Steve Rodgers, singer songwriter, has just completed recording his ‘much anticipated’ first album, due for release this year and introduces his brand new single cut ‘I WILL GROW’, both album and single were produced by Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Paolo Nutini) mixed by Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse). We got the chance to speak to Steve about his brand new single.
So how would you describe ‘I Will Grow’?
It’s very atmospheric and I think it takes people to a place that maybe everyone’s been. The chorus lifts you up and the verse implants in your mind, in your spirit, and in your heart I guess. Without being hippy-dippy or pompous, I think it takes you somewhere. Not all my songs do that, but that one happened to.
Did you have a particular inspiration behind the song?
I was doing a gig a couple of years ago and I knew the promoter really well and the promoter’s wife was a life coach, so she was all about helping other people. She’d just designed a website and after the gig she asked if I could write something or have some music playing in the background, and I thought immediately ‘I know what I can do’ as she was talking about what she was doing in her career. I was going to do a piano song. All that night I hadn’t touched the piano as I played guitar. But I went home and I wrote it. I think sometimes it helps when you’re writing to get some inspiration coming in, of what the song is about. It just came really quickly, and I sent it the next day and asked her ‘what do you think of that?’ and she said it was great, let’s use it!
Do you think sometimes that quick turnaround helps the creative process?
I think so. I remember Ed Sheeran talking about the song he sings about angels. He was invited to some place where the homeless people were in London. I think if you see something like that it’s going to inspire something in you.
Is there a video for the song?
Yes, there’s a video out. It’s lots of girls in bikinis running around… no it’s not! It was filmed up in the Surrey hills. I had a crew come down and it was full of hip-hop guys with tattoos all over, but they felt the song and we just had a great time; it was just about nature really and the countryside!
The song is taken from your debut album out soon; how was that to record?
It was great! We recorded it with Ken Nelson who did Coldplay, Paulo Nutini, Snow Patrol and Gomez, all those greats. Me and my manager put it out there that I wasn’t that known so I said, let’s just send my demos to the greatest producers in the world and see what happens just for a giggle, and he was the first person we sent it to as we love the stuff he’s done, and he was the first person to come back – and he said ‘yes, let’s do it’. He got Adrian Bushby on board who’d worked with the Foo Fighters and Muse, and we went up to Elevator Studios in Liverpool for two weeks, which is a very funky place, and we had fun. We just nailed it. It was great. We’re looking at October [for the album but] we’ve got a couple of other singles to put out yet.
You’ve recently completed an acoustic tour; was that fun to do?
Actually the album is pretty live as Ken Nelson is all about sound, so there’s no computer generated vocals or trickery. He’s just meticulous on the sound; he gets a very live sound. The tour was great, it was a lot of fun. In the autumn we did all the arenas supporting Bad Company and ended up in the O2. I do all my gigs solo with an acoustic, so doing the O2 with just an acoustic was quite a thing!
That must be quite nerve wracking?
All the other arenas were huge, and I was quite at home as arena tours are pretty much the same, whereas if you do churches, pubs and blues bars they’re quite eclectic so you have to change what you’re doing and go with the flow, as every venue is different. But when I went to the O2 it could have swallowed up three of those arenas; it was amazing!
You’ve had a great career so far, but I read your first band was called the ‘Lost Sons of Davros’. Are you a Doctor Who fan?
We were seventeen and the initials were LSD so we thought we were clever putting that out there, but we only had one gig!
Are you looking forward to new dates supporting the album?
Yes, I’m really excited to see what people think of the music and obviously I hope it does well. We’ve got tours set up in Europe, Japan and North America and I’m just eager to get on with it, then write the next album which is what I’m working on now.
You’ve performed both as support and headliner; do you have a preference?
I prefer my own gigs as I can do a longer set and it’s very relaxed, and I do a lot of talking to the audience and we have a laugh. But with the big arena tours it’s another buzz; they’re all a buzz! I do prefer the intimate ones though as I feel you connect more.
Finally do you have any ambitions for the rest of the year?
I want to record a few more singles with Ken and get those out, and I think just go out and play as much as I can. I just want to work, work, work and enjoy it!