Multi-talented singer-songwriter Hobbie Stuart’s debut EP is out on Monday, and it’s a corker. The Brighton lad has already made a name for himself with a string of highly popular YouTube covers, and his hook-laden debut looks sure to mark him out as one of the UK’s brightest young stars.
You’re just about to release your debut EP – are you proud of it?
Yeah, I’m very proud of it. I don’t think I’d be releasing it if I wasn’t! I’m just very happy to finally be putting it out there. I’ve been signed for two and a half years, so it’s been a long time coming and I’m feeling great about it.
Can you describe it in two sentences?
It’s an introduction to my album, and… It’s really good!
What’s your favourite song from the EP?
There are only four songs on there (two original and two covers), but my favourite song is definitely Still Here.
How would you describe your music for people who don’t know you?
I would describe it as R&B influenced, ambient… Ah, I always find this so hard! There are a lot of different sounds in there… Varied, cool, and heartfelt!
You’ll be releasing your debut album soon – have you finished recording it?
It’s all been recorded! The final deadline’s in a couple of weeks, so it’s being mixed right now. We’re just sending notes back and forth right now with things that I want changed, and I’ve been putting a few finishing touches to it – it’ll be great to have it out! It’ll be out this summer.
You’re also heading out on tour later this year – what’s the best thing about playing live?
The best thing about playing live is seeing people affected by the music I’ve written and the songs that I’m playing, whether that’s by them dancing or singing along. I also love meeting the fans after – that’s something really special for me. They tweet me and talk to me on Facebook every day, so for me to be able to put faces to names that I see popping up often is really mad.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
It’s a song on my album. It’s gonna be one of the singles, and it’s called Sexy When You’re Mad; I just love it. It’s an up-tempo Bruno Mars/Justin Timberlake kinda track… I don’t know how to explain it! It’s piano-based, it’s got a cool beat, and it’s the type of song that everybody could like.
Social media’s played a huge part in your success so far – how important do you think it is for new guys who are just starting out?
I think it’s so important nowadays. If you can build a strong fanbase by yourself then you’ll have that for a long time, regardless of what happens with your label or management. As soon as you post a song it gets shared around without you having to put any money into it – it’s a brilliant thing.
You’ve posted a bunch of covers on your YouTube channel – can you pick your favourite?
My favourite would be Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake. I just really like the song, and I mixed it with a couple of other Drake songs – that’s always fun to do, and I’m just really proud of how it turned out.
How long did it normally take you to record a cover version of a song?
Well, it usually all started with me thinking ‘Wow, I love this song, I want to cover it!’. I then picked up my guitar and started playing around with a few different chords for it, because I always set out to make it completely different to the original. I’d then go to the studio with my friend Alex, who produces everything on my YouTube channel, and we’d just sit around and come up with different parts for it. That all takes about a day to come up with it and then record it. Recording the video usually takes about a day too, so the whole process only takes about two days.
What made you want to start making music in the first place?
It was just because I loved it and I realised that I was good at it. I started playing and singing when I was ten, and I soon moved on to playing in bands – I then decided to go solo, because I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else but myself. I then just started writing songs on the guitar, and after I got signed I went into the studio with various producers and synths and kind of developed my sound from there.
Who’s your ultimate musical icon?
It’d probably be Justin Timberlake. There’s nothing he can’t do! It’s really infuriating how he can just go into anything, even acting, and be amazing at it.
If you could have written any song, ever, which would it be?
Hmm, this is interesting… This might seem a bit random, but I think I would pick Gotye – Somebody I Used To Know. It’s just such an amazing song, and I know that it’d be a hit record no matter who’d written it.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
I can try, haha! Relaxed, generous and confident.