In a world in which everyone seems to be sipping a latte, there are probably worse ways to promote your music than popping into a coffee shop.
And that is the strategy being developed by Birmingham singer-songwriter Esther Alexander, who is inviting fans to have a coffee with her.
The 32-year-old will be promoting her album, The Long Way Home, with a tour of Caffe Nero stores and she’s particularly looking forward to the Birmingham dates.
“When I met my lovely husband he was at university in Birmingham,’’ she recalls. ‘‘We ended up living in Bournville for seven years and while I was in Birmingham I played at the Glee Club and the Jam House.’’
The Birmingham city centre Caffe Nero appearances are on October 16, at 11.30am in the Bullring and at 1pm in Waterloo Street.
“We’ve just done 16 dates in Caffe Neros in London, which were fantastic,’’ Esther says. ‘‘I’ve done hundreds of normal gigs but going into a cafe where people are having a cup of coffee is a completely different vibe because you’re really interrupting them and you’re sort of uninvited by those individuals that are there, so it was kinda nerve-wracking.
“But it was just amazing, they just became like little venues for half an hour and people really got sucked into it and really enjoyed it.
“I was selling albums to people who’d literally heard half a song while they were in the queue for their coffee, then running back to the office, but really liking what they’d heard.
“It was lovely to meet a whole new set of people and spread the music a bit, connect with new people.’’
There are also some extra perks to the job.
“I get free coffees! It was funny – I said to someone ‘it’s really manic’ and they said ‘are you sure it’s not just the caffeine?’.
“I realised that every day I was doing these dates I was pumped up with caffeine. It’s a whole different problem to evening gigs where it’s ‘I won’t have another glass of wine’. It was ‘no more coffee, I’m shaking!’.”
Esther’s first cafe gigs were a couple of years ago, when she was pregnant with her son Eythan.
“The last gig I did before I had him was at Caffe Nero in Camden. I was enormous. All of the staff were like ‘for goodness sake don’t have the baby here!’.”
But Eythan was the inspiration for songs on Esther’s album, including Winter Sun and Little Bird.
“The wonderful thing about being your own person is that you can work your schedule around your child. I work on music all the time he’s asleep and then my mother in law has him for a couple of days a week.
“He has special time with his grandma and she loves it, so everyone’s a winner.”