Michael Clarke (b. Walsall, West Midlands, England) chose to assume the alias Clarkesville, preferring to use a collective name so as not to deprive his producers and musicians of their due credit. Having spent several years living in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with his parents, Clarke returned to the Midlands with his family in his mid-teens, where he quietly but confidently set about working towards his ambition of writing and performing. Rather than forming bands with like-minded contemporaries, Clarke concentrated on his own songwriting and playing, until he left school aged 19. In very little time Clarke signed a contract with Wildstar Records, and in July 2003 released his debut, The Half Chapter. This followed a busy touring schedule supporting high profile acts such as Coldplay and Kings Of Leon. Although the album never achieved the success it was widely tipped for, it was warmly received. Clarke’s accomplished vocals, which fit somewhere between Embrace’s Danny McNamara and Chris Martin of Coldplay, blend with synthesized beats and acoustic guitar to create an optimistic and uplifting sound. The highlights, which included the delightfully happy ‘Spinning’ and ‘Secret File’, the anthemic ‘Heavy Soul’ and ‘Everyone Will Have Their Day’, and the beautiful ‘Reprise’, a quiet acoustic track backed with lush string arrangements, ensured an album worthy of the attention of indie fans. Telstar Records, the parent company of Wildstar, went into receivership in 2004 and Clarke found himself without a contract. He then went on to form a new band the Deciphers, with his brother.