At 19-years old, Connecticut-based singer-songwriter Alec Chambers is collaborating with some impressive names: Lee groves (Black Eyed Peas), Jon Siebels (Eve 6), and Robbie Guariglia (Oh Honey), to name a few; not to mention he’s working under the mentorship of manager Sarah Nagourney, a force in her own right in the music world.
All that is pretty cool, but to be honest, it’s the raw energy from Chambers himself that really hypnotizes on his EP “Whole Again,” which debuted earlier this year to ample critical buzz predicting imminent stardom. Chambers’ deep-rooted love for all instruments and genres manifests itself in compositions with a depth and breadth that seem far beyond his years, without sacrificing that irresistible pop-rock hook.
BTR caught up with Chambers to talk about co-writing alongside music legends, learning to play piano on YouTube, and his biggest influence.
BreakThru Radio (BTR): You taught yourself to play instruments via YouTube, what was that like?
Alec Chambers (AC): I did, but the whole reason that I even wanted to start playing in the first place is because of my dad, I was thirteen when he taught me a few chords on guitar. He’s been playing his entire life, since he was my age, and was in a lot of bands that used to tour around the U.S., and he was the one that got me to the place where I wanted to do music as a full time thing. From there, I went onto YouTube and learned how to get better on the guitar, and then also that’s where I learned piano.
BTR: That’s very self-starter of you, did you find it was hard to learn like that?
AC: I think I picked it up super naturally because I’d been listening to all different kinds of music my whole life: rock, pop, rap. I mean, I would have to lock myself in my room and practice for a few hours, but I would eventually get the hang of it. I feel like it’s in my family, and it was enjoyable because I could appreciate it, since I originally learned from my dad. Also, I thought learning on my own was easier than taking lessons, because you can learn whatever songs you want. You have more creative license–by learning on my own I was able to make my own style and sound.
BTR: It made it less of a chore?
AC: Yeah, exactly.
BTR: Any other major influences apart from your dad?
AC: I love a band called McFly. They were one of the first bands that I watched play live and I was like ‘this is amazing, I wanna do this.’ Another artist was Paul McCartney, because he played the bass, the guitar, the piano, sang, and wrote; he did a little of everything and that’s what I want to do. If I can learn how to play all those instruments…I’ll be unstoppable.
BTR: You’ll be the next Paul McCartney!
AC: [laughs] I don’t know about that. It sounds cheesy, but I really just want to play everything.
Photo Courtesy of Black Panda PR
BTR: You’ve done a lot of collaborations with well-known artists, did you get nervous when you worked with musicians from The Black Eyed Peas and Eve 6? What was that like?
AC: I feel like every time you go into a writing sessions or a music session, you have to just be really honest. I look at it as we’re all trying to get to the same place. We’re trying to write a great song. Obviously, it’s amazing and a blessing to work with people who have had a lot of success, but I try to look at them as people I can look up to. It’s not so much a nervous thing, but more of an excitement thing: like wow, I have the opportunity to write with someone who worked on that record. It’s a humbling experience.
BTR: Your “Whole Again” EP came out this year, tell me about the recording process?
AC: We started to record the EP in June of last year, worked four days a week, nine hours a day, and we finished the record in the beginning of August. That was really cool, to be in that environment. Robbie Guariglia is the main producer on it, and my manager Sarah Nagourney is the executive producer, and she oversaw the whole process.
BTR: What was the writing process like for “Whole Again”? Did you conceptualize the songs on an acoustic guitar ahead of time?
AC: The way our writing process works is sometimes we’d go into a room and start with nothing, or sometimes we’d have an idea or a melody ready, and then go in. It all depends on how you feel that day, or the vibe in the room. But I think it’s really cool to walk into a room, not even really knowing anyone, and walk out after having made something so emotional, with someone you just met.
BTR: The first single off the EP, also called “Whole Again,” caught my eye. Was it written for someone?
AC: No, it’s all fictional, so you can interpret it however you want to. That was written by Sarah, myself, and Jon Siebels, from the band Eve 6. I think it’s a very powerful song, with a powerful hook, which is why we put it out as the first single.
BTR: What’s on the horizon for you?
AC: Right now [we just released] a brand new single called “Do You See Me,” so people can check that out, and then I have a few shows coming up!