“Record companies are interested in 20-year olds, I needed to write my own rules” - hmv.com talks to Alesha Dixon
As she releases Do It For Love (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page), her first album for five years, we sit down with Alesha Dixon to talk about the making of the album and why she decided to go it alone with this LP...
Your new album is out today, how are you feeling? Excited or nervous?
“It’s a bit of both, but I’m more excited than nervous. There’s a part of me that’s still programmed to be nervous about where it charts, but most of me knows that at this point in my life it’s really not that important. I’m super proud of the record, so it’s more of a relief, I’ll be happy if one person buys it!”
It’s your first for five years…
“I didn’t want to leave it for five years, it’s only because of my daughter (Dixon gave birth to daughter Azura in 2013) that I didn’t do it sooner, I just thought I can’t be pregnant and then a new mother and running around the country promoting a new album. I’ve always been more concerned with making the right record than when it comes out. I’ve done it all on my own and I’ve definitely got a newfound respect for record companies. I’ve had to take care of every aspect of this record, it’s more than just the songwriting now.”
Why did you decide you wanted to put the album out on your own label?
“I’ve had a rollercoaster ride with the music industry and I felt like at this time of my life it made sense to do it on my own. I can’t play the same games as the up and comers, the industry favours the young, record companies are interested in 20-year olds and I knew I needed to write my own rules.”
Did that change how you approached making the album?
“I wanted to tailor this album to suit my fans and really take the creative reins. Artists are vulnerable and a record company can see you as a product, I wanted to go my own way, write my own songs, own my own masters and make music for the love of it. I don’t want to try and compete with big corporations and doing it all ourselves has made it feel so rewarding.”
It must have also changed how you approached writers and producers...
“A label will spend thousands and thousands of pounds and put you in with so many producers and you come up with albums that sound quite scattered. I targeted the producers I wanted and I deal my own deals. It’s a mature sound, but with homage to where I’ve come from with Mis-Teeq.”
Is the label just for you or will you look to sign other people?
“In an ideal world I would love to sign other artists, but I’ll have to see how this album performs. That said I think I’d be a lot more comfortable in an advisory role, I’d find it hard to take money from other artists, I’d more like to develop younger artists.”
What influences did you draw on for the album?
“I draw from all over the place. When I go home I mainly listen to jazz and reggae, but I love soul and dance as well as pop. For my own songs I think that life experience is the best inspiration, that’s where my songs come from.”
Can you sum up the record lyrically?
“It’s a record of two halves. The first half is very uplifting, it’s a more mature version of where I was with Mis-Teeq and the second half is a bit more profound, it’s my opportunity to talk from the heart, it’s more autobiographical and a lot more spiritual. I want to present songs that can be helpful to people, you get old skool Alesha and a true reflection of who I am now.”
Has how you write lyrics changed?
“I’m not afraid to go anywhere lyrically. I’m not worried about how my words will be perceived, I try to find what my soul wants to say and try and get it down on paper. Writing with Mis-Teeq we’d tend to write about the topics that united us, so fun and flirting and boys. I’m a lot more open now and I don’t feel like I have to shy away from anything.”
Will you be taking the record out live?
“I’d love to tour next year. I’d like to do a lovely intimate tour, being on the road for me is what it’s all about, it was the driving force for me to record this album.”
Alesha Dixon’s new album Do It For Love is out now.