Andy Burrows

February 13, King Tuts, Glasgow

If social media is often associated with unhealthy attitudes towards ourselves and other people, it's ironic that a project sensitively dealing with mental health began with a Twitter crush.

Musician Andy Burrows and best-selling author Matt Haig followed each other in “mutual, silent admiration” for weeks before hitting on ideas for working together.

The one-time drummer with Razorlight wasn't unfamiliar with the work of Haig, a writer of books for children and adults, most notably 2015's Reasons To Stay Alive, a hit memoir exploring his recovery from emotional breakdown and depression.

Burrows came across the book while on the road with singer-songwriter Tom Odell, one of his many collaborators since leaving Johnny Borrell's gang in 2009.

“I felt a comfort in his words, in his writing,” says Burrows. “It wasn't a dumb comfort; Matt gives you had a bit of insight into the dark while also offering up a bit of hope. That's important."

Having a copy of Reasons To Stay Alive on the road was like “having an on-tour counsellor” says Burrows, who adds that the pair “meet on the same page psychologically”.

After the pair shelved an attempt at writing an animated fairytale, Haig returned to Reasons To Stay Alive and found himself re-writing passages as song lyrics.

From his home in Brighton, Haig would send the songs to Burrows in Hackney or in Los Angeles, where his wife runs a fitness studio with actress Kate Hudson.

The resulting album – also named Reasons To Stay Alive – sees what Haig describes as his “therapy notes” set to Burrows's piano-led power pop and caramel-soft croon.

There's touches of Supertramp, ELO and Queen here and there, notably in Barcelona, the reflective first single from the album.

Burrows's melodies are so captivating, they embody a chapter of Haig's original book where he wrote: “How to escape time: music”.

The process was a positive experience for both men, with Haig praising Burrows for having "somehow unlocked the melody inside the words".

“It was very much a case of: 'You wash and I'll dry',” says the musician. “Matt seemed to be really happy with the music, whereas I was in awe of these words that were coming through from him.”

He adds: “The levels of diplomacy were good. When you're in a band, you're always fighting a little bit. There was none of that here. And I wasn't on a record label, so it felt I was writing it for no-one and for everyone, if that makes sense.”

Burrows says he feels a genuine affinity with Haig's words and sings them as his own.

“I was saying to Matt yesterday how bizarre it was how perfectly his lyrics fit for me,” he says.

“When you work with other people, it doesn't tend to work like that, you can feel a bit removed from it. Whereas, the wonderful thing about these songs is they feel like they are mine; that they are something I would come up with myself.”

As well as playing from his clutch of solo albums, Burrows will lead a five-piece band in performing from the luscious, tender Reasons To Stay Alive at King Tuts, a venue he last visited during Razorlight's early days.

“Though we moan about getting old, it's nice to be able to look back over your music and make a set-list from different eras,” he says, noting that he is continuing to write with Haig, as well as past collaborator Tom Smith from Editors.

“I'm really excited about this jaunt," he continues. "I think it will be a really special one: a heart-warming, magical night of music. Well, that's the hope.”