Let Stealth introduce himself – his name’s whatever you want it to be!
Since releasing his debut EP ‘Intro’, Stealth has had people talking for all of the right reasons. The singer-songwriter’s first record does exactly what the title states; it presents to the world an exciting rising star with an immense vocal talent that can compete with some of the greats.
Stealth’s latest single ‘Judgement Day’ has received a particularly phenomenal response and it even featured in the season five finale of Suits earlier this year. Impressively, the sombre track’s epic instrumentals and irresistibly smooth vocals have now been played over a million times online.
Last week, Stealth supported vaults on their UK tour. We were lucky enough to chat to him before the closing show in Manchester. In our exclusive interview, Stealth spoke about: his musical influences, his career highlights and much more. Check out his answers to our questions below!
You recently released your debut EP ‘Intro’ – how would your describe the record for people who haven’t yet heard it?
“It’s a bit throwback. I listen to people like Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James and all those kinds of singers. It’s very blues/soul influenced so if you’re into real music and real sounds, you’ll enjoy the EP.”
We love ‘Judgement Day’ and it’s fair to say that there’s definitely been a huge buzz about the song online – how’ve you found the response so far?
“Thank you. It’s been unreal. You kind of do these things and you always believe in them, you always think this is a really good song, but that’s your opinion and when other people indicate your opinion then it makes you feel… words can’t describe how good it feels. The fact that other people apart from me and my mum like it is a massive bonus so I’m really pleased.”
The song featured in the season five finale of Suits – how did that come about and did you notice a surge of new fans after the episode aired?
“I’m very fortunate to have a very good manager and a very good sync agent – the guy goes out and plays my music to TV shows and things. After Suits, everything went mad. People starting tweeting me that hadn’t before – the whole of Twitter and Facebook went mad. I think it’s just short of about 800,000 views on YouTube. Like I said, you never expect when you write something like that in your room or in the studio, you never expect it to do that and actually happen like that. I’m so happy and so over the moon.”
You just recently released the official ‘Judgement Day’ video – how would you describe the concept behind the visuals?
“The whole concept was supposed to be about battling with your own conscience – it’s about whether you should admit to something and take the wrap for what you’ve done or listen to the bad part of your conscience and carry on misbehaving and kind of lying. It was the battle between the consciences. That’s why it’s set in the church; it’s obviously such a big cavernous place and it really fit well with the song. We were a bit worried that it might look cliché but at the same time, it couldn’t have been anywhere else. Amy, the dancer who I actually grew up with as a kid, she’s fantastic. She really managed to capture exactly what I wanted. I didn’t give her any direction; she choreographed it herself so she was amazing.”
All three songs on the EP feature deep and meaningful lyrics – are there any lines that you’re particularly proud of writing?
“I’ve always liked the one in ‘Judgement Day’ – ‘the church that I went to; it ain’t that holy.’ I’ve always liked that one. In ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’, I actually like the whole chorus because it’s just really honest. It’s something that you’d actually say. I quite like that kind of lyric; there’s a few Sam Smith lyrics and stuff that are sung but they’re something that you’d actually say in conversation. I’d probably say that them two are my favourite ones and then I’ve always liked the hook line from ‘Intro’ as well because it meant quite a lot to me. I’ve changed my name, I’ve changed loads about me and I changed a lot to kind of mould myself for other people. So when it says ‘let me introduce myself; my name is whatever you want it to be’, it’s kind of a satirical look at what I had to go through to get to this point. I’ve always quite liked that but that’s kind of a personal one that some other people might not quite get.”
You also shot a video for ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’ as well and it’s almost like an AA meeting in a way – how did you come up with the concept for that one?
“It’s quite funny because my guitarist who I actually wrote the song with; we always soundcheck and we always say ‘I Don’t Need Your Drugs’ for a laugh. Then we were like ‘actually, that’s a really good idea for a video’ to sit in an AA meeting. What I really liked about it is that although the song is quite sombre in meaning and it’s sad because you’re breaking up with someone and stuff, I wanted something to represent the positive step in actually breaking up with something or breaking up with someone. Sometimes, it’s really shit and you only focus on the shit bit; but what is better is the fact that you’re starting something new. The people in the AA meeting have realised that what they were doing wasn’t necessarily helping them and they weren’t in a good situation but they’re taking steps to make a positive change. It’s exactly the same as when you break up with someone; when it’s not working. You’re either hurting them or hurting yourself and you’ve got to move on for a better life. That’s what I wanted to portray.”
What’s the process behind making a Stealth song – do you usually start with the lyrics first or the instrumentals first?
“I like to change it up. You’ll hear some of the songs tonight like ‘Burn Both Ends’, which isn’t coming out yet, and that started with the bass riff. ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’ started with the humming but then with songs like ‘Intro’, I’d already written the chorus before I turned up with the song. I had no melody or anything. So it kind of changes; I don’t like to go into the studio and go ‘right, I’ve got this and I work this way’ because sometimes I think you end up cornering yourself and you end up writing the same song over and over again. It’s nice to have different starting points and different ways of getting into it because then you end up with a more varied product.”
Who would you say some of your musical influences are?
“I mentioned some of them earlier like: Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James, Johnny Cash and Bill Withers. Literally, there are so many names that I could bore you. Like Jim Morrison from The Doors; I absolutely love The Doors and think they’re fantastic. Even going lyrically, The Smiths. I could go name after name after name.”
