Alex Clare‘s career was at a standstill until a few months ago when Microsoft decided to use his song in their Internet Explorer 9 commercial.

The hitmaker behind dub-soul fusion “Too Close,” chatted with KROQ/Los Angeles while driving to a recording session to lay down some vocals and filled us in on his rising popularity, modern technology and being Shazam’d.

Despite having to turn down an opening slot on Adele‘s fall tour and being dropped by his label, Clare saw instant success when having his song profusely Shazam’d after it was used in Microsoft’s ad.

Shazam’s purpose is to help a curious listener look up a song they love, but have trouble placing or have never heard before. For Clare, this is exactly what happened to his song “Too Close.”

“It’s amazing. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Shazam,” Clare said. “Them and Microsoft. Both of them have done me a very good turn.”

Clare thinks the modern technological phenomenon of musical discovery is helpful to musicians, especially after he was “well out of the record label when ‘Too Close’ became a big hit.”

“Nowadays, you have to do as much as you can to promote your music and the more various types of media you have,” Clare said. “Before you just had radio but now you can expose yourself on totally different grounds. It’s great.”

The British singer-songwriter’s most poignant musical moment was a definite byproduct of his success via technology. Once his song gained online traction, “Too Close” garnered radio spins and subsequently international recognition.

Grateful for his success, Clare reflected back on some of his career highlights, citing the Microsoft exposure as a “weird moment that was surreal.”

“I think that biggest one happened, literally, a couple of months ago,” Clare said. “Suddenly the single was on the iTunes chart for America. The single just kind of rocketed up.”

Despite having worked with producers Diplo and Switch, Clare had struggled in the past to get his music recognized.

“I’d been nowhere to being on the top 10 on the pop charts. And then I was flying into Germany and my single went straight to number one,” he said. “I had this really weird experience in Berlin of being told, ‘Your record is the number one record in the country.'”

– Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles


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