I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into the rehearsals of Scott Alan’s upcoming song cycle, The Distance You Have Come, that opens at The Cockpit Theatre on 16th October.
From just the short glimpse of rehearsals I saw, I have no doubt that this production is something special. There was such a great atmosphere of collaboration in the room, and with a lineup of six stellar performers, audiences are in for a real treat.
I can’t thank Scott enough for agreeing to speak with me, despite his crammed schedule of rehearsals alongside his private voice lessons while he’s here in London.
This song cycle provides an opportunity to hear Scott Alan’s uniquely heartfelt and honest music in a whole new light, so you really don’t want to miss it.
The Distance You Have Come stars Andy Coxon, Adrian Hansel, Emma Hatton, Jodie Jacobs, Dean John-Wilson and Alexia Khadime.
How did this new song cycle come about?
I’d been approached various times to do a song cycle of my work. They’ve been done in Brazil, Portugal, Germany…but I’d never actually been involved and so they’d never told the exact story I thought my music would be telling.
I don’t think this story could have even evolved until now as there’s a whole new approach to my music through my last album; finding love, settling down with my fiancé…
So when I was surveying the outline of the show, the first thing I started building was the relationship with Brian and Samuel. I wanted to tell a relationship like mine which is that we don’t do drugs, we don’t go out at night, we stay at home with the dogs, we don’t have an open relationship, we want kids… I wanted to tell that story through them.
Building from there, I started thinking how they would know the other characters. So I had Samuel have a sister, Laura, and started to think what was Laura’s story. I then gave her the component of Anna. I didn’t want to just tell this secret story of homosexuality, but I wanted to show the complications and what it’s like to be in your early thirties and really wanting love. Anna goes in and out of discovering herself through different partners, whether that be a female or a male. She falls in love with her best friend and that unfortunately doesn’t work out.
And then from there I wanted to build the next story of Anna and one of their best friends – Maisey, who was in a relationship for ten years with an alcoholic, who’s Joe.
What’s it been like working with this group of actors?
It’s like being with friends – they’re an incredible group of giving people.
Despite the many songs you’ve released out into the world, do you still get nervous when you’re about to share new work?
What’s interesting about this one, is that I am nervous for the fans because so much of the music is different. I know that they’ll hear Anything Worth Holding On To, but it’s now Anything Worth Holding On To with another song called Stay, plus Once Upon A Time and it all comes together at one time. So for fans who are so dedicated to that particular song might be like “why didn’t I get the song I want?” but it’s been recorded like 700 times and been performed 9000 times, so it’s time to find a story to build and I’m excited about that.
You’ve performed in London several times before. Do you enjoy it here?
Oh, it’s my favourite city in the world. Whenever I come here though, I come for work and so I’ve never really seen the city. But I always do an Afternoon Tea at the Covent Garden Hotel.
By putting your songs together for this song cycle, has it given you a new perspective of your music?
Totally, but it also allows me to release them into the world and they now have their own identity as they’re really looking at the lyrics through other organic characters. There are so many new colours and vibrancies that are coming across with every new step. Having Scott Morgan come along and arrange and orchestrate the entire piece, and I gave him free liberty to do so, it’s a whole new experience for me and it’s nice to give it away.
When you’re writing or working on a project, do you have specific musical influences you like to surround yourself with or do you enjoy listening to new work?
It’s funny, I started listening to Tori Amos again – she’s one of my favourites. It’s one of those things where I gravitate towards things, so when I’m here I have an hour commute and so I listen to music that makes me calm.
You’ve performed your music all over the world, but are there any venues that are on your bucket list?
That’s a good question – I mean, anyone would want to perform in Central Park. But I like the intimate venues. I would also like to see my show, Home, take the stage one day.
What advice would you give to aspiring songwriters?
Trust your heart. Reach out for those people you are passionate about. When I have performers perform with me it’s not always the biggest names in the world, but people I love hearing sing my work. I think for any writer, it’s trust yourself, trust your heart, trust your passion, trust your gut. Don’t just try to rhyme or be predictable – try write something that’s honest and poignant. Because every song, even Good Morning Baltimore, there’s fun it it but it still has a dramatic arc.
As my blog is called Rose’s Supposes, I like to ask everyone I interview this question – if you could do one thing to make the world a bit rosier, what would you do?
I would give ice cream to everyone. I love ice cream and I think ice cream makes people smile. And I think I would remind people what they were when they were a child and without bigotry in their lives because they weren’t emotionally connected to that yet. I would give hugs, because people don’t hug enough. Ice cream, hugs, all the good stuff.
Olivia Rose 🌹
For more information on The Distance You Have Come or to buy tickets, click the link here: http://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/the_distance_you_have_come
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