“It’s better,” Greg Holden said, “to make your mistakes than to live without knowing; it’s better to fall on your face than to stay on your feet – as long as you try”.
Greg Holden is a musician. He and I worked together in the Apple Store on Regent Street in 2008, back when I had about ten thousand subscribers and he had four. Not four thousand; just four. Four people.
I watched his stuff and loved it, especially his song The Art Of Falling, the chorus of which is quoted above. So I made a video called ‘Greg Holden’ and told everyone to subscribe to him and he got a thousand subscribers in less than a day and now he’s living in New York and got signed to Warner Music.
(There’s obviously a much larger story in-between ‘Alex Day made a video’ and ‘got signed to Warner Music’, but I’m not the man to tell it. Still, at least I ended up getting a record deal for SOMEONE, eh.)
I stopped making YouTube videos a few months ago because I felt frustrated that I didn’t command the sway I once had. In actuality, of course, I just wasn’t trying hard enough. One-take shaky-cam videos filmed in windy parks aren’t the best way to build back a following, this just in.
So, in the spirit of failing being better if you try, I’m kickstarting my YouTube channel and you can learn more about that here.
In music news, I’ve recorded FIVE NEW SONGS toward a new album and they’re coming along. Three of the songs have live harp on them and two of the songs were written in Plum Village, if that gives you an idea of the sound :) Right now I would describe it as ‘Complicated Days: The Album’. Or maybe ‘Hearts: The Album’. Either way, if those words mean anything to you, they should mean you’re excited. I hope, anyway. I’ve reached the end.
I’m gonna keep this brief:
I really, really hope you like this :)
This was a hard album to make. In a lot of ways, it was an album I needed to make. It’s quite raw and makes me feel a bit exposed. But I love it and I’m very proud to have it and to share it. I think parts of it are my best work and overall it’s probably the most cohesive release I’ve ever put out.
The album costs £5 digital download, or it’ll be out tomorrow on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and all those other places. As always, you get it a day early for being kind enough to read this.
I’m not selling a physical CD for this but I am selling a physical USB card with the album on, limited edition (about a hundred or so) – get that here.
I need you guys with me tomorrow: if you like the album, please share it with whoever you can.
And feel free to email me and tell me what you think of it – just reply to this post if you’re getting this on email. I’ll read every one.
Now the work begins fresh. Time to record even newer stuff!
(PS I got snapchat if you want – thatalexday)
If you’re reading this it probably means you signed up to my mailing list on alexday.ninja or my old website, alexdaymusic.com – I’m very grateful for you doing that :)
This is going to be a long one so please bear with me if you have the time. Of course you have the time. Just put your phone on silent for five seconds of your life and focus on one thing for a change. (It’s mad isn’t it, that I can’t go a paragraph without snarking you? The very audience that have given me all of the best and worst days of my life, and yet I always focus on the trouble instead of the triumph. Sorry about that. I really am grateful; there are over three thousand of you on this mailing list which makes you more than the 900,000 subscribers or the 127,000 Twitter followers or the 58,000 Facebook likers. You are the ones that made the extra effort. You are the ones who care the most. I think, anyway.)
First thing’s first; I have an album out next month. I won’t be talking about it much in this email and I won’t be selling you anything else today, but people keep asking me if I’m still working on music, and it concerns me, because for the last eight months I’ve been very public about releasing an album in October and yet everyone seems to have forgotten. Some future of music I’m turning out to be, he smiled.
So just for clarity: my fourth album Nowhere Left To Hide will be out in October. I think it’s October 4th; it’s the first Sunday in October, so whatever that date is. All the singles I’ve released this year will be on it: Scared Like Me, Make It Rain, Keep Me Up and Beyond You.
In fact, just to give you something new, here’s the track list:
1. Make It Rain
2. Exploring Tomorrow
3. Complicated Days
4. Love Conquers All
5. Keep Me Up
6. You Don’t Deserve Me
7. I Might Fall In Love Tomorrow
9. Good Enough For Now
10. Two Faulty People (featuring Sarah-Grace Neal)
11. All I Can
12. Scared Like Me
13. Beyond You
I did that from memory, I think it’s right :)
My other song, Ugh! Your Ugly Houses, is not on it. I’ve earmarked that for a different project, an album of all covers called Legacy, which will be out in the future, when we’re all just blobs in clouds streaming data directly to our brains.
In terms of non-music writing, I’ve started a fiction book and I’ll be reaching out to agents, publishers etc when I’ve made more headway with that. The first draft will be finished by the end of October. If nobody picks it up I’ll self-release it like I did with my train book. I might not be the most successful YouTube author, but my book has nothing to do with vlogging and I wrote it myself, so there’re two USPs for you.
My daily life revolves around focusing on music and on writing, which is why I haven’t been making videos; I see it as time I could spend working. Today, for a sample day, I woke up just before 5AM, I’ve done some writing and a lot of reading and I just came back from a meeting with a music manager who may be helping me to organise some gigs.
I’m also a bit over making videos, if you hadn’t guessed. So I can’t see myself doing it that often. Nine years is a long time and my best work on YouTube was around 2010 anyway. I’ll probably upload some music stuff, though, when my album comes out.
