Name: Callum Stewart
Formed: Early 2013
Line-up: Just me but more often than not joined on stage by some of my crazy musician friends
What They Say: ‘Young troubadour ready to take on the world’
What We Say: ‘Baby faced, blue eyed with a soaring voice.’
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ What’s the story behind your stage name?
Well it wasn’t my most creative invention. At the start I was considering going for a completely random name to make my music under similar to what SOAK and Saint Raymond have done. After a while I decided that if I was going to make music that was true to me, I might as well go under my own name. Either that or I just couldn’t think of a decent one and gave up…
▶ When did you start playing music and how would you describe your sound?
I’ve been singing since primary school and did the usual thing of listening to chart music growing up and singing along to all the “cool” bands (mostly Busted and McFly which I still haven’t decided if I’m ashamed of or not). I took piano lessons when I was younger as well and absolutely HATED them. I never practiced and dreaded going to lessons. This is why it came as a bit of a shock when I started teaching myself piano about 3 years ago and loved it. I then started teaching myself guitar a year after that and was singing covers all day long. Finally, I was introduced to songwriting and I’ve been writing for around 2 years now. My sound is a tricky one to describe because it varies. It ranges from loud, upbeat songs with a firm pop/rock base to ballads with only me and a piano. Overall, I would say my style is contemporary pop with elements of rock and soul mixed in to create my sound.
▶ What music have you put out so far?
So far, I have released one single called ‘Free’. There are plenty more songs ready to be released and also many more to be recorded. Stand by for more releases very soon.
▶ Is there a particular live show which stands out amongst all the rest?
So far, I’ve only played smallish shows but a few highlights would be my first ever solo gig in the famous Dingwells, Camden, following in the footsteps of the likes of the Foo Fighters and Mumford and Sons. Was a pretty crazy experience. I also opened for More than Conquerors a few months ago which was seriously cool for me as I am a massive fan of theirs. Playing to the Oh Yeah at capacity was pretty cool as well. Loads more gigs coming up throughout Ireland so keep an eye out for one near you!
▶ What has been the highlight of the journey so far?
The highlight so far has probably been finally releasing my debut single. It was recorded well over a year ago and to finally get it out there was a proud moment. The reaction it has got has been beyond anything I could have hoped for and it still blows me away when I get emails from people in America or Australia who are just writing to say that they love the song. Also because I’ve been working on my material for well over a year now, I have got to meet some awesome people in the music industry both locally and abroad and it’s just class to be involved in the community of musicians here in NI.
▶ You are in control of forming a 4 piece ‘super group’ – who is in it and what do they do?
Ok…first I’d stick Levon Helm on drums. The man is a legend and is also one of my favorite vocalists so he can do a few BV’s.
Paul McCartney on bass because who wouldn’t want him to play bass?
On lead guitar, I’d have to go with Rory Friars from ASIWYFA.
Don’t know how he’d sound with this bunch but I’d love to find out. Finally and probably controversially I’d have John Mayer as my front man. He may be a bit of a douche but he does own one of my favorite voices in music.
▶ If you were to go on a world tour and you could pick any 3 acts come along, who would they be?
Firstly, I’d have Twin Atlantic open just so I could warm up by singing every word with a full Scottish accent. Plus they are an incredible band. Then I’d bring The Band back together (including raising most of them from the dead) and have them rerun The Last Waltz every night. Finally, I’d stick The 1975 on because they have one of the best live shows I have seen and seem like seriously cool guys.
▶ What would be the 3 strangest things on your rider if you were able to make any demand?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not exactly crazy so no Tequila or pet monkeys here. I’d probably put a Boojum on the rider. It doesn’t matter where I go, I always crave it and so hey, why not? Penutbutter-Jam sandwiches would also be on there. The show EvenStevens got me hooked about 10 years ago on them…so good. Finally I’d get Blackcurrant Lemonade on tap. It’s the drink of the gods.
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as a musician?
This one is tricky for me as I have had no many. My producer, Tré Sheppard has been a massive influence me and has really helped me to shape my sound. Also Northern Irish artists like Rams’ Pocket Radio and General Fiasco were big influences on me and are bands I still take influence from today. When I was growing up, a lot of the music I would listen too was the generic old stuff like the Beatles, Elvis etc. I really got hooked on it and really think it has influenced the sort of music I write.
▶ Is there a particular aim or goal which you hope to achieve through music?
My main aim is to be able to make a living off the thing that I love. To be able to make enough money to live comfortably off music would be unbelievable for me. Of course I have dreams of the usual stuff such as playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or at Wembley but being able to survive through the songs that I write is my main aim.