What kind of brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-box artist turns down the opportunity to work with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers?
The kind of brand-new artist who was at the centre of a good, old-fashion shoot-out between record companies vying for his signature on their contract, that’s who. The kind of brand-new artist whose first unsigned foray onto YouTube got him a cool 30 million views. The kind of brand-new artist hailed as ‘a genius’ by Pharrell, who was following him on Twitter just to keep up to speed. The name of that brand-new artist? AKA George.
So why did AKA George, with his rangy classic-rock good looks (good looks that Burberry are probably perusing as we speak for a future campaign), walk away from all that interest and even go so far as to tear down everything he’d posted on YouTube when most new artists would be riding into town on the back of that sort of attention?
Because AKA George is firstly all about the music, the sort of artist who wants to do things on his own terms and at his own pace. It was his way of asking the world to back off until he had got his act – the act he wanted to be – together.
‘It was all moving too quickly,’ says AKA George, with his mop of curly brown hair and the sort of gangly sexiness we’ve not seen since early Jagger. ‘I was in these plush offices talking to hit-making A&Rs thinking, “This isn’t right. They don’t know what they are signing. They are just impressed with numbers. And in the end numbers don’t mean anything. Even now they’re all chasing them as if they translate into good music”.’
It all started innocently enough with a cover of Pharrell’s ‘Get Lucky’ – and let’s face it, there have been a few. But this is the one that caught the man himself’s attention, snowballing into a viral hit and all that attention mentioned up there. Another artist might have rush-released the song to capitalise on the social media storm. Not AKA George. He wanted to cool his heels and be properly ready for his moment.
And that moment is now. Backed by a manager who also looks after Zac Able, AKA George’s single ‘Stone Cold Classic’ – a bold title for a debut, but undeniably that: an instant stone cold classic – is ready for release on 27th October, launched at a headline show at the Camden Assembly Hall on 4th October. It’s going to be big.
And that’s the kind of brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-box artist AKA George is. Get used to it. Listen here