WHEN things are not quite going your way, it can be such a huge pick-me-up to have one of Scotland’s most bankable musical acts rock up and tell you to have faith in yourself.

Kieran Fisher was on his way to see an old friend perform in Glasgow, armed with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and some hazy memories. He had not long released his debut album Pay for the Privilege – a self-funded effort which gives listeners an insight into his style. The Clacks singer has been playing shows across the country for the better part of a decade now. And if there was any lingering self-doubt about his ability, they were likely extinguished as his friend Gerry Cinnamon bestowed a few words of wisdom in his ear.

Fisher and he had struck up a rapport while both were gigging around the Glasgow music scene. And seeing just how far his friend has gone in the last few years, is more than enough motivation for the Alloa man to pursue his own goals. Of course, it never hurts to have a performer such as he onside.

Fisher says: “I’ve known Gerry for a while, since before it kicked off for him. We spent a lot of time hanging out and playing gigs in Glasgow. He’s a good mate and is always someone that gives me a shout. Me and my missus were going to see him at the Barrowlands Ballroom, so he sorted us with some backstage passes. I brought him a bottle of whisky because we used to always drink Jack Daniel’s together.

“There was a lot of people around him. I just sat down and let everybody do their interviews and so on. But he came over and spoke to me. He told me: ‘Kieran, your songs are great, you just keep plugging away…If you keep true to yourself, it’ll happen for you’. It’s great to have those words of wisdom from someone who is doing it now. He’s one of the greatest live solo acts out just now – he’s phenomenal.”

I can’t wait to take it to audiences now and to play it all live."

Over the past few years, Fisher has been able to land huge support act slots, opening for Cast, The View and, most recently, The Snuts. Impressive by any metric, but perhaps more notable considering he had done so as a solo artist – just one man and his guitar. And with a renewed faith in his work, and the recruitment of a full band, the singer is aiming to change things up in a big way in 2020.

Making the step from solo performer to leading a band will present its own challenges, but the Clacks man is determined, if not eager, for people to feel the full strength of his work. His debut album was stripped down and minimalistic, but he insists the songs will happily cope with the added instrumentation.

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He says: “I’ve played solo for about 10 years and gigged it to death, I’ve played everywhere you can think of. But it’s time to take it to another level… I played PJ Molloy’s last week; the place was bouncing, but it was just me and my guitar. The whole time I’m playing the gig, I’m thinking: ‘If I had a band playing, it would go off’. No doubt about it.

“Full band will take the songs where they need to be – the songs have always been raw and they make you want to move. Having the band playing songs from the first album will definitely get the blood flowing. 

“After putting the band together, and jamming last week, it just felt good to be back. It felt good to be playing along with drums, like something had been missing. There was a bit of a void there and I feel like it’s now being filled. I can’t wait to take it to audiences now and to play it all live. And I’ve got around 15 songs sitting there already for to do a new album.”

Fisher exudes sheer passion for the discipline – a deep-rooted commitment to authenticity which fuels his ambitions. He looks ahead with some optimism, but he remains grateful for what music has given him already.

“I play music because of the way it makes me feel,” the singer says. “My lifestyle has totally changed since I started. It chilled me out and kept me out of trouble. It’s a spiritual thing; it’s a way to get away from all the modern-day stresses. And it’s organic too – I’ve never taken a songwriting course, I can’t read music, but if you show me how to play something then I can play it. And if I’m not playing, then I’m thinking about it. I’m always brainstorming.”

I know when it drops, it’s going to bang. I’m a tough critic, so if it’s getting me excited, it must be half-decent.”

At his core, he is a storyteller who finds inspiration from the surroundings he shares with everyone else. Whether it is the feeling of “saying something you shouldn’t have when you’re drunk” or just singing about a night out, he holds a mirror up to many and their everyday lives. There is often some deeper meaning, but he delights himself when someone “gets it” – or, when they really don’t.

He adds: “The comments I usually get about my music is how relatable the songs are. Everyone knows the types of people, or types of situations, I am talking about. I like people to take their own view on what a song is about. And it’s funny because people come up and say this song is about this, and it’s totally different from what it was actually written about. I let them have their opinion, because I find that so interesting. 

“A lot of the songs I write are made-up stories. I remember when I was young, when I was going to bed my gran used to make up make-believe stories on the spot – so thinking back to that, it must have had an impact on my songwriting.”

Fisher hopes to release his latest single When it all Falls into Place by the end of the year, though he admits it may have to wait until 2020. The track was recorded this year at the Magic Box Studio in Dundee and he feels it bears all the hallmarks of a Kieran Fisher song. He beams with pride at the prospect of its release, and has complete confidence that people will get on board.

He says: “I’m excited about it – it’s taken it all up a notch. Everyone that I have let hear the song have been blown away by it. It’s got a few catchy lyrics that I feel people will, once again, be able to relate to…It’s just a right good poppy song. I know when it drops, it’s going to bang. I’m a tough critic, so if it’s getting me excited, it must be half-decent.”

  • Catch Kieran Fisher at this year’s EH6 Festival in Edinburgh on Saturday, November 30