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Howard Eliott Payne

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Liverpool-born but spending his teens in tough New York neighbourhoods and suddenly discovering Velvet Underground. "The effect of hearing that sound ... it shook a part of me that had been asleep", he says, "In an instant I was desperate to have a guitar and play music".

Learning songs from Washington Square Park buskers, sneaking in to Greenwich Village clubs and finally hitchhiking around the East Coast, Howard returned to his native Liverpool, formed The Stands in 2003 and had a succession of Top 40 singles with When This River Rolls Over You, I Need You, Here She Comes Again and Do It Like You Like. But frustration followed and, quitting, he returned to the USA to team with producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon, Ray Lamontagne) to record debut solo album Bright Light Ballads with contributions from sister Candie and brother Sean Payne from The Zutons. If you're in to Ryan Adams or maybe the unique melting pot of Liverpool melody, New York groove, hip city swagger and wide sigh soul, this wonderful singer-songwriter is for you.

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