One of the oldest clichés in creative writing is write about what you know. It's a method of creating something authentic, based on one's true feelings and memories.
If you believe art should imitate life, it's a helpful axiom by which to guide your creative exploits.
So when Albert Hammond Jr. set about writing his fourth solo album, Francis Trouble, he took this technique a step further, writing from the perspective of his prematurely-born twin brother, "Francis." In 1979, Albert's mother gave birth to still-born Francis, months before Albert arrived alive and healthy.
"It was a mixture of these experiences that have led up in my life," Albert tells Q104.3 New York's "Out of the Box" with Jonathan Clark. "I always knew this story that I was a twin and my twin brother was still-born at five months...I guess we had collided [in my mother's womb] because when I came out...there was a fingernail-like [object on me]—you could just tell that there had been another person in there."
Albert grew up an only child, which is probably the furthest experience you can get from growing up with a twin. If you subscribe to birth order psychology at all, you can imagine how significant a difference that would make in a person's personality and worldview later in life.
"My imagination went crazy with it," Albert tells the show. "I was already kind of using an alter ego to kind of become something else, or become more of myself, really. So just reliving my life through the eyes of [my twin], for my imagination, was just amazing."
With the catchy, surprisingly upbeat (given the inspiration) new album, Francis Trouble, Albert examines the complexities of identity while paying tribute to his late-twin brother — someone he never really knew yet somehow always knew intimately.
"I know when you read it, it might seem dark—it was probably dark for my mom at the time. But for me it felt triumphant, like I was using what happened as something positive and exciting."
Check out the full interview above, including Albert and his bandmates' acoustic medley of the songs "Muted Beatings," "Set to Attack" and "Far Away Truths" from the new album!
Get all of Albert Hammond Jr.'s tour dates here!
Check out the music videos for Albert Hammond Jr.'s new songs, "Set To Attack" and "Muted Beatings."