On September 21 ALAN DREEZER will release 'HEALED', his long awaited follow up album to 'LONDON E12'. The album will be preceded by a new single called 'THE CHASE' on September 17. Spotify pre-save links for both 'HEALED' and 'THE CHASE' can be found at the end of this article.
I recently spoke with Alan about the new album, finding out about some of the stories behind the songs and what the whole experience has meant to him.
Tell me about the genesis of your project. How did you start the process of writing this album and how did you come up with its title, 'HEALED'?
This album all started from the title. That one word 'HEALED'. I remember reading an article in early 2019 and the word jumped out of the page. It encapsulated how I was feeling at the time. I was feeling better than I had done for many years. Positive. Not weighed down by the past. It moved me. Inspired me. Then it was about framing the songs from that position of strength even the sad and difficult ones. So for me 'HEALED' is about being able to talk about things that were too painful to talk about before. Because there is distance. Because time has passed. Because I have a different perspective on the events in my life now
Tell me a little more about your creative process and flow. How does an Alan Dreezer song come together?
For me everything starts with the lyrics. I have to have something to say first and foremost. Then it’s usually vocal melody. Once I have those then I bring in a collaborator and we flesh out the idea from there. Sometimes I know exactly how I want a song to sound and find reference tracks to help shape the direction. For example for the song 'BUT IT DOES' on the album I knew I wanted the first chorus to be very sparse instrumentally and then I heard 'Attention' by Charlie Puth which gave me something to show my team as an example.
Click on the artwork to buy HEALED on CD!
HEALED is your second solo album now. What had you learned from recording your first solo album, LONDON E12?
I wanted this album to be much more considered. With 'LONDON E12' it was take an idea into the studio and run with it. There is one song which I won’t name on the last album that was nothing like how I had wanted it to be. A real disappointment. But I had set a deadline for the release and ran out of time and money to do anything about it. That was a mistake that I didn’t want to make again.
What was the first song you wrote for HEALED and what's the story behind that particular song?
The first song for this project was 'ANY WAY I CAN'. This song idea started from an Instagram post from one of those positive thinking accounts. At that time lots of things were conspiring to get me to walk away from music. After all I had finally made a solo album after more than 20 years in music so hadn’t I achieved what I set out to do? I had had support financially for 'LONDON E12' but my sponsor had made it clear he couldn’t help me this time around. Studio costs would also be more expensive this time as I had pulled in a lot of favours for my debut and I just couldn’t ask for anymore. My very supportive wife had also been questioning the sense in me carrying on too. I was wavering... I could take up golf again? More time at the gym? But this post made up my mind for me. “I AM going to make this album”. No budget, too old, haven’t got time, you can throw whatever at me as a reason NOT to make this album but I AM going to find a way. And here we are 3 years later.
You’ve recorded the majority of your album during the Covid pandemic and lockdown. How difficult has the whole recording process been for you?
It’s been a much longer process compared to the previous album 'LONDON E12'. The pandemic meant recording myself at home for the first time which I had never done before. And also collaborating remotely was a completely new experience too as I’m in Spain and my co-writers are in the UK. I feel even more proud of the results because of all the obstacles we have had to overcome.
Which song on HEALED are you most proud of?
I love all of the songs on this album they are like my children how do you choose? But 'WHAT YOU DIDN'T SAY' both the song and the video is exactly how I wanted it to be. When you have a vision and it’s realised that is something very satisfying.
What is your favourite work from your own catalogue so far?
Again a very difficult question and this does change quite frequently. At the moment it’s 'I THINK THAT YOU KNOW' from the new album. It’s the most daring, boundary pushing song I’ve ever recorded and the lyrics are based on a story my friend told me that had such a profound effect. So that combination makes it my current favourite right now.
What is the achievement or moment in your career you are the most proud of?
I think one of the proudest moments was listening back to 'WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY' my first ever solo record and finally realising this is what I had waited all my life to do. I “CAN” be a solo artist. I felt so much freedom in the making of that song. It was a revelation.
You come from the UK, Essex, but currently live in Spain. What's the story behind that move?
Well my wife’s health had been a problem for a while and she benefits from a warmer climate so we tried living in Spain for 6 months initially in 2018 and then moved here permanently in 2019. We still have a property in the UK and plan to share our time more between the 2 countries from next year.
Musically you have been inspired for many years by George Michael. How exactly has he inspired you and how did you react when you heard about his death in December 2016?
George Michael and his music has had a profound impact on my life in so many ways since my teenage years. As a fan from the Wham! days onwards his music has been the soundtrack to so many memories and so many of my life events. His concerts, TV appearances and his solo albums in particular certainly inspired me to want to become a songwriter. I have studied his work over the years very very closely. In my opinion he was the greatest songwriter of his generation. His passing was and still is difficult to accept.
You are a loyal supporter of 'The Love Button Global Movement'. Why have you chosen this charity?
Chris Martin from Coldplay spoke about it in an interview for the album 'Ghost Stories' with such eloquence and passion I started to look into what they did and was so inspired that I wanted to do what I could to support them.
Find out more aboutThe Love Button Global Movementby clicking the logo.
What are the biggest challenges for a recording artist nowadays?
For me it’s being seen in the sea of music that is out there. The latest information from Spotify says that 60,000 songs “A DAY” are uploaded to streaming services? That is 22 million per year!! How can you stand out from the crowd against so much competition? When you combine that with people’s attention spans getting shorter and technology getting more advanced it’s a very difficult market to be in. You HAVE to love the process and fortunately I do. And success has many levels. I get lots of comments and messages from people saying how my music is making them happy and inspiring them. That’s success isn’t it?
What’s the future looking like for you?
Well It’s all about the album and creating more content for it over the next few months. I am coming back to the UK in a couple of weeks to film the video for the next single'THE CHASE'and it’s the most ambitious idea for a video we have had so far. Then another 2 singles and videos are planned and I’m hoping to play some live shows in 2022 so things are looking very exciting!
Thanks for the interview Alan and good luck with the release of HEALED!