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Alex Berger & Sam Forrest - 10 July 2010

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Alex Berger - (with a soft 'G'')

Inspiration comes to artists in various forms, and for Alex Berger, a London native who came to New York City in 2004 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, it is some of the simplest things in life that have moved him to create some of his most illustrious compositions. Along the journey that began with a piano lesson at age 3, grew with writing around age 14, and was abandoned briefly to purse acting when first coming to NYC, Berger experienced both the disenchantment of the record label world, the dry spell of writer’s block, the actor versus the musician, and the alternating push and pull from London to New York, before overcoming it all to produce a long-awaited album and explore the world as a captivating and heartfelt singer-songwriter and musician.

During Berger’s time off from writing, he saturated his ears with voices like Tom Waits, Ani DiFranco, Randy Newman, and ambeR Rubarth, to name a few. Between admiring the talent these songwriters possessed and simultaneously being approached regarding his abandonment of music, Alex was guided to a place of accepting his life as an artist, early in 2008. He credits a quotation by Martha Graham, read at his AADA graduation, for summing up the reason he turned back to music, a quote that begins: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and as there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost…”

By this time Berger had some love and life experience under his belt and was ready to approach songwriting with fresh and exciting gusto. Friendship blossomed through a chance meeting with ambeR Rubarth at a show in 2004, which led to writing and recording sessions, and the eventual pairing with Alex Wong who would go on to produce his first full-length debut album, “Snowglobe.”

“Once I decided that this was what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life, I decided that this first record should be totally honest and auto-biographical. Sort of like a personal statement as to who I am right now,” Berger explains. “That was really one of the only 'rules' I set when putting this collection of music together.“

In addition to the exciting, long awaited release of the eight track record, which pieces together Alex’s soul and gives love and hope to listeners, Berger has also cultivated some incredibly fulfilling New York City artist achievements. He was the co-founder behind the 'New York Sings for Haiti' benefit at City Winery; an evening that brought together approximately twenty indie artists for a performance that raised $25,000 for the relief effort. Additionally, Berger recently participated in a songwriter’s retreat in upstate NY with ambeR Rubarth, Adam Levy, Vienna Teng, Joey Ryan, Jay Nash and Sara Jean Kelley.

Up next for this soulful, savvy, and genuine songwriter, who practices transcendental meditation, cites his older sister as inspiration, loves food, football (soccer), and nature’s beautiful landscapes in Vancouver, includes a UK/Europe tour, a US tour, a second album, a record release from the songwriters retreat, and a contract for a score for a major independent feature film- just a few things to check off the “To Do” list. Dripping with life force, an understanding of human nature, and a passion for the arts that has grown with him as he’s traveled through life, Alex Berger is bound to be a staple in the singer-songwriter community for years to come. His understanding of love and the human condition seeps steadily through his lyrics and compositions, and his relatable nature puts those that surround him at instant ease, sparking smiles, hope, and the realization of a dream.

Christina Morelli, NYC Art Scene

Sam Forrest: From the explosive sludge rock of his band Nine Black Alps to the evocative hushed vocals and string sections that form his brand new solo album 'Paper Crown', Sam Forrest is someone unafraid to explore new sonic terrain.

Whether it be recording two critically acclaimed albums with the singer-songwriter Hayley Hutchinson under the name The Sorry Kisses, or writing original music for the Oscar nominated film 'Surf's Up', Sam has come to make a name for himself by developing his talents as a versatile songwriter and as a musician with a tireless work ethic.

Having recently relocated to his birthplace of rural North Yorkshire, Sam set up a home studio in an empty outbuilding and set about recording his most ambitious work to date.

At over one hour long, hosting no less than seventeen tracks, 'Paper Crown' offers a meditative reflection upon the remote countryside of Sam's native North Yorkshire. With intimate vocals, delicate violins and intricate fingerpicking the album sounds a world away from the overly processed music of today and instead follows the lyrical path of an individual's soul journey from an idyllic rural community to the harrowing industrial age.

''Paper Crown' will be released on 28th December 2009 on Desert Mine Music.