Following the launch of his website in 2000, Manchester based Heaton went on to record his first independent album entitled ‘Labeless’. The album had a limited distribution through his website and also through the online music retailer Vitaminic. The album showcased Heaton’s first attempts at writing and recording with the Brooklyn Foundation, a relationship which would prove long lasting. The track ‘100 Miles’ slowly climbed the Vitaminic chart to the coveted number 1 position and was followed by a top 10 from the track ‘Real Love’.
Heaton was one of the first independent artists to use the internet as a vehicle to promote awareness of his music. Although this is now common practice amongst all emerging artists, 10 years ago for an unsigned artist to have their own website and presence was somewhat of a rarity.
Heaton then went on to craft what would become his true debut album ‘Computer Music’. The first track released from the album was a simplistic New Order esque track entitled 'Let It Go'. The track rocketed to number 1 on 5 different unsigned charts with downloads in excess of 10,000. The album produced 3 further number 1’s in the form of 'Better Than B4', 'True Blue' and 'Nothing Beautiful Remains'. The album was originally released at the tail end of 2003 but was re-released through a worldwide distribution deal in 2005 with new artwork and a revised tracklisting.
Following this success Heaton pieced together a band to perform the songs live in Manchester, not quite knowing if downloads would transfer over to ticket sales. The night was a total sell out and the tracks really came to life performed live with a 5 piece band. Heaton himself found it hard to get into the venue as he was turned away at the door, “It was quite funny really I had to point at the posters emblazoned with my face to be let in”. The Manchester Evening News picked up on the story and crowned Heaton “The Download King”.
The next few years were filled with self discovery and genre hopping. He worked with a number of online musicians but was keen to explore a more organic sound. He was left with a collection of unfinished, unpolished demos that in 2006 he decided to give away free to members of his website as an extended EP entitled ‘Interlude’.
2007 saw Heaton’s first official release in 2 years in the form of the ‘Don’t Wanna Be Lonely EP’. The title track was a guitar driven pop track and was accompanied by collaborations with Oisín Scarlett (from the Modern Painters) and the Subway Collective. The latter collaboration on the track ‘Breathe’ later went on to feature in Channel 4’s online drama series ‘Freak’.
Two subsequent releases were made in 2008 and 2009 with ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘2 Minus 1’ but no album ever materialised. The ‘2 Minus 1’ release featured the winners from a remix competition that was run through his official site in conjunction with the social music website SoundCloud. During this period Heaton performed on the Key 103 Stage in Manchester City Centre and was later asked to play his biggest gig to date at the Manchester Pride Festival to a crowd of over 5,000.
After a short break Heaton returned to music in 2011 with the fresh progressive house track 'Never Gonna Fall', a collaboration with Canadian producer Damien Boss. Heaton was so taken with the track that he self funded, directed and edited a music video for the song - the first official music video of his career. The track was a huge club success and began charting around the dance charts of Europe and gave Heaton his first FM airplay courtesy of the Manchester and London radio station Gaydio (famous for breaking club remixes). The video for the track also received positive reviews with upwards of over 30,000 views to-date. The track was released across 3 formats and was signed to Subtone Records in the US and Heaton's own label Heaton Music. The releases featured winners from the Never Gonna Fall Remix Contest.
'Black & White' was the next single released through Heaton Music in September 2012. The track was written and recorded with Marty Smith (AKA Martez) and featured remixes from Positive Addiction, Exit 39 and Przemyslaw Grzelak. The track also received an official music video and the mixes picked by clubs and radio.