I’m writing this in the Apple Store – I told the gentlemen at the entrance that I don’t have wifi at my place and he kindly permitted me to use the laptops and wifi here to update you. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE being internet-free at my home. It helps me get so much done. It’s blissful.
I’m living near Kingston, just outside London. My room has laminate flooring that I laid down myself (which made me feel very manly). The building used to be a police station so it has a lot of character (the last place I lived in – ‘the dream flat’, as I called it – used to be a biscuit factory, and before that, I lived with a guy called Charlie in a converted matchbox factory. I’m sensing a pattern).
Another Apple Store worker just came over to ask if I was alright. I politely explained I’d been permitted to use the internet because there’s no internet at my home. He smiled, thumbed-me up and said “go for it mate, go for it!”. Apple are lovely. Obviously their products are the main reason are brains are completely turned to mush, but the staff are very nice.
I’m very privileged that I get to do what I love every day without getting a ‘proper job’. I still make plenty through YouTube adsense, book sales and music royalties, as well as Sopio/Lifescouts money. I have you to thank for that, so again, since I don’t do it enough: thank you. (I started work on Sopio Deck 8 last week, so that’ll be online and at some trade fairs like the UK Games Expo next year.)
All that, I think, will sustain me long enough for me to get the Next Thing underway. Hopefully it’ll be a career in writing. Music is more fun but far less likely. The music industry (like the vlogging industry, if we can now call it that) is all about making YOU the star, where the publishing industry only care if you’ve written a good book or not. That may change, but hopefully not before I crack it. I like the focus not being on me. I’ve never really liked the recognition very much. I just wanna make the best work I can make.
I’ve also set up a Goodreads profile! Check it out here. Goodreads is a social network for reading. It’ll tell you what I’ve read, what I’m reading, what I’m planning to read, and you can also follow other authors, review books and share your favourite stories with Facebook. It’s super cool. I’m currently reading The Man That Time Forgot, which is about a man who travels through time and space every time he falls asleep. Think Doctor Who, but instead of a TARDIS, he’s just tired. It’s great, anyway :) Apparently it’s Amazon’s number one time travel novel, according to their bio, so it’s got that going for it too. Check out The Man That Time Forgot here.
That’s all my news. I hope your days are joyful. Let’s speak soon :)
After a turbulent relationship comes to an end, it can be a bit like standing on solid ground after riding a bike or a skateboard for a long time; the ground still feels like it’s moving under your feet, and you have to remind yourself that you’re still, because your body’s reeling from the constant motion.
A while ago I came out of a relationship and, about a month later, we had a conversation on the phone that provided me that stillness. We both talked around the fact that we’d expressed interest in other people, acknowledging it to each other without being blunt or malicious. It felt like we could finally move on. There’s always that little post-breakup feeling where you’re not sure if you’re going to get back together or not, and that conversation for me was the realisation that it was finally over.
With that in mind, I could start to remember what my life was like before, but that’s not really a smart way to go about things, because ‘me before you’ doesn’t exist anymore. I have to take what’s happened and run with it. Go beyond.
When I got home, I wrote this song on the piano. It’s my favourite of any song I’ve ever written. It brings me much comfort and peace and serves, fittingly, as the final track on my upcoming album, which is itself full of turbulent and fractured moments.
The album is a journey that starts with the balls-out swagger of Make It Rain and ends here, with Beyond You, a quiet and powerful acceptance that everything you’re going through will one day be in the past, and that it’s your job to move beyond it.
The music video will be out at midnight on my YouTube channel (still used occasionally to showcase my professional work – music and writing, mostly) and will arrive on iTunes then (as well as Apple Music, Spotify etc) but in the meantime you can support me directly by getting it right now on my personal store for just 50p. I’d really appreciate your generosity and I hope you like the song :)
I’m sitting in a cafe at the Museum Of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, feeling tremendously moved and inspired.
The museum is a collection of artefacts donated by people wishing to share, commemorate, or let go of their former relationships in some way, be they familial or romantic. Some ended through affairs, some fizzled out and some blew apart. Most just drifted away, lost to the turn of the Earth as it moved them both on their respective paths and away from each other, sometimes without either of them noticing the change at all.
Every item in the museum is accompanied by a written reflection from the donor, either on the object or on the relationship it was attached to (often both). There were funny ones, heartbreaking ones, but mainly I am left with a feeling of great contentment at the inevitability with which life acts as an agent of change, pulling people together and apart as reliably as the tides. Seeing all these stories in one place is a great reminder that a breakup isn’t a great cosmic event, it’s not something that should end your whole world, it’s not even particularly special when it happens to you; it is nothing more or less than the consequence of our silly little species as we stumble across the world, bumping into each other in the hope that we’ll leave some kind of imprint, that we might seek to fit together instead of ricocheting off in newly-forged paths. The museum collects an arbitrary set of items, with only one thing bringing them together: a common desire to love, to be loved, and to keep trying.
It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in Zagreb.
Speak soon and thank you for listening :)