The Rock City archives: 2014

Example , Rock City Main Hall

  • Friday 7th November 2014
  • Supported by: Feed Me, Delta Heavy


Elliot John Gleave (born 20 June 1982), better known by his stage name Example, is an English singer, songwriter and rapper signed to Epic Records and Sony Music. His name arose due to his initials being E.G., which is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase exempli gratia ("for example").

Example first found success with the release of his second studio album, Won't Go Quietly, which peaked at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and peaked at number 1 on the UK Dance Chart. and followed his debut album "What We Made" which was heavily hip-hop influenced due to Gleave only knowing a hip-hop record producer at the time. The album had two top 10 singles, "Won't Go Quietly" and "Kickstarts". His third album Playing in the Shadows was released on 4 September 2011. The album topped the charts with two number 1 singles, "Changed the Way You Kiss Me" (produced by Michael Woods) and "Stay Awake" (produced by electronic duo Nero). His fourth album, The Evolution of Man was released on 19 November 2012 and peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and also peaked at number 1 on the UK Dance Chart.

Since The Evolution of Man, Gleave has released the lead single from his next album, entitled "All the Wrong Places" which was produced by Alfie Bamford and co-produced by Gleave and Steve Hill. It was the first song to be released through Epic Records and did so on 8 September 2013 peaking at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. Then, "Kids Again", was released on 16 March 2014 and hit number 13 in the UK Single's charts. The fifth album, Live Life Living, was released on 7 July 2014.

Speaking in an interview for Australian television in 2013 Gleave referenced that he "might do music for another 5 years and then [he] would like to move into film directing" (preferably horror/thrillers).

Early life

Elliot Gleave was born at West London Hospital in Hammersmith, the elder of two children, and attended All Saints C of E Primary School in Fulham. He later went on to attend ADT College (now Ashcroft Technology Academy) in Putney. Gleave has claimed in interviews that the main reason he started rapping was due to his introduction to hip-hop through albums by Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg – the latter's album purchased primarily for "the cool cover art", and to the fact that he was not particularly good at any sports, so started rapping to fit in socially. His first experience of rapping was through a rap battle at a house party in Shepherd's Bush in 1994, when he was 12 years old. In that battle, he, in his own words, "completely destroyed a useless wanker and a fight broke out so (he) sprinted home".

During a Google+ hangout, he revealed that the scar on his forehead is where he had a tumour removed as a child. As a child, Gleave was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. He stated that he disliked fiction books, preferring to read about nature and history. He also stated that he had a photographic memory and excelled at numeric equations. Throughout his adult years, Gleave had been undergoing counselling sessions to help deal with the pressures of fame and his past drug use.[10]

In 2000, Elliot attended Royal Holloway, University of London to study film directing. While at university, he started garage MCing to make some money. It was during this period that he met Joseph Gardner, AKA Rusher, the producer whom he would go on to work with during his time releasing tracks independently through his All The Chats imprint, and later on Mike Skinner's label The Beats. Gleave and Gardner made a concept album in the audio booth of the University film department; this concept album contained the track which would go on to be Example's first white-label vinyl release, "A Pointless Song."

Following graduation in 2003, Gleave worked in Australia for a year in the props departments of films such as Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He returned to the UK and became a voiceover artist and editor for the Paramount Comedy Channel (now Comedy Central),[11] also working as an editor at MTV Networks.


2004-08: Record deal and What We Made

After releasing three singles through his own label "All The Chats", including the original 7" version of "I Don't Want To" in January 2006, Example received attention from Pete Tong, Zane Lowe and others at Radio 1. Example also caught the attention of people at four record labels – perhaps most significantly Mike Skinner (of The Streets), owner of The Beats label.

After signing a deal in April 2006 with The Beats, Example put out a response to Lily Allen's No.1 hit "Smile" entitled "Vile" and received Radio 1 airplay from Zane Lowe, Jo Whiley and Chris Moyles. His first 'proper' release on The Beats was "What We Made" in November 2006, the video for which was filmed in Chernobyl, Ukraine (see below).

Example's second official Beats single entitled "You Can't Rap" was released in March 2007, followed by a re-release of "I Don't Want To" on 11 June 2007. "I Don't Want To" was followed by the single "So Many Roads" (famously sampling The Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun") which eventually turned out to be the opening track on Example's full-length studio debut. After the demise of The Beats label at the end of 2007 Example self-released his next single "Me + Mandy" on 10 March 2008 through his original imprint All The Chats. The video for "Me + Mandy" was shot over 4 days and nights in London, in over 30 locations with over 40 extras. This was done at a cost of just £1000. It was directed by Example's friend Henry Scholfield who also made the promos for "Who Needs Sunshine?", "Vile", "You Can't Rap" and "I Don't Want To".

In February 2008 Example also tried his hand at stand-up comedy as part of BBC2's The Culture Show. Mentored by English comic Richard Herring, Example spent six weeks writing and practising his own stand-up routine which culminated in his first ever stand-up show in front of 60 paying customers in a Covent Garden pub. A week later he appeared on the bill under Richard Herring, Phill Jupitus and Harry Hill at the Lyric Hammersmith – Example had performed in the same venue ten years earlier whilst a student at ADT College.

