Sound Check: Microsoft ad helps Alex Clare’s “Hearts” beat strong

By Gary Graff

ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com @GraffonMusic on Twitter

Alex Clare can testify about the difference eight months can make.

The British singer and songwriter’s career was considered dead in the water not long after his debut album, “The Lateness of the Hour,” came out in July 2011 and stiffed, with his record company dropping him from its roster.

Then Microsoft began using Clare’s song “Too Close” in ads for Internet Explorer 9, sending it up the charts on both sides of the pond — peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 with double-platinum sales — and providing a new lease on musical life for the 29-year-old Clare.

“Oh, man, it’s been amazing,” he says. “We’ve gotten to go all over the world and play in so many places and meet some incredible people in every corner of the world. I mean, the reality is most musicians’ careers don’t last very long, and mine I felt had ended before it even started.

“So, yeah, my life changed a lot, and also from the perspective of being a penniless musician living hand to mouth to start having some kind of income, which is always really nice, very much appreciated. It’s a real trip.”

Much has also changed in Clare’s life during the interim leading up to this year’s sophomore album, “Three Hearts.” Clare — an Orthodox Jew who doesn’t perform on the Sabbath, keeps kosher even on the road and studies Torah daily — married and now has a baby daughter. Those life turns inspired much of the material on “Three Hearts.”

Incidentally, his video for “Where Is The Heart” name-checks Pontiac, Mich., with a film clip.

“Y’know, since ‘The Lateness of the Hour’ I had success, I got married and I started a family and my life changed in other innumerable and incredible ways, so (the album is) really just about being very grateful with everything I have and the incredible things that have happened to me,” Clare explains. “My wife and my daughter, especially, those are definitely two muses right there for making music.

“So ‘Three Hearts’ is basically about me dealing with the insecurities of new fatherhood, and also being in, for the first time, a really genuine and loving relationship, which, if you listen to ‘The Lateness of The Hour,’ you can probablytell I didn’t have before. It’s a big change in my life, and it’s a very heartfelt record. I wanted to express all that.”

Article Source: TheOaklandPress.com