I often get asked about my inspiration for Sunglasses Kid, so here are 10 artists that have influenced the music I'm writing for my new album "Graduation", which will be released before the end of 2015.
10.The Jets - Their big hit was Crush On You, which is pretty much a template for cool 80s pop. A perfect song for sheer 80s funky pop power.
9. Madonna - Madonna is pure pop. I took huge inspiration from the song Lucky Star. The funky strat guitars on that have become my go-to reference when talking to guitarists I work with. I'm always like, "more Lucky Star style strat please!"
8. New Kids On The Block - I love the use of drum machines in their songs, and Hangin' Tough was the first album I ever got. I remember hearing the 808 cowbell and thinking 'wow, what is that sound?'
7. Tina Turner - Her 80s period was amazing, and tracks like Typical Male, and One of The Living are just perfect pop hits to take cues from. (*Bonus geek knowledge - the sexy sax guy from The Lost Boys is the session sax player on most of Tina's 80s work.)
6. David Foster - the composer of my fave 80s movie St Elmo's Fire, and the man behind one of my fave songs, After The Love Has Gone (Earth, Wind and Fire), his saxophone led instrumental albums are a big source of inspiration.
5. The System - the complex production and exotic 80s sounds, blended with funk and jazz make The System a band I always go back to for ideas on orchestration.
4. Scritti Politti - mind blowing pop with incredibly technical production for the period, these guys really are a huge part of my sound.
3. Jane Child - specifically Don't Wanna Fall in Love, has become my benchmark for funky pop jams. The Teddy Riley (creator of New Jack Swing) produced track is everything I love about 80s pop.
2. Paula Abdul - My second ever album was Paula Abdul (till I melted the cassette tape!). Songs like Forever Your Girl and Opposites Attract just made me fall in love with pop at an early age.
1. Janet Jackson - Her Rhythm Nation album was simply the most exciting thing I'd ever heard. The whole concept, the music videos, and the sound-design were just incredible. I still get goosebumps hearing "5,4,3,2,1" at the Interlude / Pledge opening before the title track kicks in.