Richard Stirton is the very first winner of The Voice, South Africa. The competition allowed him to creep into our hearts but now he’s working to stay right there. The pre-production phase of his album introduced us to What Tears Me The Most. As if that wasn’t enough he has just released his first album, Middle Ground. The album saw him working along artists such as Brad and Josh Klynsmith from Gangs of Ballet and Jethro Tait from the group Four. Success, success and even more success is what awaits this phenomenal performer. Richard graciously made time for him amidst his hectic (and I mean hectic) schedule.
I had to wake up at 4am, I showered, warmed-up and said a little prayer.
How has the whole process been? Has it been what you expected it to be?
I wasn’t expecting anything, I wasn’t expecting to win, it’s just been a whirl-wind. There are so many other elements to thick about beside the music.
It’s not like having to put in the hard-work to release an album. Now it’s about putting the hard-work to promote the album?
Ya I mean, we only had three weeks to record everything and work on the album.
Do you ever find it tiring to be constantly on all the time, like on The Voice? Especially when you’re in a competition, your game needs to constantly be on?
I like talking to people, people turn me on and that’s not a bad thing. I like interacting with people. I don’t know, I didn’t really see it as a competition. I was just like I’m gonna do what I gotta do and just hope for the best.
Do you feel as if you almost have to prove that you deserve this?
Yeah. I’m very competitive! I just always want to prove that I can do things, I’m not just here for a six month period, like flavour of the week or something.
How was it, to work with a mentor such as Khan (Parlotones)?
Khan has been a mentor past what he has been expected to do, now we are playing together in December which is amazing.
It’s very surreal. Do you ever feel like you’re leaving in a fantasy?
I just feel like every day is gonna spiral. Like I don’t know what’s going on.
Do you come from a musical background?
No, not really, my dad thinks he is like the best singer. I don’t know, I just always used to like music and watch American Idols and stuff. My cousin is like a professional music. There’s a difference between someone who sings and goes to work during the day and someone who does it full time, I think that’s what makes you an excellent singer.
Who are your influences, do you have any of the older people who influence you?
I listen to guys like Bon Iver and Matt Colby, James Blake, I was listening to him today and I recently downloaded Frank Ocean, I feel like he is amazing and does whatever he does. I like listening to the moody stuff, think it’s the old soul thing.
How was it producing with Denholm?
He’s such a monster, he makes me wanna give up just because he’s so insanely good, but he is also such an encouraging guy. He’s one of the nicest guy in the world, but he can play every instrument, on this album he played almost every instrument.
Is there a reason why it was so rushed?
It’s because its from a reality show and it has to be put out, if I release it later on, nobody is gonna remember, people are gonna be like, who’s is this dude again? People have such a short memory. That’s why I grew my hair, because nobody will take me seriously with a short hair cut.
Do you enjoy the psychology aspect of it? Like reading people’s minds or playing with people’s minds?
You want to leave a room and make sure people remember you. I carry myself the way I want people to remember me, I was incredibly shy when I was young, so its weird now. The world would be different if people saw each other’s souls instead of their looks, imagine how the world would be.
What are your expectations for the album?
I just want people to enjoy the music and that it relates to them, I want it to be an album of longevity, if you have a real message people will always connect to it. Just like ED Sheeran, he is a random chilled guy but he is so talented. I hope this album has kept it real!