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Airline pilot hopes long-awaited new album will take off with listeners

AN AIRLINE pilot has reached new heights with an album two decades in the making.

Reflections of Your Face is the fourth offering from North Wales singer-songwriter Allan Dawson.

Completed during lockdown, the collection ranges from piano ballad Undeterred and joyful Snowclear, to the bittersweet first single, Bubble, and epic I Wish This Would Last Forever.

Released on September 21, it is “everything he hoped it would be” and comes after decades of weird and wonderful jobs, from radio show host to executive skydiver and even a business advisor for the Welsh Government.

However, it is Allan’s passion for flying that drove him to finish the record and share it with listeners, almost 20 years after the journey began.

“Music and flying are my two greatest passions in life,” said the 45 year-old, originally from Mochdre.

Reflections was always there in the background, and though it’s my fourth album I actually started it before albums two and three.

“There was something special about it and the message I was trying to get across, which is perhaps why it remained unfinished for so long.”

He added: “It’s very much about things we’ve all gone through in life, especially when chasing a dream and realising it wasn’t what you expected.

“It’s about friendship, struggles and realising life isn’t about goals, it’s the pain you take to reach them.

“And remastering these songs in the middle of lockdown was quite poignant and ironic as I couldn’t go anywhere and a lot of it was written in different parts of the world.”

A former pupil at Eirias High School, Colwyn Bay, Allan was in a string of bands as a teenager – notably, Sonic Deflection – before attending Preston University and later moving to London, where he would spend most of his career.

The calling of the cockpit saw him return to university and study Aviation Technology before securing his first pilot role five years ago.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic he split his time between cargo and passenger planes and writing songs, many of which were penned in hotels across the globe, such is the nature of the job.

But in March, like many in the sector, he was grounded and used the time to finally fulfil his musical destiny.

“Not only did I write the album, I did everything,” said Allan.

“I spent many years, particularly in London, as a producer and sound engineer, so I took care of that side and I also sing and play all of the instruments.

“It’s light years ahead of anything I’ve done before and I hope others feel the same.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to releasing it just as much as I’m looking forward to getting back behind the controls of an airplane.

“I had just joined a new airline, bought a house and then days later we were in lockdown, it’s been completely crazy and challenging, but the same for most people.

“I love to fly but music keeps coming back to me; now that I’ve completed Reflections I can move on and create new songs.”

Allan’s discography includes Killing Time, Start Again, and Turbononsense, released last year having also been around in the background for more than a decade.

Updating old tracks wasn’t easy given the different formats used in the past, but he has embraced advances in technology and is inspired to produce new material.

“I’ve now tied up all of the loose ends, it feels quite cathartic and free, a bit like when I’m up there flying a plane – it’s like nothing else,” said Allan.

“When you think about it these are two quite ridiculous things to be doing in tandem, but it works for me and long may that continue.”

Reflections of Your Face and the single Bubble are available online from September 21, including Spotify and Deezer.

For more information, visit www.allandawsonmusic.com and follow him on social media at @aeroguitarist (Instagram) and @allandawsonmuso on Facebook and Twitter.