If it’s not a song I’ve written, I have to feel it. So to sign a deal where I don’t have that choice is not something I can do.
What prompted your move to the U.S. at the dawn of the '90s?
I was a little bit jaded and I needed a break. I came here on holiday and just said, “That’s it. I love New York.” I’d been coming backwards and forwards since I was 13, because of my stepfather.
I wanted to begin a new life and figure out what I wanted to do. I wanted a fresh start to put everything else behind me.
Your new album, Bounce Back, was originally titled A Haywoode Return? Wasn't it about five years in the making? What made this the right time to bounce back?
I used to read about that “Haywoode Return” and think, “What is that?” I have no idea. It’s actually only been a couple of years that I’ve been working on Bounce Back,. People write those things about you on the Internet. I had people close to me start really encouraging me to do music again. I remember going to see Corrine Bailey Rae’s first show here in New York. I don’t know why, but I left there feeling really sad that I wasn’t doing any music. We don’t do the same music, but I resonated with her. I grew up in Leeds. So, that was when I first started waking up.
Then, I met producer Peter Wilson from Australia. I started recording with him. Just prior to that, I had started my own company, Wonderlick Productions, with Marco Allegrini. I started doing a lot of writing. That’s how Bounce Back was born. Then, Peter introduced me to Matt Pop in Holland, along with !!Nsane here and a producer in Italy named David Mazzoni. It was all very fun and very transatlantic. I’d do a verse here, and send files to Italy, then back and forth to Australia or Amsterdam, and put it together. It was really joyful to make. I felt it would be a great stepping stone and a reintroduction back into the business.
I was going to put it out with an independent label, and that didn’t end up working out. I had a single release of “Getting Closer” with Energise; but you know how business stuff is. So I had to untangle all that; and that’s why it actually took the time it did.