WORTHING singer Chris Simmons believes being included on HMV’s One to Watch list for 2014 could lead to his big break.
Despite having already released two critically -acclaimed singles and supporting artists such as Kate Nash, Passenger and The Maccabees, the 36-year-old knew his song-writing needed some fresh inspiration.
Last year he went travelling around Australia and New Zealand, and says the busking tradition there really helped him to focus.
Chris, a former pupil of Andrew’s High School for Boys, said: “I only had £200 but I knew I’d be alright and I was – I went busking everyday, playing shows and all that. I wrote a few songs there that are on the album.”
Chris, from East Worthing, first decided to pursue a career in music while performing at open mic nights in local pubs.
He met a singer called Gareth Owen who wanted to start a band and once he started writing songs he never looked back.
“Gareth was a massive influence for me as we would spend night after night going through his vinyl collection, most of which I’d never heard before,” said Chris.
Chris’ lyricism and style can be compared to Sir Paul McCartney and he seeks inspiration from The Beatles, Squeeze and Blur.
He describes his music as ‘Britpop tinged singer-songwriter ballads that do the talking’.
A particular highlight of Chris’ young career is working with The Squeeze.
He said: “That was huge. We’re writing some more right now actually which I can’t wait to play live.”
His latest single The Occupant is a gripping story about the memory of a girl from his past, but he believes there is room in music for artists to look beyond simply writing about their lives.
Every day this week it has been played on BBC Radio Sussex as the station’s single of the week.
Chris said: “I have one (a track) on the album called The Greatest Unknown Cameo of All which is about the idea that you, me, anyone could be on someone’s mantel piece or screensaver in the background of a photograph.
“We have no idea this picture exists but there is someone, somewhere that recognises your face and you are forever attached to that particular trip.”
A personal connection with his audience is very important to Chris, be it passers-by, house concerts or sold out theatres, and he loves playing for audiences in his home town.
“Worthing is a fantastic town and it has some really creative and passionate people in it,” he said.
“We have some incredible musicians, arts clubs, independent promoters and venues that are doing fantastic things.”
Chris talks with passion and enthusiasm about his trade and the year ahead, when he will be touring and promoting his new album.
“It’s an old cliché that touring isn’t glamorised but it’s really true,” he said.
“It’s only waiting about and mad travelling but I wouldn’t change what I do for the world.”