As a rock artist signed with NiaSounds, Stuart has created two albums capturing his journey through his developing music career. His inspired and gripping lyrics marry relevant issues with raw human emotions. He often mixes a gritty blues sound with transitions to occasional smooth-romance to create pure emotional tension. Harnessing gusto that is rare in his musical category, it’s plain to see Stuart strives every day to be a positive influence through his work.
Stuart’s story began in Italy, where he cultivated his love for music. As he traveled, he developed his musical taste and understanding of the world. Over the years, he performed everywhere from street corners to theaters across the country. While taking a break from music, Stuart became a successful businessman. However, Stuart’s life took a turn with the recurrence of Hepatitis C, which he had been diagnosed with early in life. His battle opened his eyes to the beauty and fragility of life and that, Stuart says, is what propelled him to return to music after 18 years.
Now working on his third album to be released by NiaSounds this summer, Stuart is excited to have the opportunity for support through his Kickstarter campaign.
What type of music inspires you?
Stuart: Well, I’m inspired by different types of music for different reasons. Fun music inspires me because it brings me a sense of joy and happiness. Folk music inspires me because I love the expression of culture through any artform. I love folk music, and when I travel I seek out the native music of the new land I‘m travelling in always. Then classical music inspires me because of the capacity for communicating emotion and just sound and rhythm of course. And then rock inspires me because it goes right to the energetic core like it’s supposed to. I’m really touched by music that comes from a very authentic place... It’s like the creator is almost a vehicle. There are so many songs that fall into that musical category that just give you chills when you hear those opening notes. I hope that answers your question!
Would you say that the instrumentals are more important to you in terms of inspiration than the lyrics of a song or would you weigh them equally?
Stuart: I weight them equally. I believe that an instrumental needs to stand on it’s own, and also when a song has lyrics and how those lyrics work with the instrumentation and the timbre and the tone of the work is imperative to the body of work. Sometimes [I] hear lyricists being songwriters and I feel like it’s a misplacement of artforms. Maybe they should be just writing poetry. And so as a songwriter, I have to look for ways to fit my message within the parameters of the timbre and rhythm and the tone of the track. So I may want to say something that’s a sentence of half a paragraph but I only have three words and it has to fit right there. That inspires me though because it makes me challenge myself.
Do you have any specific musicians you look up to?
Stuart: I think Joni Mitchell’s Blue is one of the greatest albums ever written. Bruce Springstein’s Tunnel of Love is an album I listen to over and over again. I listen to Bowie’s Let’s Dance over and over again, I listen to Depeche Mode. And then maybe some surprising people to those who know me but there’s a couple of tracks from Christina Aguilera which I think are the most magical songs in the world and they make me cry time and time again. And Adele, and Dylan… Sting, I’m a big fan of Sting’s songwriting style and also his subject matter. There are a number of Italian artists on that list as well like Vasco Rossi and Georgia. But almost all the songs on that song list I go to are thought-provoking and emotional and inspiring. Just going down the emotional journey of life.
So how would you say you’re similar to those artists, and how would you say you’re different?
Stuart: I think that most of the artists that I mentioned have identified themselves within a genre if not created a genre of their own. Springsteen, Dylan, and Joni Mitchell fit those categories well. There was nobody doing what they were doing before them and I think I fit that category well. I think there was nobody doing what I’m doing before me, I think my music is that unique. And one of the reasons is that I don’t have a genre thread in my music but that doesn’t mean when people listen to my music they feel like it’s bouncing them all over the place. I think that’s a gift of what I do: that I can be diverse and still it feels like it’s supposed to be on the same menu.
If you can, choose three words to define your music.
Stuart: Conscious Alternative Rock.
Since you’re working on your upcoming album, could you tell us about how you feel about your new music so far?
Stuart: The last two albums I’m so satisfied with that certainly there’s going to be apprehension and fear that I’m not going to be able to produce something that I’m completely satisfied with in the future. But after that one and having the two month window between this first song and starting the rest of the record I’ve been working in my own studio developing sketches for my own song ideas and that process is going really well. I’m super inspired and very, very pleased with the results and the vibe of this album feels like it’s going to be a little rockier and more beat driven. It’s gonna have a rough edge to it. And subject matter? I’m really driven to relationships so a lot of the lyric sketches that I’ve been throwing in my notebook have to do with that. I’ll be going into the studio with a lot of new ideas..
How do you feel that your music ties into your ‘I Believe In Better’ movement? You talked a little bit about songwriting and how you really admire the work of the artists mentioned before. Do you feel like that is really reflected in your music now or is that a goal for you?
Stuart: It ties into ‘I Believe In Better’ because my lyrics are an expression of my commitment to being the best I can be on this planet. You won’t find me suggesting to people that they do things differently. It’s more about a global conceptualization and what does it mean to move through life improving yourself in every way and leaving a lighter footprint with each step. That means something different to everybody. To me it means every word that I speak and every action I take, I do it with consciousness and reverence and respect for my opportunity to be here to create and contribute.
So, what’s next for you?
Stuart: Well I’m gonna do the record, and then for me it’s a number of things. It’s a career, it’s an advocation, it’s a passion so I’m gonna keep doing it. I’m not in a situation where I have to make a decision as to what’s my full-time job. I think just being me is my full time job. All the things that I do, I find very interesting and engaging. But what that means is putting together a band because the normal trajectory for someone recording a rock and roll album is to record an album, then get a band together, then tour and support the album… so that’s what we’re doing, we’re workin’ every opportunity and paying attention to the dynamics of growth as it happens.
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