The date is etched in Doug Walker's brain. It was 28 August 2007 when he caught a train to London from his native Manchester and pitched up outside the offices of Radio 1 in Great Portland Street at 6am. His plan? To thrust his demo CDs into the hands of passing DJs, producers, even cleaning staff, in the hope that someone would take the time to listen.
He was, by his own admission, desperate. It had been five years since he had taken the decision to devote all his energies – and finances – to his musical career and up until that point he had nothing to show for it. "In my wildest imagination, I thought that maybe one of these CDs might get heard and not thrown in the bin," says Walker.
The first people to turn up for work were the breakfast show DJ Chris Moyles and his sidekick Comedy Dave. Walker introduced himself, offered them a copy of his single "The Mystery", which was about to be released on iTunes, and politely asked if they could have a listen. "I had no idea what was about to happen," he says.
Even by the standards of the maverick DJ, it was a strange turn of events. Moyles listened to Walker's demo when he got into the studio and, circumventing the usually strict rotation of primetime radio playlists, decided to play it on air.
"Something about the songs evidently clicked with [Moyles], and he decided to give me a break," reflects Walker – who has since frequently been compared to the multi-million selling troubadour James Blunt.
Eleven record labels approached Walker with offers of deals. He signed to Warner six weeks later.
Once signed, it took just nine weeks for Walker to record the album Fear Together. Produced by Danton Supple, who has already sprinkled his magic dust on Coldplay's X&Y and Starsailor's Silence is Easy, the album is big on sweeping choruses, swirling keyboards and rousing balladry.
"What kept me going? I guess it was a combination of naivety and blind faith."
21 September (0161-237 9789); 'Fear Together' is out now on Warner