I am Ian Britt: Sheffield based, singer songwriter and independent musician.
I always thought I was artistically neurotic and unruly until I read the following quote in a music blog describing two main forms of music output: “the idiosyncratic impulses of maverick creativity.” I found myself quite at home and validated within that. I would claim to be an artist working in the medium of music before I could claim to adhere cleanly to any particular genre. I’ve been compared to a great many styles and artists, so I guess it comes down to this; people see what they want to see in art. I just follow my ears and my heart, as a musician who enjoys following the follies of creation under whichever influences are working on me at the time. The tag of singer songwriter has stuck best because my music life & performances began revolving around my acoustic guitar and me. This in itself only really arose because it was the easiest way of making my songs and myself portable around the world. More recently, I have found the recording studio a hugely liberating creative tool, further than just the acoustic guitar.
I picked up the guitar at a young age literally because I wanted to be Michael J Fox in “Back to the Future.” I bothered my mother until she bought me a guitar to complete my fixation, having already got the skateboard and the haircut. I doodled on the guitar until I got really quite good on it, even studying some classical whilst at school. I went from Cream and Hendrix to Paul Simon and Talking Heads, Van Halen to Rage Against the Machine to Red Hot Chili Peppers then a bit of Hip Hop, even at one point DJ-ing House and Garage records! Even now, my influences are wildly contradicting, most recently I fell in love with the face melting Dub Step genre, Eminem is one of my favourite all time artists and yet I love to sit back and listen to Enya or Tallest Man on Earth or Elbow.
After bashing guitars in bands throughout my youth I went on to study music in Manchester and I did really rather well, getting a first degree honours without doing much more than drinking myself stupid for three years, and so it seemed music was maybe the one thing I had in me. On the back of this “educational” focus on music, I recorded some demos which got me signed to London based label Jalapeño Records who released my debut album in 2005 after two years of fragmented recordings.
That album “One Day I” made it to number 2 in the iTunes folk charts; the lead single came 2nd place for record of the week at BBC Radio 2 and I played showcases at BBC Radio One Live Weekend as well as the world renowned industry music festival SXSW in Texas. I thought I was a rock star. I wasn’t. When the mild fervour of the album died down, the label and me “went our separate ways” and the hard, lonely, thankless graft years of seriously honing, developing and performing as an independent artist began.
Over a year or so I self-recorded tracks which were whittled down into an EP called “Big Light”. I had also begun regularly touring Holland, something that has since carried on throughout and with mounting success. Then, in early 2008 my manager, who’d helped me put all this success in motion, suffered a heart attack out of the blue and passed away. I was devastated personally and a lot of the work we’d created lost its’ momentum completely. I had to somehow pull myself out from the wreckage and figure out what to do next.
In 2009 I stalled touring and, with much improved recording skills, self produced a new album to satisfy the growing demand. In 2010 a Dutch label was brought on board to support the album, laborious re-mix/polishing sessions were undertaken in Holland, and then, well, then the label went bust before release! After all that effort and turbulence, more than ever, I was itching to move on artistically from a record already a year old to me, so I cut my losses and officially released BOX independently in summer 2011.
I endeavour to keep the contact with my fans as close and involved as possible. If you mail me I will always try to mail back! I love contact with the people who support my work, something I learnt whilst touring and crashing with people in Holland over the years, I could not carry on without their support.