How One Singer Ended Up Writing a Song… in Zayn Malik’s House!
Becoming a famous and successful singer doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of auditions, meetings, interviews and practice to make it into the big leagues and once you get there, you don’t ever want to leave (well, for the most part). It’s even more difficult to make it big and then to have to start all over — but that’s exactly what Alex Marshall is trying to do. Known for doing guitar, piano and backing vocals for rock band The Cab, Alex is gearing up for a solo career.
After announcing his split from The Cab in 2014, right before the band released its new EP, Lock Me Up, Alex has been hard at work showing off what he can really do. From being Jackson Guthy‘s on-tour music director and getting Justin Timberlake‘s stamp of approval to writing a song in Zayn Malik‘s house, he is definitely setting himself up for success. We grabbed lunch with Alex and found out how he’s been able to jump into his solo career and got all the deets about his star-studded life.
Going from being part of a band of five to being on your own is no easy task, but Alex knew it was a challenge he was ready to face. He said, “There was this nervousness definitely, I had been part of the group for so long and I had never done something like this before. The first step was just getting out of the situation and figuring out on my own. It’s all about the music, but when it became just me. You don’t have that group to bounce ideas off of or work with anymore. You definitely learn a lot going solo.”
Thankfully, Alex has been playing piano since he was 5 and got serious about his music career in high school, which means he had plenty of experience and support to push him onward. “I did 6 years writing songs with others and for others. When I’m writing songs for another artist, I know exactly how I want it to sound and what I want it to look like, but when I’m writing for myself it’s definitely harder. I’m more hyper-critical, in every aspect.”
Writing music for other artists and bands is what led Alex to having one of the craziest stories we’ve ever heard. While he was doing a radio tour in the UK, he got to do something that millions of us can only dream of. “I wrote the guitar for Jackson Guthy’s song “Roll” at Zayn’s house when we were in the UK,” he revealed. “One of the guys we were with at the time was actually roommates with Zayn, so we ended up back at their house. I had this guitar part in my head, so we all played around with it and figured it out, and it went on to actually be used in a song.”
Alex is proof that hard work pays off, but he didn’t want to limit himself to just writing music for others. He worked diligently at sending out demos and getting his work out to others, and that’s when JT entered the picture. “I remember doing some songs for Justin’s people and singing duets,” he recalled. “A few days later I got a call from a European number and I was like, ‘Hello, who is this?’ They said, ‘Hey, we’re from Justin’s team and he’s touring in Europe right now. Could you be in Amsterdaam in two days?’ So I went and worked with his writing camp. I finally got the opportunity to play for Justin and he was like, ‘Alright, kid, play!’ I was super nervous, we were just watching him listen to our music. The song finished and he wanted to hear another one. During the second song, he started moving his head to the music and getting into it. He said, ‘It’s good, you’re good,’ and then just walked out.”
From then on, Alex toured with Justin for about 3 weeks and got to make incredible memories while learning the ins and outs of becoming a successful solo artist. As JT is one of the best examples of going solo after leaving a band, he was truly learning from the best. With his debut single, “Hurricane,” releasing with a killer music video, we cannot wait until his EP finally drops. You’re definitely going to want to keep your eyes out for Alex!
Like Alex, here’s a ranking of all the musicians who went from being in a group to going solo: