ALEX HACKETT - THE HOST OF STICKY RICE
Back in 2011, in the depths of a bedroom, a thirteen-year-old boy was buying his first license to Cubase, a digital audio workstation that allowed him to make music from his laptop. With only a few hours of experience on the program from his music class in school and a hand-me-down pair of apple headphones, this was the start of Alex's love affair with music. "I remember making an album at thirteen/fourteen... I think I used the same chord progression for half the songs... I felt like a pop star... until I released it, then I got teased daily in school. It's a great memory to look back on though!" Alex continued making music for fun over the next couple of years but didn't get his initial breakthrough until he was sixteen.
Starting out as a topliner, which is where the producer will send a finished instrumental track and leave the vocalist to write and sing 'on top' of the music, Alex contacted a French dance producer on Soundcloud asking if he could record some vocals. A month or so later "One More Step" was released - Alex's first collaboration. With the success of his first release, it wasn't long before Alex was inundated with messages asking him to do more topline work. One evening, in the month of March, Alex wrote the beautiful "Give Me", a song that would take him on an eighteen-month legal journey and would eventually win him more than £15,000 in compensation. Despite still not being credited in the title of the song, it sits on well over 18 million streams.
After finishing school in 2016, Alex moved away to university, studying Sound technology at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Despite the degree being solely focused on the engineering side of live music, Alex didn't let that hold him back and acquired a ruthless manager from the record label 'Future House Music’. With Alex now being a more established artist and topliner, it allowed his manager to push for bigger projects and collaborations. Alex continued to release more toplines, the pick of the bunch being "Different Place" with STVCKS and Dim Wilder which eclipsed over 4million streams.
To add to this, what started as some fun in School, Alex and two other friends formed the band "Tanjent", a dance-pop trio. After frequent performances in School and the odd gig around Sheffield, whilst at university Alex decided to push the group in a professional manner - sending not only his own demo's to his manager but also Tanjent's. Optimistic, but unsure how the industry would accept the new concept, the band released their debut single "Wild Eyes" in February 2018. The song was an instant success, charting in more than twenty different countries and getting radio play from all over the world. Taking a break from his own career, Alex pushed the band forwards. Within a year the band had gained well over 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify from multiple releases, including a solo EP, and working with the famous Swedish producer 'Hogland', the subsequent track being the band's first major-label release - the song having well over 6 million streams.
From both the success of Tanjent and his own topline work, Alex got invited to attend a prestigious writing camp based out in Nashville. In the midst of his final year of university, Alex spent the best part of two months working alongside some of the finest songwriters. "I was a little overwhelmed at first but everyone was so nice and I settled in straight away. We wrote a couple of country songs over a few days...which honestly we're just amazing to be a part of...and one of the writers (now my good friend) said he'd send them on to 'Dan & Shay' as soon as he was home. I never thought starting out in my bedroom it would come to this...it's just amazing." Alex returned to Nashville multiple times to write and nearly got stuck out in the US when the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
Thankfully getting back from the US uninfected Alex spent the lockdowns perfecting his songwriting; setting himself the challenge to write twelve albums in twelve months which equated to 120 songs. Starting up a YouTube channel to have a platform to post the songs, Alex vlogged himself when creating and writing the songs, before releasing the audio to the tracks the following day. The challenge ran from May 2020 to April 2021 and Alex completed the challenge, releasing all 120 songs. Despite not being with his manager anymore, Alex still found time to release multiple toplines during the pandemic, adding to his already strong collection.
Now, post-pandemic and a decade on since Alex started writing and making music, he's adding the finishing touches to his own solo EP and out playing live music weekly. The majority of the songs on his EP come from his lockdown challenge. The body of work is set to be released in February or March 2022, with a small tour to follow. In 2021, Alex also co-founded an online platform ‘Sticky Rice’, which has the sole aim of giving hard-working, emerging artists exposure, sharing music videos and merchandise - providing artists with a place to make money and gain exposure.
CLIPS FROM STICKY RICE