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Saturday 15 December 2018

Reasons To Stay Alive: Songwriter & Author Combine On Unique Collaborative Project

Musician and songwriter Andy Burrows and bestselling Hove-based author Matt Haig, whose friendship blossomed after they 'met' on Twitter, have spent the past year passing ideas back and forth to create a collection of songs loosely inspired by Haig's books.
credit Andy Willsher

Reasons to Stay Alive, its title boldly acknowledging the themes and influence of Haig's autobiographical book, is a unique project: a rich, colourful suite of gutsy, classic songwriting. 

Full of shades of Elton John, Supertramp and Queen, and with an emotional undercurrent that could not be more relevant in today's world. 

Together the pair spin love stories, travel space and time, celebrate soul-mates and travel unflinchingly into the tenderer recesses of the mind.

The album was birthed over an intense first fortnight, with Andy in Los Angeles and Matt at home in Hove. 

Each afternoon, piano parts with the kind of melodies Haig had never envisaged would arrive in his inbox.  

"As soon as I heard what Andy was doing, I couldn't have imagined it any other way," says Haig. 

"He had somehow unlocked the melody inside the words. It was so instantaneous, to have that back and forth. 

"When you write books it"s not the same, that's more like the musician-producer relationship. I've hated collaborations before!"

"The reason his words rang so true with me," says Burrows, "is that the darkness of life is so important to filter, and take on board, and put back out – but these songs all have a trim of colour and an optimistic flare."
The first single from the album, Barcelona, finds a thoughtful, moody recollection erupting into a rock song with harmonies that would put Queen's A Night At The Operato shame. 

"Can I go back before this panic attack," sings Burrows - hints of psychological vulnerability which are all but subsumed in the passionate, intensely melodic music. 
Following the initial period of writing in L.A, Burrows composed in his Hackney home, on his own piano, and recorded the album in a barn in Wittersham, Kent, with his long-time friend and producer Tim Baxter.

He played many of the instruments himself – keyboards, guitar and drums - while Muse drummer Dom Howard, and Keith Murray, the guitarist from We Are Scientists (of which Burrows is a former member), make guest appearances. 

Tom Smith from Editors contributes backing vocals, Joe Auckland of the acclaimed jazz band The Horne Section provided flugelhorn, and added guitar solos are provided by Max Clilverd, who works alongside Andy with Tom Odell. 

Andy Burrows and Matt Haig will release Reasons To Stay Alive, on 1st February on Fiction Records. CLICK HERE to pre-order. The duo play Brighton Komedia Studio on Monday 11th February 2019. 

by: Mike Cobley


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Credit Tom Woollard

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