X Factor star to lead song writing workshop for Hackney teens

Ashley Slater and Scarlett Quinn Kitten and The Hip

Ashley Slater and Scarlett Quinn Kitten and The Hip - Credit: Archant

One half of X Factor’s eccentric band The Kitten and the Hip will be holding song writing workshops.

Ashley Slater, 53, will be working with children between the ages of 11 and 16, teaching them the secrets to writing a hit.

Mr Slater, who lives in Brighton, has worked with Fat Boy Slim, reaching number three in the charts with his song Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out.

Now he is bringing the best of almost two decades of professional musicianship to the Arcola Theatre in Hackney August on 27 and 28.

He said: “We’ll play games to get talking about words; how we use them and how they work together.

“We’ll have a discussion about the history of song writing in the 20th and 21st century and then we’ll just get down to it and start writing songs. At the end we’ll have performances and feedback.

“I don’t mind if they’ve written songs before or not. I’m not expecting people to create hits but, then again, you never know – why not?”

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Mr Slater has written songs for DJs, as well as for Kitten and the Hip with his wife and bandmate Scarlett Quinn,

“If there’s anything I know about, it’s song writing,” he said.

“My style is always a little bit quirky and humorous. I’ve also written for deep house DJs, songs about love, songs about losses. So I should be an expert by now.”

The songwriter and trombone player, who was born in California and moved to the UK in 1977 before joining the National Centre of Orchestral Studies, appeared on X Factor last year. He initially auditioned with his wife and supported her decision to continue in the competition solo.

He said: “X Factor was something I never wanted to do. I’m one of the old school, I think you should get where you get through hard work, but the world is changing and is one of the ways you can get in the business.”

Kitten and the Hip have had a number of popular songs including Shut Up and Dance, which they auditioned with for the ITV show.

“That was a weird song but it’s one of our most popular,” he said. “It’s had more than 240,000 hits on YouTube. That not good if you’re someone like Rihanna but it is for a little band like us.”

Bookings for the the free song writing workshops can be made via the Arcola Theatre’s website.