Wednesday, 16 November 2011

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Chris Anderson

WESTCOUNTRY born producer, songwriter and musician Chris Anderson has recently returned to his roots after taking a break from his glittering career in the music industry.

Having grown up in Lyme Regis, studying 'A'-Level music and completing his piano grades at the Woodroffe School, Chris went on to work with the likes of Cher, Tina Turner and Kylie Minogue.

After graduating from the Gateway School of Music Recording, Chris joined the team that was to become Metro, where in 1996 he worked on Cher’s multi platinum award winning track ‘Believe’.

Chris went on to work with a host of stars and in 2001 became one of the first recipients of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters - ‘Universal’ Chart Newcomers Award.

In Europe Chris co-wrote and produced the debut single for 2002 Spanish ‘Pop Idol’ finalist Chenoa and in 2003 Chris had a song recorded by the winner of French ‘Pop Idol’.

In recent times Chris has been setting up independently, spending his time working between London and West Dorset. His most recent release was a track on the charity Help for Heroes single ‘We Will Remember Them’.

WHO are the biggest artists you’ve worked with?
The three biggest are Cher, Tina Turner and Lionel Richie. I’ve worked with a few other people as well. I played keyboards on an Enrique Iglesias track and I’ve worked with Belinda Carlisle and Kylie Minogue.

WHO were the nicest to work with?
Lionel Richie is really nice and down to earth. Kylie Minogue was really lovely as well. You tend to find the ones who have got the genuine talent are the nicest to work with, because they haven’t got anything to prove. The ones who come through the door from fame school who’ve got too little talent and too much confidence are the ones who are difficult.

WHAT are the secrets to a perfect pop song?
It’s got to have the standard pop song structure. It’s like the old saying goes, ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus’. Also it has to be melodic, something you can imagine the postman whistling, something people can latch on to. Lyrically, if someone can really relate to a song, even if you are misreading what the song is written about, that’s what makes a really strong song.

ARE there any songwriters that inspire you?
All the writers involved in Motown, Burt Bacharach, Lennon and McCartney. It’s not cool sometimes to say you like The Beatles but the bottom line is they were phenomenal writers and they did what they did and, no matter what anyone else does, they can never change that.

DO you think the digital age has ruined the music industry?
The industry is in a very bad state now because of all the illegal downloads. Kids don’t see the value to music anymore. I’ve had a bit of a sabbatical recently but I think I got out at a time when the industry was starting to nose dive anyway. I’ve known so many people who used to make a living from writing and producing music and aren’t anymore.

WHAT would be your top tip for getting into the music industry?
Never sign anything without some legal representation. If you’re under the Musicians' Union, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to get. That’s first and foremost, because it’s not until five years down the line when you’ve signed a contract and you’ve learnt a bit down the industry that you realise you’ve been stitched up. It happens a lot.

WHAT do you make of TV talent shows?
They are okay, but to a certain extent they are killing music and making it much harder for new songwriters, as if it isn’t hard enough already. Most of the shows are playing covers until you actually get the winner and they release an album, and even then they sometimes record songs from the old American songbook.

WHAT'S the one pop song you wished you’d written?
I play piano for weddings and events and I always ask people this question and they can never pinpoint one song. It’s tough because there are loads but one song that was very innovative at the time was “When Doves Cry” by Prince.

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