There aren’t many things better than discovering a new artist whose music you instantly connect with. Whether they’re touring the nation making their name or supporting big acts globally, we’re here to put a spotlight on the musically-gifted people with a bright future ahead of them. This week, we’re introducing you to self-claimed professional sad boy, JC Stewart.
For Fans Of: Lewis Capaldi, James Bay, Niall Horan
Essential Listening: 'Have You Had Enough Wine?', 'Bones'
‘Tis the season of sad boys and JC Stewart is the Northern Irish singer who stands out from the crowd, mainly because he’s approximately 10ft tall. The Magherafelt native has been writing and performing since his early teens, but now with his feet firmly on the ground in London, he’s breaking into the mainstream and making everyone cry, one heart-breaking ballad at a time.
Despite only having a clutch of singles to his name, JC Stewart has made an impressive impact. Behind the scenes, he’s been busy writing alongside GRAMMY-nominated songwriters and penning tracks for 2019’s favourite Scottish star, Lewis Capaldi, (he’s one of the masterminds behind ‘Hollywood’ from Lewis’ debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent), but the real magic happens when he’s centre stage.
Brooding, emotional anthems are his weapon of choice and he certainly knows how to cut right to the bone. Last year’s singles, ‘Medicine’ and ‘Like I Did’ - his first on Warner Music UK – introduced soaring vocal harmonies atop of delicate acoustic melodies and subtle electronic elements, all whisked up with poignant lyrics about love to create the perfect recipe for a feast of feelings.
Support slots started coming in thick and fast and we’re not talking about opening for his mate down the local. No, JC packed his bags and hit the road with Snow Patrol, Vance Joy, Anne Marie, Lewis Capaldi and Freya Ridings, throughout Europe and beyond. More recently, he got a glimpse of what his future may well hold when he performed in front of an adoring crowd at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, supporting Lauv at his sold-out show in June.
The start of summer also brought another single about a relationship gone sour, with ‘Have You Had Enough Wine?’ no longer being a question we hear on a Saturday night. A haunting piano melody opens the track, as he whispers, “Have you had enough wine? / Have you had a good time? / Have I ruined your life? / I didn’t mean to” and you’re plunged head first into a beautiful, but painful two and a half minutes of sadness. Featured on both BBC Radio 1 and Love Island, the song was the first real glimpse of what JC Stewart is capable of and put him up amongst the forerunners of the singer-songwriter scene.
Festival performances followed and the misery kept on coming, with ‘Bones’ landing in July and immediately being picked as the BBC Introducing Track Of The Week. Off the back of that he announced a headline London show, which then turned into two, then three and then four. Completely selling out his residency, it was clear that people were waking up to the world of JC Stewart and falling madly and hopelessly in love with it.
And here we are now, with brand-new single, ‘Pick Up Your Phone’ in our playlists, offering a more high-spirited side to his songwriting. Experimenting with a fuller band sound, whilst still keeping his personal and relatable style, it’s a taste of what could come from his debut full-length, which, when it lands, will undoubtedly become the soundtrack to every break-up to ever happen from that point forward.
Further support slots with JP Cooper and Maisie Peters lie ahead of him and we can confidently say that 2020 will be the year that this sad boy gets the spotlight, so grab a packet of tissues and prepare to weep your way through whatever comes next.
O2 Institute Birmingham: Wednesday 9 October w/ JP Cooper* Buy Tickets
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire: Thursday 14 November w/ Maisie Peters Buy Tickets
*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.
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