You’ve recently been supporting Vaults on their UK tour – have you enjoyed it so far?
“Yeah, I mean it’s been a lot of driving because I’m not quite rich enough to afford a tour manager yet but Vaults have been great. They’re so good; their sound is amazing and it’s been a massive privilege for them to invite us. We went to Scotland the first day which is technically another country so we’re actually classing this as a world tour (laughs) I’m internationally acclaimed now. It’s been a great experience.”
What’s your favourite thing about playing live shows?
Stealth: “The audience; it’s always the audience. Especially being support, a lot of the time people think that you’re going to be crap. A lot of people won’t turn up for the support or they’ll catch you a little bit and they’ll be talking over your set. This doesn’t sound very modest of me but it’s really nice when you hit a note or sing a song and then all of the sudden they stop talking to just listen. That moment can’t be replicated; it’s amazing. For the first time ever, people have started singing my songs back to me and that’s when you start going ‘oh my god, this stuff is actually affecting people.’ It’d be pointless me doing this music and sitting in my bedroom just playing it to my mum. This is the reason you do it – you do it to go out on tour and for people to hear it live so that’s the big thing. It’s the audiences that make it the best thing.”
CelebMix: “Is winning over crowds and going on social media to lots of messages quite rewarding?”
Stealth: “Yeah, I mean last night at Heaven was just unbelievable – the response on Instagram and things like that. I’m stood at my merch desk too because I can’t afford to pay someone to sell my merchandise and people are coming up to me who’ve never heard of me and they’re wanting an EP. It’s just incredibly satisfying; it’s brilliant.”
Can you tell us any funny story from life on the road?
Stealth: “Samer, the bassist, nearly killed us. We’ve got a van and we all drive because we’re all like broke musicians. We all drive gear cars so we’re used to clutch control and all that stuff but this van is automatic and Samer completely forgot. We were driving up the slip road at about 40/50 mile an hour and the left foot broke. Literally, I nearly went through the windscreen and it was really quite scary. It’s a good job no-one was behind us and that was before Glasgow as well. We kept sending my manager photos because my management had hired the van. We kept sending them photos of blown up Volkswagen transport and we said that we’re going to have to walk to Glasgow and stuff like that. We’ve had a bit of a laugh just in general but it’s just been too much really; you can’t really reflect on much because it’s kind of still happening. That was probably the funniest moment; where Samer nearly killed us. I also locked my keys in the car before we came; that was quite embarrassing.”
CelebMix: “How did you get them back?”
Stealth: “I had to call Green Flag to come and break into my car which was quite bad but apart from our near-death experience, it’s been pretty tame.” (laughs).
The Stealth logo is an image of a swallow – is that symbolic of anything in particular?
“It’s my tattoo – I’ve had this tattoo since I was about 18 and I’ve always liked it. I wanted to have something that people could instantly see and identify me with. The tattoo did come before the logo; I didn’t get my logo tattooed to me or that would be incredibly egotistical. (laughs) So yeah, I wanted something that people could stick on stuff. I’ve just always really enjoyed the photo and that’s why I had it tattooed to me; I liked it that much that I wanted it as my logo. And with the name Stealth, swallows are quite quick – they’re swift birds and I thought it tied in quite nicely.”
What are some of your career highlights to date?
“Last night was definitely one and the tour in general. I think this is probably the biggest moment for me. Playing on Dermot O’Leary’s show and doing the live lounge for him; that was amazing. Hearing my song played on Radio 1; Phil Taggart has been a huge champion and you can’t match that. Then obviously the Suits sync – on the record side, that’s pretty much as big as it’s got for me. Hopefully the best is yet to come – that’s a very cheesy answer but it’s true.”
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Stealth?
“Just more work, more gigging, more touring and more writing. I haven’t really made any plans as such because I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing at the moment and keep ploughing on. If I fall into someone else’s plans then that’s what I want. I’ve just gotta keep on doing what I do and then if someone else is like ‘ooh shit, I’ll have a bit of that’, then that’s what I need.”
If you could leave a message for your fans, what would you say?
“Just thank you. I never thought anyone else would be into what I’m doing apart from me. The fact that everybody is enjoying it; I can’t be more grateful. I’m incredibly blessed that people are enjoying it and I hope they continue to enjoy it.”
You can purchase a copy of Stealth’s very first EP here on iTunes. A second EP titled ‘Verses’ is set to follow shortly and that’ll feature a total of four tracks; more details will be revealed soon.
After seeing Stealth live, we can tell you one thing – he’s got a fantastic collection of tracks that he’s preparing to release in the near future. The guitar-driven ‘Real Life’, the infectious ‘I’ve Got To Start Loving You’ and the emotional ‘You Won’t See My Cry’ are three of our personal favourites.
Stealth may be a relatively new name on the music scene but he’s clearly been perfecting his craft for a long time and it’s certainly paid off. His EP ‘Intro’ is an incredibly strong debut and we’re glad to see that his latest single ‘Judgement Day’ is getting the recognition that it truly deserves.
What do you think of Stealth’s debut EP? Are you loving ‘Judgement Day’ as much as us? Let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix or leave a message in the comments section below!