Alto Key - 10 Questions Music Interview
Alto Key is a London-based indie artist with an indie, alt-pop sound that's loved by people with 10/10 taste.** Since starting in 2018, he has released a number of EPs (Animals, Seas Unknown) and singles (Colourless, Distant Love). People kinda liked them so they have been played on various radio stations and podcasts including BBC Music Introducing, idobi Radio and Soho Radio. He was awarded Best Lyrics in Folk at the Indie Originals 2019 Music Competition. Alongside his original music, he makes silly music jingles over on TikTok where he has amassed 200K fans and 3M likes using his quirky sense of humour and phone thing. He is currently independent but could always use a helpful hand if any are going spare on the black market. Anyone? ** your experience may differ, but is unlikely. Or at least Alto's mum thinks so.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I have a vague memory of doing a really bad impression of John Denver at the dinner table and my sister complimenting me. Over time I started doing impressions of various singers and learnt how to sing, with probably awful technique. As for my main instrument, the piano, I got into that in school - it's honestly one of the best composing tools as all the notes are literally right there.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Making a fun little music jingle over on TikTok and seeing it go viral. As of writing this, one of my videos has been watched over 5M times and the sound has been used by over 150K people from all over the world. You know the butterfly effect? I wonder how many micro-annoyances I have created.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Low points as a musician? Never! I'm obviously kidding, but the best moments for me are when I am in the studio working with producers or interacting with my fans over social media. Both 'Colourless' and 'Distant Love', my latest singles, have been well received and played on various radio stations which is always exciting!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I always start with a song idea and a bunch of other songs for reference/inspiration. Usually the idea is something particularly important / emotional to me and I use those feelings to fuel my creativity. More often than not, I get a good melody or hook whilst in the shower or on the toilet.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Less gatekeepers and "who you know", and more fair analysis of the actual music over who has got the best marketing. That said, I have no idea how you would create such a system… but I would like to be at the top of it. That seems real fair to me. Also I shouldn't probably criticise the marketing aspect of it since I am currently a completely online musician. Scratch that bit.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
COLDPLAY. Chris Martin is a big inspiration for me both as a songwriter, but also his humbling personality. Plus they're pretty good live so could make me look better on stage.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? Currently I'm an "online-only" artist. It's tricky as I juggle a full time job alongside everything and I want to give making new material and content for my online fans my highest attention. For now I plan to keep doing that, but never say never!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Oo, that's a tough one. The lyrics are always the hardest bit for me to get right as well as forever trying to evolve and improve. 'Distant Love', my latest single, was tricky as I wanted to keep it on a similar theme to my previous single 'Colourless', whilst keeping it a very separate song. On top of that challenge to innovate, I also wanted to make the song have some small and epic moments without ever losing the listener's interest. I think my producer for that song, Charlie Westropp, and I succeeded and we made something really special.
What's coming up in the future?
I definitely have more music planned to release this year. Also stupid humour a-plenty. Now that 'Distant Love' is out there, I might take a few minutes break but, otherwise, the action-packed adventure continues!
Tell us where fans can access your music?