WHEN life gives you a second shot - then you grab it with both hands.

When it's within the music industry, you drop everything and fly to America.

That's what Colchester singer/songwriter Philip Marino will be doing next month after one of the US's top music producers, Simone Felice, agreed to help him record his latest release.

"Quite some time ago I saw Simone had posted an open offer for artists to send their demos in to him," Philip says. "So I sent mine off and incredibly he shortlisted me as one of the artists he wanted to work.

"Unfortunately at the time I just didn't have the finances to go out to America and work with him so I e-mailed him to say I couldn't make. Even then I knew it was a decision that was going to haunt me for the rest of my life and sure enough I started reading how he was now working with Bat For Lashes and The Lumineers and I though 'oh well that's that then'.

"Then a few years later one of my friends said 'just e-mail him, what have you got to lose' so I did and that afternoon his assistant got back in touch and said 'sure Simone remembers your songs and would love to still work with you'.

"I just couldn't believe it. I honestly thought it was some kind of trick but it's all true. I've sent him some new songs I want to do and we're both ready to start working.

"I've been a fan of Simone's and The Felice Brothers before I wrote my first song, so I am unbelievably thrilled to work with him, but what's doubly exciting is we're going to record them in his home town in the Catskill Mountains and in an old stone church, which he's got special permission to use."

Originally from the US Philip grew up just outside Chicago, where he still has family, but he's also lived in Minnesota and California.

He started his musical career as the drummer in a classic garage band listening to bands as diverse as The Kinks and then later AC/DC.

"It wasn't until years later that I actually picked a guitar," he explains, "but I've always been around music, went to a ton of shows in Chicago and I do remember going to see Foreigner in front of about 30,000 people and it absolutely blew my mind."

But things could have been very different for Philip.

He says: "I had to sell my drums when I was young because my family were moving in with my 70 year-old grandmother and there wasn't space for it. I was pretty sad at the time. It was a really cool drum set. It even had a cowbell.

"That said I probably would have continued with the drums if I hadn't sold them. I loved being in a band. It wasn't until I bought that first guitar, when I was living in California, that I started getting back into playing. I had a couple of lessons but that didn't really stick with me so I taught myself how to play and the rest went from there really."

Philip moved to Colchester in 2006 for his job as a lecturer at Essex University and it was a few years after that when a rather more traumatic event took its effect on his songwriting.

"Essentially my marriage started falling apart," he tells me. "That's when I started listening to some new types of music; alt, Americana and country. I suppose what some might call pain and discomfort-kind of music which helped me through the problems I was having.

"Obviously I stopped writing altogether but getting into that music helped me start up again."

Not long after Philip found himself at an open mic night at the Bull.

"To be honest I can't remember much about it," he smiles. "I was so sacred and nervous it just came and went but what I do remember is the host of the night, Theo, coming up to me afterwards and taking one look at me and saying 'now you're hooked', and he was right."

Since then Philip has become a regular face on the local music scene, playing several gigs at the Bull, Three Wise Monkeys and events such as Wivstock, Colchester's Big Sunday and most recently at the Eight Ash Green music festival.

But now he's about to embark on the musical adventure of a lifetime.

He says: "One of the best lyrics I've ever written was 'you can take a chance or let it go but either way it's going to change all you know' and I thought if I put this opportunity offer for a second time what was the point of writing that song."

For more information on Philip and his new release go to his Kickstarter page at http://tinyurl.com/hy5tko3