Musician and songwriter Andy Burrows and number one, bestselling author Matt Haig will release their album collaboration, Reasons To Stay Alive, on 1st February on Fiction Records. The pair, whose friendship blossomed after they “met” on Twitter, have spent the past year passing ideas back and forth to create a stunning collection of songs loosely inspired by Haig’s much loved books, including Reasons to Stay Alive andHow to Stop Time, with words by Haig and music by Burrows. The first single from the album, Barcelona, is out now and the album will be brought to life with a series of Andy Burrows tour dates, including a show at London’s Oslo on 19th February.
Reasons to Stay Alive, its title boldly acknowledging the themes and influence of Haig’s autobiographical book, is a unique project: a rich, colourful suite of gutsy, classic songwriting. Full of shades of Elton John, Supertramp and Queen, and with an emotional undercurrent that could not be more relevant in today’s world. Together the pair spin love stories, travel space and time, celebrate soul-mates and travel unflinchingly into the tenderer recesses of the mind.
The album burst into life over an intense first fortnight, with Andy in Los Angeles and Matt at home in Hove. Each afternoon, piano parts with the kind of melodies Haig had never envisaged would arrive in his inbox. “As soon as I heard what Andy was doing, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way,” says Haig. “He had somehow unlocked the melody inside the words. It was so instantaneous, to have that back and forth. When you write books it’s not the same, that’s more like the musician-producer relationship. I’ve hated collaborations before!”
“The reason his words rang so true with me,” says Burrows, “is that the darkness of life is so important to filter, and take on board, and put back out – but these songs all have a trim of colour and an optimistic flare.”
"The first single from the album, Barcelona, finds a thoughtful, moody recollection erupting into a rock song with harmonies that would put Queen’s A Night At The Operato shame. “Can I go back before this panic attack,” sings Burrows - hints of psychological vulnerability which are all but subsumed in the passionate, intensely melodic music.
Barcelona comes accompanied by a superb video, directed by Miles Skarin of Crystal Spotlight, which mixes his 3D modelled “Barcelona” with footage of Burrows to magical effect. Says Skarin, “Our team came up with the concept of a 3D modelled and colourful “fantasy” Barcelona almost immediately after hearing the track, and the idea of an animated couple experiencing a night out in our colourful Barcelona world with Andy also appearing in the animated sequences quickly evolved. This of course presented great technical challenges and lots of work for our modellers and animators to ensure we weren’t just cutting between disparate shots, and we are thrilled with how the final video has turned out.”
Following the initial period of writing in L.A, Burrows composed in his Hackney home, on his own piano, and recorded the album in a barn in Wittersham, Kent, with his long-time friend and producer
Tim Baxter (who had worked on his albums Company, Funny Looking Angels and The Snowman and the Snowdog soundtrack). He played many of the instruments himself – keyboards,
guitar and drums - while Muse drummer Dom Howard, and Keith Murray, the guitarist from We Are Scientists (of which Burrows is a former member), make guest appearances. Tom Smith from Editors
contributes backing vocals, Joe Auckland of the acclaimed jazz band The Horne Section provided flugelhorn, and added guitar solos are provided by Max Clilverd, who works alongside Andy with Tom
The artwork for Reasons To Stay Alive features imagery by the world renowned photographer Jason Hetherington. The album will be available on red vinyl and CD, with limited signed copies available, as well as an LP, CD and book bundle via Andy Burrows’ store. The tracklisting for the album runs as follows: A Different Game; Barcelona; Reasons To Stay Alive; Hero; The Story of Me And You; How To Stop Time; Lucky Song; Parallel Lives; Handle With Care; Tomorrow; Lost In Space.