Born in Cranhill, a tough part of Glasgow, some of Alex's earliest musical influences were from his mother's love of country music artists such as Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash. He was also strongly influenced by Glasgow bands such as Travis and Del Amitri. Alex first learned to play guitar when he was 13 years old and his love of music and performance was further developed whilst as a student going to music venues in the city centre.
After working as an engineer he later qualified as a teacher and moved to London to follow his dream and develop his musical career. His passion for this drove him to sing in music clubs such as The Borderline and The Spitz in the evening and busk on the London Underground. A chance meeting with Brian Wilson collaborator and Joan Jett guitarist, Lou Natkin led to Alex travelling to the US, playing in bars in Nashville and LA and later meeting with Lou to make a demo. This resulted in signing to independent label Forge Records to record his debut album 'Beautiful Lies’.
The album gained critical acclaim and the single 'Make A Wave' was a favourite on the BBC Radio 2 playlist, played regularly by Terry Wogan, Jeremy Vine and Steve Wright, who dubbed him “the man with the pork pie hat”. He later performed a “stunning session” on the Janice Long show. The single also received significant play-listing on all major Scottish and Irish radio stations including both Clyde and RTE 1 and 2, and throughout the UK on the regional BBC. A nationwide tour supporting Katie Melua followed, playing to 60,000 people across the UK and Ireland, resulting in significant album sales.
Around this time Alex took a break from music, met his future wife, went back to college to complete a masters degree, and then taking a day job as a senior manager for one of the world's largest banks. Bizarrely enough the initial inspiration for a new album came when he was asked to perform on a cruise ship whilst on holiday, spurred on by the reaction he got from people.
The album was mainly written and recorded throughout 2020/21 during 'lockdown', whilst living in his country cottage in Kent, largely reliant on online collaborations between musicians in England and the U.S. via Scotland. There were also some proper studio sessions, including recordings of the lush string sections that feature throughout. Many of the tracks were co-produced with Graham Noon, long term collaborator with hit songwriter David Martin and currently a member of Tim Vine's 'Plastic Elvis' band. Nashville guitarist Austin Moorhead (Jana Kramer, Carly Pierce) also co-produced a number of songs. The album was mixed by Ian Grimble (Bear's Den, Travis, Daughter) and mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, Nashville.
From busker to banker to rediscovering his musical soul, the new album from Alex McEwan, ‘In a World We Don’t Know’ is due for release in 2023.