Interview with Fraser Gregory

Age: 36

Where do you live: London

Status: In a relationship

Star Sign: Virgo

Main occupation: Head of Sales 

Media-related occupation: Singer/ Songwriter

FRASER GREGORY started writing songs at a very young age.  He is half-Maltese but was born in Scotland.  He moved to Malta when he was a baby and grew up here until the age of 25.  His interest is not just in music, he also loves food and is very much involved in the organic, raw, vegan food scene in the UK. He now heads sales for a very exciting company called InSpiral! So he has less time to dedicate to his music, but he loves it, it’s his other hat!

RAMONA PORTELLI spoke to Fraser during his recording and writing phase.

“I remember writing songs which my brother and I would then sing when we went fishing in Gozo.  I was 4 and he was 6. My father bought me my first Casio keyboard when I was 9 years old, and it really went on from there. I found the guitar was such a wonderful instrument , so I  taught myself how to play.

At around 14, my friend Ian and myself formed a band called The Beangrowers. Things were great with that band, you could really feel there was something exciting happening at the time as we had all sorts of instruments in the band that no one (at the time) was using – like flute, violin.

I will never forget when we played Live Buzz at the Junior Lyceum and ended up third in the competition which was surrounded by heavy metal bands. Things were going well, but I was very young – we all were, and it all got a bit too serious for me at one point and I was simply not ready for it so I quit.  I didn’t quit music altogether though, I went solo when I was 18 and I carried on writing and performing the odd solo gig.”

Fraser continues by describing his move to London and the effect it had on his music carrier.

“At 25, I moved to London and  I soon recorded my first EP called No Ordinary Eyes in a small studio in West Hampstead can “Big Fucking Digital” (which features some wonderful musicians such as Naamleela Free Jones, Aura Bakker, and flamenco guitarist, Clark Berger.

I played in a lot of gigs all over London, either as a solo artist or with one other musician. London is such a monster of a city – it’s vast and endless.  It’s wonderful.

Through these gigs, I met and played alongside many wonderful musicians such as Michael Kiwanuka, Tom Odell, British Sea Power, Fenech Soler, and many more. In my late 20’s, I met up with David Vella (who I had met when I was still in the Beanies) and showed him my new songs.  We ended up recording my first debut album called A Garden At The Top Of The Tree.

This was a great experience and it also led me to find a band of musicians to support me – the sound David and myself had created was much fuller and sounded more like a band than a solo artist, and so Fraser, the band was created.

I soon found a bunch of talented young guys in London and we started playing right around the country.  We did radio shows and small festivals. We also played alongside bands such as 10cc, Ultravox, Tom Robinson and of course, the SAS band (which was started by Queen’s keyboard player, Spike Edney).

The album had very little support, zero marketing budget and only one single release called Lay It On The Line.  I made the mistake of signing with a small Indie label that didn’t really support me or my music. Despite this, we received radio play in the UK by Steve Lemacq, Jim Gellatly, Tom Robison. In the US, we got playlisted alongside 20 big bands such as The Kooks, Macy Gray and many others on the Hollister Summer Playlist which plays the song on rotation in all of their stores all over America and the world.  From that, the single started getting a bit of a buzz going and many requests.  We then quickly shot a video for it which was directed by Duncan Bone.”

Fraser then described the last phase of the Fraser band which by then included Maltese artists Michael Lavarone and Daniel Muscat..  As a band, they continued to write and play gigs in London and they also played in some amazing festivals.

“I am currently working on a third follow-up album, A Garden At the Top of The Tree with David Vella which will hopefully be released early 2015 “ said FRASER GREGORY in his interview with RAMONA PORTELLI..

What was the best advice you have ever given?

General advice…hmmm I quite like “when you can’t decide, don’t decide”, about music – I would say, make sure you really love it if you are going to try and do it for a living, and always have a second option.

What’s a hobby you spend money on?

I love eating out, yoga.  I also love guitars (of course) and have a small collection now.

Are you a good cook? If yes, what is it that you cook really well?

I’m half-Maltese of course! :) Simple food like pasta with chilli and scallops.. yum :)

What do you think is your best asset, and why?

I don’t give up easily :) and my sense of humour.

What was your biggest failure to date?

I don’t like or use the word failure really.  I have always learnt from everything I’ve ever done.  If you could say that the way in which I have promoted myself as an artist could have been done more effectively.  I’m really not good at selling myself in that way, in fact I have always found it very hard.

What does music mean to you?

Music is wonderful – it helps people to reconnect with themselves, although there is good true music, sacred music and also not so great music.  Classical and Indian classical music are to me the most interesting forms.