Getting To Know... Rowan Stuart

Following on from the enormous response to his highly-praised EP 'Instrumagicka' in 2021, South African singer-songwriter Rowan Stuart now makes his eagerly-awaited return with the soaring new single 'Empire'.

Capturing more of that broad and euphoric alt-pop energy he is known for, 'Empire' makes for a brilliantly rousing return to form. With his bold and dynamic voice layered across a progressive production from start to finish, he is returning with one of his most impactful offerings to date.

So with the new single out now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

The guitar, when I was 11 years old.

What kind of music did you love when you were younger?

Metallica, to start with, then grunge and alternative rock music, like the Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Radiohead, followed by Lenny Kravitz, Sting and a band called VAST.

What was the first album you remember owning?

It was either Dad, I Blew Up America – a compilation of grunge and alternative rock bands – or Metallica: 'Ride The Lightning'.

What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?

Kiss From A Rose by Seal.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

Up until recently, I used to use a little digital dictaphone to record all of my spontaneous musical ideas. It had a noisy, scratchy little microphone, but there was something about the poor sound quality that made each idea feel like a sketch, with no pressure to be perfect, and the static gave the recordings an otherworldly feeling, which I actually miss. I should try to find another one of those dictaphones.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Chilly Gonzales – specifically his three solo piano albums.
Lana Del Rey
And I recently went through a few weeks where I was listening to a lot of U2s catalogue again.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Probably VAST during the early 2000s.

What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?

For me, the most rewarding thing is seeing and hearing people singing along to my songs when I'm performing. It shows that they've really taken the time to invite my music into their lives – enough to become familiar with the lyrics and music. That's amazing.

And what is the most frustrating part?

In all artistic or creative pursuits, there's a chance that the enormous amount of heart, soul and effort you put into your creation may not be met with an equal or greater amount of enthusiasm when it's released into the world. I do understand this though. We are all so inundated with entertainment options. So why should people choose to listen to my music, and get excited about the content I share? I'm working on the answer to that.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

Two things come to mind, and both are equally as important:

1 – the music industry is a popularity contest, not a talent show.
2 – life is not a rehearsal – it's the final performance.


Rowan Stuart's new single 'Empire' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.