that it downgrades the actual quality of the art-form itself, allowing for complete posers to become famous; it also helps all great artists to shine.
PW: Are there any other plans in the pipeline you can tell me about?
AC: The plans I have in the pipeline are as follows: practice, write another record, practice more, and take care of my friends and family.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist? At what point would you be willing to say 'I've achieved all I ever wanted to?'
AC: My ultimate ambition is to always truly perform and compose at a high level that is reflective of myself. Furthermore, to change someone's life with my music.