2009-2010: Won't Go Quietly

Example made his first chart appearance in September 2009, when he released "Watch the Sun Come Up" as the lead single from his second album Won't Go Quietly through Data Records. The single debuted at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart, rising to number 19 the following week.The single was followed by a release of "Won't Go Quietly", released on 18 January 2010. The single debuted at number 6 in the United Kingdom, marking Example's first appearance within the top 10. It also peaked 36 in Ireland. The announcement was then made in April 2010 that the second album Won't Go Quietly would be released on 21 June 2010 and would be preceded by the single "Kickstarts". Receiving its radio debut on 13 April by BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, the song was produced by Sub Focus. "Kickstarts" was released on 20 June, where it debuted at number 3.[13] Released the following week, the album Won't Go Quietly debuted at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart. On 12 September, Example released "Last Ones Standing" as the fourth cut from the album, where it reached a peak of number 27 in the United Kingdom and 37 in Ireland.[13][14] On 14 November 2010, he released the final single off the album "Two Lives", though it only peaked at 84 on the UK Singles Chart. On the other hand, it was able to peak at number 10 position on the UK Dance Chart.

2011-12: Playing in the Shadows

In June 2011, he released his first single from his third album, "Changed the Way You Kiss Me" where it debuted at number one in the UK. The song also charted in many European countries and Australia, where it was also certified Platinum. The second song of the album "Stay Awake", which was produced by Nero, was debuted on Friday 1 July 2011 on BBC Radio 1 by Annie Mac. It was released in August, and also debuted at number 1. His third single "Midnight Run" was released in December 2011 and reached number 30 in the UK Singles Chart.

In September 2011, his third studio album was released. Playing in the Shadows debuted at number one in the UK albums chart and also charted in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

2012-13: The Evolution of Man

Example confirmed he was to have a track he wrote for The Wanted to be featured on their debut US album, The Wanted. The song is called "Chasing The Sun". The track was released as a single in April 2012 in USA and May 2012 in the United Kingdom, featuring remixes from Hardwell and Tantrum Desire and peaking at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart, and receiving worldwide recognition.

In January 2012, Example signed a US record deal with Mercury, which is part of Universal. He is hoping to crack America on his own terms with his next album.

On 17 August 2012, the 2013 tour dates were announced. The 13-date tour started on 11 February 2013 in Bournemouth and finished at the Manchester Arena on 1 March 2013. Support comes from British dubstep producer Benga who also produced Example's album track "Come Taste the Rainbow".

The lead single "Say Nothing" was released in September 2012, debuting at number 2 in the UK charts. His second single from the album entitled "Close Enemies" was released in November 2012 and peaked to number 37 in the UK charts. The album was released on 19 November, shortly after the release of "Close Enemies". The Evolution of Man reached a peak position of 13 in the UK charts. "Perfect Replacement" was announced as the third and final single of the album; it was thought before that "Queen of Your Dreams" would be the third single, but Gleave ended up opting for "Perfect Replacement". It was released in February 2013 and peaked at number 46 in the UK charts.

A song entitled "Where Did The Sun Go?" was also expected to appear on the album or one of the deluxe versions, due to live performances, but Example confirmed on his official Twitter account that the song had been scrapped due to him and its producer Alvin Risk "not liking it" or it "not being me" (referring to himself).

2013-present: Live Life Living and Epic Records signing

On 15 April 2013, he stated on Facebook that he was in Los Angeles working on his fifth studio album. The album is due to be released in June 2014. Five album tracks were written and produced in Los Angeles with Stuart Price. The lead single from the album, titled "All the Wrong Places", was debuted at his Auckland concert in New Zealand on 24 April.

Gleave collaborated with Pet Shop Boys on their song "Thursday" from their 2013 studio album Electric, released on 15 July 2013. The song was released as a single on 4 November 2013 and reached number 61 on the UK Singles Chart. Gleave was also asked to feature on Dizzee Rascal's song "Goin' Crazy", but declined the offer and Robbie Williams took the part instead.

In July 2013, it was announced that Example had signed a record deal with the UK division of Epic Records, after leaving his previous label Ministry of Sound. His final release with Ministry of Sound was the compilation album #Hits, released on 5 August 2013.

He appeared at the 2013 Glastonbury Festival. Example announced via Twitter that tracks from his upcoming album "All the Wrong Places" and "Only Human" were played at all festival gigs in the summer. "All the Wrong Places" made its radio debut on 15 July on BBC Radio 1 with Zane Lowe and was released on 8 September. It charted at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. "Only Human" was first performed live at a pre festival warm-up show at the O2 Academy Bristol on 6 June 2013.

At festivals during the summer, Gleave also performed the album track "Take Me As I Am", produced by Critikal. It was premiered at Global Gathering 2013. Gleave also wrote Friction featuring Arlissa's single "Long Gone Memory", which was released on 10 November 2013.

His fifth studio album Live Life Living was released on 7 July 2014. He also revealed that the new album will feature no rapping, and he won't appear on any collaborations until the end of the album project. Gleave cites The Prodigy, Faithless, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers as influences for the new album, which will include elements of acid house, hardstyle, big beat and 90s rave. The album's second single, "Kids Again", premiered alongside its remixes in January 2014 and will be released on 16 March. It was produced by Gleave and Fraser T Smith, and co-produced by Critikal.

In February and March 2014, Gleave is hosting four Saturday night shows on Capital FM. Gleave also announced that throughout March 2014, he would release details including tracklist, pre-order information, album artwork and the title for his fifth album.

On 4 March, Gleave announced the title of his fifth album, Live Life Living. The album will feature 12 tracks with an additional four on the deluxe edition and is due for release in the UK on July 7. He also unveiled the cover art alongside the announcement. It features a new logo, which debuted alongside the single artwork for "Kids Again".

On 19 April, Gleave debuted his new single 'One More Day (Stay with Me)' previously entitled Stay With Me, possibly renamed due to the Sam Smith song released by the same name. Gleave also announced that he's gone back to three (then later another two) album tracks including the song and added raps to them. During the premiere with Danny Howard, he confirmed new collaborations with Klaxons, Wretch 32, Angel Haze and Sigma are in the works.