As a child who felt displaced in a world of hard facts and harsh realities, South African singer-songwriter-guitarist Rowan Stuart always dreamed of a better place, where reality could be shaped to his will.
In 2008, he took a leap of faith and stepped into the spotlight as a singer-songwriter, releasing his debut album, A Thousand Brand New Places. Now with five more solo albums under his belt, he continues his quest to bridge the gap between reality and fantasy with his signature style of story-driven dream folk pop. His latest offering of ‘Empire’ is an alternative-pop track with a motivational, melancholy, and moody vibe to it, out now on all streaming platforms.
What first got you into music?
I started playing music because my parents were performing musicians, and I grew up going to gigs. My first motivation to form a band came after my older brother started a high school death metal band.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Story-driven dream folk pop.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
The producer’s Max Martin and Rick Rubin, both of whom seem to have superhuman abilities to find the best in a song or artist.
What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career?
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Probably making an independent film.
If you could pass on a nugget of wisdom to the next musical generation, what would it be?
Good luck taking on 10 different roles for most of your career! Also, don’t forget to put the time in to become proficient on at least one instrument.
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?
For The Love Of Art (it’s also the name of a song of mine).
If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be and your superhero name?
Maybe the power to know the answer to any question I can think of. Superhero name: The Farseer.
You are a new addition to a crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Clearwater blue – my job would be to add calm and serenity to any picture.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Jason Schwartzman, just because we look similar.
If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?
Follow your own tastes and intuition, not what you think people want from you. Find your focus, then take big, fearless steps towards it.
Rowan Stuart’s latest offering of ‘Empire’ is an alternative-pop track with a motivational, melancholy, and moody vibe to it.
‘Empire’ started with a piano idea that came out unexpectedly while Rowan Stuart was arranging another song on his PC. It had this ominous, apocalyptic, urgent feel about it, which inspired the direction of the song.
The verse and pre-chorus ideas came immediately, whereas the chorus melody took months of experimenting, on and off, before something sounded powerful enough. The instrumentation includes piano, acoustic guitar, samples, programming, and vocals.
Rowan Stuart wrote more lyrics for this song than almost any other song he can remember; enough to take the song in about four different directions. In the end, he decided to combine his favourite lines and aspects of each of the directions into one song, linked by the ‘empire’ lyric, which gave the entire track focus.
On ‘Empire’ he presents exquisite songwriting, superb storytelling, along with his captivating voice, that will draw the listener in from the very first note.
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