Alex Softley used to be locked into his daily commute.
It was a journey he knew well, something he did almost automatically, without thinking.
Then one morning he began to observe the people around him, and the general alienation each person was feeling.
The South London artist mused on this, and it eventually shifted into his new song, the organic pop shapes of 'People Watching'.
“I took a moment on the morning commute to look around at people's faces," he recalls. "Everyone around me had their eyes to the floor with a depressed look on their face. They all seemed unhappy about going to work and joining the rat race. And then as soon as it was their stop and the doors opened, that depressive look almost turned into anger as they tried to get off the tube as quickly as possible, pushing past others. I wondered what could be that important."
"At the end of the day, I had a quick glance at the people around me, and it was a similar scenario but this time more focused around their mobile phone, trying to get that hit of dopamine to make themselves feel good. I realised that I was also guilty of everything I'd seen to some extent and that's the effect that a big city can have on us all, without even realising it."
The single digs a little bit deeper, looking at the internal and external pressures that keep driving us relentlessly forward on that treadmill.
He finishes: "It focuses on what busy London and stressful jobs can do to people's mental health and I think more needs to be done to support people. Part of the inspiration for the song without realising it at the time was from that famous interview with Simon Sinek on millennials at work. I'd watched that video prior to writing the song."
Tune in now.
Alex Softley will play the the quarterfinals of the Isle Of Wight New Blood competition at the Underbelly in Hoxton on February 14th.
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