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Albert Man balances personal stories and social insights

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Whether he’s sharing personal stories or piercing social commentary, singer-songwriter Albert Man is an insightful artist to watch. His new album ‘Cheap Suit’ follows up an well-received debut EP and is still available for a few days at his current PledgeMusic campaign. Read on for more on this emerging talent and pick up several limited-edition t-shirts along with the new album (even on signed vinyl).

You’re ready to release your new album, ‘Cheap Suit,’ and it comes on the heels of your EP. What’s the difference in emotion or anticipation before the releases of each?

The EP was my first launch and I was still relatively new on the music scene at that point. It was an exciting launch which was held at the Troubadour in Earl’s Court. It was really just the starting point for me though, and I almost immediately started working on this album ‘Cheap Suit.’ Some of the songs on the new album predate the EP songs, so this album really is an accumulation of work I’ve done over the last couple of years.

The thing I’m most excited about regarding the new album is that it’s being released on 12" vinyl which look amazing. I’m not having an official launch party for the album because I wanted to share the night with other artists so am organising a special gig with a lot of great talent on May 26th at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney. I’m getting very excited about sharing the album with everyone and have already released the single “Heartbeats.”

The EP was just the beginning for me, the album is something that I enjoyed making and am very happy with. I’m always moving on to the next thing so already getting excited about new songs which are happening.

If some of the tracks pre-date the EP on the new album, when you look at the newest songs you’ve written, do you feel like you can see growth as a songwriter?

Absolutely. I’m always convinced the latest song I’m working on is my best yet, even though sometimes it probably isn’t. I just get excited when a new song comes together like most songwriters do, I guess. I’ve definitely improved as a songwriter in the last year or so I’d say. I really do spend a lot of time on the lyrics and think they’re really important in making a great song. I’m also trying to write songs that people can connect with emotionally a lot more now. My aim is to collaborate more which can only improve things further as you get to learn from others, their experiences and their ways of working.

Despite pulling the songs from a longer span of time, do you see any themes woven within them on the new album?

Two strong themes focus on the flaws in our society and relationships. There are songs that comment on social issues in our society such as the greed of bankers in “Don’t Be That Guy”, our binge drinking culture in “Not Yet Just One More”, homelessness and living with addiction in “Cheap Suit” and “Angel With A Dirty Face”, how we don’t engage on a human level as much with each other anymore in “Skimming Stones”, and socialites and their desire to use and target the rich for their own personal gain in “What’s Your Name?”

Dotted in between these social commentaries are stories about personal relationships: “The Dream Team” about a relationship that once was, “Heartbeats” about the end of a relationship due to death and the sadness that comes with it having to end, “I Think I Probably Really Like You” about the desire to find the one girl who came and went in an instant, “Hold On To Your Love” about a strong relationship and the desire to keep it and “Meeting Your Mama” which is humorous take on how the mother in law is more of a liability than the song’s hell-raising protagonist.

You said you were most excited to have the album out on vinyl. Are you big vinyl fan yourself? What makes this such a highlight for you personally?

I’ve only recently got into buying records on vinyl. I don’t have a huge collection but do find it exciting looking through some second hand records in a box and taking a punt on something you’re not sure about rather than clicking links on Spotify. I love having my record as a physical format. The artwork on the record was done by this amazing artist called Patryk Hardziej based in Poland and it’s great to see this on a large 12" format. I’ll probably end up framing one of them!

I think having it as a 12" vinyl just gives the record a different dimension. I think more and more people are feeling the desire to own something physical again. It does sound different from the digital version, and the good thing about buying the vinyl is that you get a free download of the album too, so it’s the best of both worlds.

Where did PledgeMusic enter the picture for releasing the album?

I’d hired a recording studio and got the vocals, piano, drums and bass recorded and then realised that I would need some more funds to pay for everything else. Being part of the music scene in London, a lot of musician friends are using PledgeMusic to fund their albums or music releases. I hadn’t done a crowdfunding campaign before so felt like this was the right time for me. The pros for me in using PledgeMusic was that is was a dedicated music platform. It was a great way of not only raising funds, but also a great way of promoting the album and creating a place where people could go and pre-order it.

Can you tell us more of the details on the release night gig at Paper Dress Vintage? Who else is playing?

I’ve always loved Paper Dress Vintage as a venue. The owner Steve is really nice and he works hard to put on great nights there. I’m playing solo on the night however I hope to be playing a song with a very popular yet-to-be-announced YouTube creator. We have a London-based pop-rocker called Kody who’s just released an EP ‘Letting Go’ and will be playing as a huge seven-piece band on the night. We also have Joe Garvey, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Kingston and Calista Kazuko who plays dark, alternative pop. You can find out more about the night here.

Do you have a timeline in mind? And what else is on the horizon for you in 2016?

Yes, the album is being released on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and a few others on the 23rd May. I’ll also be selling the album on CD and 12" Vinyl via my website. I’m already writing new songs and hope to do a lot more collaborations for the rest of the year. Any new upcoming songs, I’ll probably release as singles so that I can get them out there quicker.

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