WITH Chris Martin of Coldplay declaring himself a fan and a debut album on the way produced by Chris Potter (Verve’s Urban Hymns) and Dom Morley (Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black), things are looking good for duo El Born, combining the talents of songwriter Si Connelly and classically-trained keyboard player and singer Hils Granger.
The pair met when Connelly put up notices in newsagents seeking recruits for his band.
Granger answered and Connelly immediately knew he had found the right collaborator.
"She kind of got the job even before she began playing anything — so it was a relief when she could actually play better than I could!" Connelly said.
"I’m quite abrasive, so without her it would be a bit like overkill. She balances me out and our voices work well together.
"I’m glad it was a girl and not some guy, though. I don’t want to be the next Bros!"
Don’t mistake El Born — who are named for an area of Barcelona — as chin-stroking singer-songwriters, however.
Connelly is determined to inject some much needed rock and roll passion into the UK music scene.
"There’s not that many rock bands around," he said.
"I think that’s down to the costs involved in making your own record. It’s cheap to make a hip=hop record because you can do it on your laptop, it’s cheap to make a folk record because you just plug your acoustic guitar in, but when it’s a band, the rules haven’t changed since Black Sabbath.
"You basically need to be in the studio to record it and there is no cheap way of doing it."
Nor does he believe in short cuts like the television talent show route.
Connelly was actually approached to be on BBC1 talent show The Voice.
"All I had to do was show up at the audition and I was on," he said.
But Connelly didn’t show up, something which he has absolutely no regrets about, especially since Coldplay frontman Chris Martin posted El Born single 1982 on his personal blog and helped propel it into the iTunes top 20.
"Something like The Voice can give a break to some people, but it also delivers short-term careers as well. Someone like Will Young we can be glad for, because he is a genuine great voice and performer, but some of the others we don’t hear from any more," he said.
"But I feel sorry for them. They should have been given more chance to develop."
And Connelly is playing a long game, one he fully expects to result in El Born playing their own headlining stadium shows before too long.
"Most bands don’t think long term," he said.
"If you want to be brilliant at what you do, it takes time and there’s a certain price to pay for that. I know we are one of the better bands out there, but it does take a lot of time to get yourself known."
El Born appear at Mad Hatters bar, Church Street, Inverness, on Friday 21st February along with Spanish-based band Korsak.