MY INSPIRATION: Alex Opal | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Tyneside funk and soul producer Alex Opal has revealed his debut single. How It Feels takes cues from Alex’s love of Motown and big beats to offer up a deliciously catchy track full of emotion-fuelled funk, with big brassy sounds and stunning vocals courtesy of new wave souls sensation Jam Jam.

Here, Alex tells us more about what inspires him…

I think it’s important for an artist working in any genre to seek inspiration from a variety of sources. As well as my obsession and love of soul music, I am extremely interested in history, fashion and art. I feel that this has influenced me creatively and led me to use a diverse approach to songwriting.

MUSIC – Phil Spector
Phil Spector changed the face of soul music with flawless recordings like Be My Baby. I’ve always been intrigued by his obsessive and colourful approach to music production. I have distinct memories of Phil Spector records being played in my house as I was growing up. The perfectly crafted songs he produced feature intoxicating melodies, and this is what I aim to replicate in my own songwriting. He once threatened John Lennon with a gun in order to establish dominance during a recording session…I have a slightly more laid-back style.

MUSIC – Aretha Franklin
Quite simply the greatest vocalist of all time…It’s impossible not to be moved by the power and honesty in her voice. If you’re not, then you are emotionally deceased!  Just listen to Don’t Play That Song….

FASHION – Edward Sexton
Edward Sexton is a famous Savile Row tailor and designer, he has created some of the most famous and fantastic suits in rock and roll history. Making suits for icons such as Jagger and The Beatles, he revolutionized tailoring over the course of the 70s with his characteristically wide lapels. As a trained made to measure tailor myself, I design all my own suits, using style, colour and texture as an extension of my whole creative vision…this often causes amusement on the streets of Newcastle.

FILM – Woody Allen
For me Woody Allen’s films are completely immersive. As human beings we are all seeking to fulfill universal needs such as affection, freedom and understanding. Woody Allen examines the dynamic between individuals striving, often unsuccessfully, towards personal fulfillment. A similar study and understanding of human emotion have always been a part of my writing. I strive to conjure an emotional response to my songs, through both my melody and lyrics.

ART – Benvenuto Cellini
He was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, and artist, so he kept himself busy. He is most famous for his bronze sculpture Perseus With The Head of Medusa, which in my opinion is one of the most stunning sculptures of the renaissance. He also wrote one of the most outrageous autobiographies ever penned. He was a friend of Michelangelo’s, fought in a battle for the Pope, was repeatedly exiled from Florence for killing people and dabbled in a little bit of black magic. I’m mainly inspired by his sculpture though!

ART – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Rossetti is one of my favorite painters and I have an original painting of his above the fireplace in my flat (got it off eBay). He famously founded the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, which defied the commonly accepted rules of artistic composition at the time. Their mantra was paint what you see, this is something I’ve always tried to stay true to in my lyrics. For me it is important to write from a place of sincerity. Rosetti famously said “Places that are empty of you are empty of life” a phrase which conveys the bittersweet passion of a relationship. Rossetti and the brotherhood were also well known for their drinking sessions and raucous behavior… ultimately… What can be more inspiring than a session with the lads.

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