Alexander William has today released his new single titled ‘Cuffley’. That subtle way about him combined with a deep earnestness is what initially makes this an endearing song. But, think about that songwriting. There is power in the subtlety. There is experience. The kind you only get when you live. Lessons learned and learned laid to music.
‘Cuffley’ will take you to a place you may not know that well; yourself.
I grew up on the Gold Coast, Australia; A town brimming with life and a perfect blend of city and nature. It’s a town where for a long time nothing really happened. That’s all changing now, as the tides of time roll on past. Buildings have grown and the seas are busier, but I still love it here. No matter where I travel, I’m always happy to return. I count myself as one of the luckier people on this earth, just for that.
Growing up, I really got into fingerstyle guitar. I’m talking John Butler, big time. Eventually, Ben Howard’s tunes found my years and my sound began to evolve. I dove into varied tunings and that rich folky sound. The lyrical side of my life came from the old Irish and Scottish realms, and figures like Leonard Cohen. I’ve always loved a good tale and love the songs that convey a story. I think that most artists have found inspiration in Cohen’s works. If I could reach a stage in music where my songs have that effect, I’d be very glad.
When I was 18 or 19 (I can’t quite remember which now) I moved to Africa, for a girl. We spent time there and it really affected my view on life. I distinctly remember the beauty of the place. It’s rich in a magic you won’t find anywhere else. I also remember her passion for what was right, and her desire to show the world the truth. That relationship crumbled in the end and I found myself in London as a young man with big thoughts. I released my first EP that year; a collection of songs recorded in Garrett Kato’s basement called the Truth EP (2017). The songs were about all that, really. When I released, I was alone, living in strange quarters, but immensely proud of myself. It was my first step as a musician.
My first album Goodbye My Darling, My Darling Goodbye(2019) was written in a couple of months. At the time I had all these ideas that just weren’t making the cut and that’s when I ran into Mr. Thomas Higleyat a fish and chips store, just down the road from my house. When we first played together, I distinctly recall his soft and delicate playing style, and how it complimented my more dominant fingerpicking patterns.
We got on this intense creation train and began tracking with Jared Aldam, at Machine Lab Recording Studios. Aldam remarked later that it’d been his fastest recording of an album ever, with 16 songs fully tracked in 3 or so days. That’s how I was back then. Get it out and then leave it, for that’s the deepest level of authenticity you can achieve. Now I see things a little differently, enjoying the process of creating and crafting equally. I’ve been working with Tom and Jared ever since.
After the album release, I set up a tour of Japan, in which Tom and I went and played to small rooms of people throughout Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It was and is still one of my fondest set of memories. Those sorts of experiences really shaped us as artists. For me, music is a way to express what I can’t explain, and the way I feel about things. It’s about the improvement of your soul, and the individual pursuit to see the world and yourself more clearly. I think that’s why it’s pull is undeniable.
Around 2018, I was introduced to a woman who was influential to my music. She was crazy. She picked me up high, and let me down even further, and that bond breaking started off my third body of work. I was quite self-destructive during this stage of my life, and I think, ultimately, it led me to find a path that I knew was more right for me. A deeper connection to family and friends, appreciation of our world and those around us, and the pursuit to find meaning. These were the lessons I learned.
Fast forward a couple of years, and here I am with a person whom I consider to be my soul mate. A person who’s guided me through huge patches of growth in my life; she has been my rock and anchor to the world when my head goes drifting. I honestly think that without her I wouldn’t be where I am today; that I may not have had the courage to continue pursuing such a wild dream. But she convinced me it was worth it, and that I was too. If you find someone like that, hold onto them.
At some point around here, I connected with singer-songwriter Harrison Storm. At first, I simply loved his songs, and then one day I decided to reach out. I had a bunch of questions I wanted answered from someone I admired in the industry. To my surprise, he wrote back, and we formed a small bond, sharing music back and forth. After a little while, I received an email from Harrison’s manager, asking if I’d like to join him on tour. I felt pieces all falling together, and life seemed like it was in flow. Then COVID hit, and everything went to shit. I don’t reserve any resentment for that time, despite its effects on my music world, as in comparison to others we had a real easy time on the Gold Coast. Over a year passed and we finally got the chance to do the shows in early 2021. They were some of the nicest shows I’ve played. I took Harmony (my partner), we traveled to a couple of different cities, did a lot of coffee drinking and rock climbing, and I played a lot of music.
Later in 2021, I was officially offered a deal on the Nettwerk roster. I struggled to believe it was all really happening, and it took me a long time to relax and enjoy the process. I was so nervous about screwing it all up. Now I write music because I love to. Not because I feel like I need to. I write not to become a ‘success,’ but to express the parts of myself that I don’t even understand. The side of my self that’s a stranger to me. But I think we’re all strangers in our own ways. All of us, searching for some sort of connection to something. Some search through words, others through paint, or movement, or touch. I look for it through sound. Really, I’m just another part of it all, looking for a way to feel purpose, and meaning, in my little window frame of time.
Featured image by Fluorescence.