How did your collaboration with Enrique Iglesias on the song Heartbeat come about?
I wrote a song with Mark Taylor for Brian Rawling who runs Metrophonic Music about six months ago with for Enrique. Enrique got sent the track, he loved it but ended up not really feeling the version he cut himself. I got to LA, started from scratch, began experimenting a bit more and that's how Heartbeat came about. Since then I've flown out there two or three times to write for Enrique's album Euphoria.
How did you form Graffiti6?
I was signed to Polydor and worked with a guy called Colin Barlow and he suggested I hook up with Tommy. I'd had an album out that had done stuff in Europe and Asia but not the UK, and we thought a hook up could deliver something different. We wrote Stare Into The Sun on the first day together and really liked it but the song was so different from my other stuff it couldn't be used with it. We decided to carry on writing songs and Graffit6 was born from that, without a label as Colin had moved to Geffen by then. A year and a half later we've got a sold out tour of Holland, done well in Scandanavia and got our music on the TV show Grey's Anatomy in America.
Who are your songwriting influences?
Growing up I listened to a lot of folk music: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and a lot of soul music - Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield - my Dad is a big soul fan. I try and incorporate something of the old stuff into my pop writing, for example, when I started writing Heartbeat with Enrique I felt it had a bit of a Fleetwood Mac vibe. I also admire Linda Perry and Diane Warren - they've got it nailed.
Do you have a typical method of writing a song?
Not really, I always have an instrument around, then I write a melody and then the lyrics come. When you write for other people it's challenging because you have to keep it universal in feel, but writing for yourself is so much more indulgent as you can go off on a tangent and no one can argue with it.
What has been your best live gig experience?
We went to play Lowlands Festival after a sold out tour and we were being hammered on radio out there. Our encore was Stare Into The Sun and we had four or five thousand people jumping up and down, it was incredible. That's the best gig so far.
Which song do you wish you had written?
There's a song called Bob Dylan called Mama, You've Been On My Mind, it's the beauty of the sentiment - with a lot of love songs there's something you want from a person but this one's basically saying to someone 'Whether I'm in love with you, you're still the most amazing person and I want you to know this.' I've done a cover for my next album because I thought 'I can't write this'. It's the ultimate love song.
Is there a theme to your latest collection of songs?
The album I did before meeting up with Tommy was was all about breaking up with this girl and that really affected me. On this album, Colours, there's only two tracks that continue on from that, there's a track called Free, which is saying 'you might have to set me free' and Over You, which speaks for itself. Colours is much more of an upbeat album and is a lot about how amazing a moment can be when you first meet someone.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming songwriters?
It's hard to get your songs heard but stick with it, if you write good enough songs someone who is in the right position to push them will hear them before long. There are so many good songs written by lots of talented people, but how many do you hear on the radio? Not many. It's all about knowing the right people which comes from persistence. Don't give up.
What's next for Graffiti6?
We've got a tour of Holland then we're off to New York - Grey's Anatomy have been using our music so we're going out there to do a few showcases including Rockwood Music Hall. After that we are going onto Copenhagen, Stockholm, Belgium, followed by a gig in Brighton and then getting fat for Christmas!
Can you tell us five things on your ipod?
Everything Everything, The Best Of Free, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Amy Winehouse's first album, Frank - I used to tour with Amy when that came out and I forgot how good it was.
Watch our video of Graffiti6 performing Over You.