For many artists, a showcase on the venerable British music show Later... with Jools Holland is a very big deal. The BBC show, now in its 20th year, schedules emerging acts alongside established artists and provides a sizable platform for up-and-comers to reach new audiences.
So when Al Spx, otherwise known by her performing name Cold Specks, received an unexpected call to play the show, she was understandably excited. The invite came before she was signed to a label, and just after her first piece of music was released: a 7" single for "Holland," which would later appear on her 2012 Polaris Prize shortlisted album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion.
However, the gig – which, in hindsight, helped to launch her career – almost didn't happen.
I spoke to Spx when she was in Vancouver this spring, and she explained how the trip to the U.K. ended up being a very expensive one, and how she got to rub shoulders with My Morning Jacket, Florence + the Machine and Mary J. Blige's bodyguard.
PLAYClick on the play button to the left to hear Spx's story.
How I Write: Cold Specks
Follow our complete Polaris 2012 coverage
Listen to songs by Cold Specks on her CBC Music artist page
Cold Specks has the best song on CBC Radio 3
Cold Specks live in Studio Q
on Jul 30, 2012