A while back, around Christmas, Alex Day, one of the best known vloggers from the UK has took it upon himself to make a stand against the big names in the music industry and get an unsigned artist to number 1, in the Christmas charts. Even though he didn’t actually get to number 1, he has achieved something more. Rallying people together, giving them a purpose – the struggle to spread the word and gather money for charity – and bringing everyone together for Christmas seems somewhat more important than a chart position. The fact that he actually got to number 4, isn’t bad either. You can read more about that story here.
We got to chat with Alex and this is what he had to say about the experience he had with his song Forever Yours and the events that followed its launch. Here’s what we got:
* You’ve been quite successful as a vlogger and musician for a while, but this is the first time you actually took on a mission as difficult as this (except reading Twilight). What brought this on?
Alex: Well you should always aim high, I think. I didn’t actually expect the Christmas Number One – I said in my very first video about it, ‘we probably can’t do this’. But it’s fun to be part of the Christmas race, I miss that battle between all the top acts fighting for the top spot.
* Forever Yours is not what people would expect to come out around this time of the year and be so successful, how come you chose to do something other than songs involving love under the mistletoe and father Christmas? Why Forever Yours?
Alex: Yeah, I’ve seen people be a bit weird about that, saying “you should have released a Christmas song”. The whole point for me was that it isn’t a Christmas novelty thing, it’s just my first single, and I wanted to push it for success beyond just that one week. It was an investment move, I suppose.
* I have been following your timeline on twitter, you’re drawing in quite a crowd. Do you think it’s a reaction to the bad music we’re “graced” with on a daily basis or just love for the underdog?
Alex: Thank you! I think it’s a couple things: interest in seeing how far an unsigned artist can go without any tricks except good music and a receptive audience, coupled with the fact that I’m very honest on Twitter and will continue to be so. But yes, most music is shit isn’t it?
* There is a strong and strange phenomenon going on on twitter now, you actually got your followers to gift the song to people less fortunate and it’s actually working. How does it make you feel? It might sound like you should lie on the couch to answer this one.
Alex: It’s a shame, I think, that selfless generosity is referred to as a “strange phenomenon” in this day and age! It’s a wonderful thing, and it started because I was doing it – a couple people said their parents weren’t letting them buy the song because they didn’t ‘trust iTunes’ or something stupid like that, so I gifted it to them as gifting a song still helps for the chart. And from there I had people requesting the song but also a lot of people offering to gift it to others, so we set up a hashtag and they worked it out from there.
* There are several different version of Forever Yours going around and all of them have made the charts, do you have a favourite out of all of them? And why are there so many version?
Alex: Yes, the fifteen versions combined to one single chart place which is a useful little loophole in the UK charts, so that’s the reason for the number of them, but I didn’t release any that I wasn’t proud of as alternate versions in their own right. My favourite is the one that my friends Michael and Bill recorded – they did a dramatic reading of the song, similar to William Shatner’s ‘Common People’ cover.
* The video…just the video. It’s quite different from what we see on TV, no flashy effects or big names directing it, but it’s still awesome. Who came up with the idea for it? And speaking of the video, how come it’s on Charlie’s channel and not yours?
Alex: Thank you I’m very proud of the video. It was Charlie’s idea, after asking me what the song was about and trying to get that across. That’s the reason it’s on Charlie’s channel – it’s Charlie’s video, he made it himself so he deserves to showcase it on his page. It also means he gets as much out of it as me, because he gets the subscriber gain and I get the exposure of the music. It’s something I hope we’ll be able to do again with future singles.
* The money you’ll be making from selling the song will go to World Vision, is Karma keeping you on top? You’ve been involved in several other charity events, any particular reason you chose World Vision this time?
Alex: World Vision is always the charity I’m most loyal to because they flew me out to Zambia for two weeks last year to personally observe their work in the field. I made a few videos about it and loved the experience of being out there. And yes, I’m sure it does make people feel a little better about supporting me. I’m really not in this for fame or money, I just want my music to be heard and enjoyed.
* You are the first unsigned artist to get this far, considering the competition you’ve had, you’re doing great. Would you like to become a signed artist? Join a label? Or would you like to keep doing your thing with little to no outside involvement?
Thanks – I’d like to keep doing my thing my way, but it’d certainly be nice to have a team of people helping me to do it better and with more money. I’d sign to a label if I was sure that I could still make every decision about my career on my own, I’m not against it – as I said, my biggest joy is that people enjoy my music, and being with a label would certainly help more people to reach my work.
* Any advice to future artists who might be looking at you for inspiration?
Alex: Yeah, get off your arse and get known! Most artists settle for just putting a song out, they put it on YouTube, they moan that it doesn’t get as much views as they like, but they’re not doing anything to help – for the last month I’ve been non-stop ringing press people, newspapers, TV shows, music websites, radio, all to try and bring exposure to Forever Yours, saying “this is my story, let’s talk about it”, and you have to do that stuff. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. And work out what your story is – for Forever Yours my story was “unsigned artist running for Christmas Number One”, which is a good story. You need to find something unique that will make people want to share your story with other people.
* Ok, question time over, what would you like to tell your fans? I’ve seen on the trending topics you went across the borders, people from all over the world are listening to you so what is the one thing you would like them to know?
Alex: I’d like them to know that I’m grateful, that I will keep them honestly informed on all the major decisions regarding my career and that you made my Christmas