JC Stewart is rapidly emerging as one of 2020’s breaking talents. His compelling blend of classic pop songcraft and heart-on-sleeve candour is making a huge connection with people who relate to the universal experiences that he explores. A wave of fans have fallen under his spell, as shown by escalating streaming stats and some recent sold-out pop-up shows which included three back-to-back gigs in Belfast. Influential fans are also backing him for big things, from global artists Lewis Capaldi and Niall Horan to Radio 1 support from Scott Mills, Mollie King and Jordan North.
JC shares his brand new single ‘Lying That You Love Me’ on Friday, which represents his first release of the year. The track has received its first play from Radio 1’s Best New Pop and follows the recent news that JC was highlighted as Apple Music’s New Artist of the Week.
Up Close and Personal
JC Stewart grew up in County Derry, Northern Ireland. The fourth generation of JC Stewarts in the family tree – the rest being grocers – the young musician was always destined to take a route less travelled.
JC Stewart crafts songs born from his own experiences of love and heartbreak that explode from intimate confessionals into bold anthems. He laughs out loud when asked about the Professional Sadboy nickname that his sister bestowed upon him. It’s a cheeky if appropriate moniker for a man who explores the thrill of romance, the pain of heartache and everything in-between. “That’s the goal: to have real songs, but also to have a lot of fun with them.”
“Most of my songs start as a small conversation with someone,” he explains, citing influences such as Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, The Band and Hozier. “Then the question is: how do I make it into something bigger that people can connect to, while also keeping it personal?”.
That approach informs his new single ‘Have You Had Enough Wine?’, which is an autobiographical account of the final conversation he had with an ex-girlfriend. “Have you had enough wine?” he sings. “Have I ruined your life? I didn’t mean to.”
That song is the opening chapter in a narrative arc that charts the last days of that relationship. ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ pleads for a clean break to give both parties an escape from their heartbreak, while ‘I Need You To Hate Me’ is about trying to find closure. As JC notes, “I’d rather she hated me because there’d more of a reason to end it.”
Recent months have seen JC Stewart working with some of the world’s leading producers and writers. The Grammy Award-winner Fred Ball (The Carters) has been a key collaborator, as has Justin Parker, a regular co-writer for Lana Del Rey. Meanwhile, sessions in Los Angeles have included work with Greg Wells (Dua Lipa, Adele), Toby Gad (Jess Glynne, John Legend), Jon Green (Rag N Bone Man, James Bay) and Jonny Coffer (Beyoncé, Fall Out Boy).
JC is also in-demand as a songwriter. He looks set to have a first bona fide hit in the shape of ‘Hollywood’, a song which features on the #1 debut album from his friend Lewis Capaldi. He’s been winning over new converts for his own material by joining Freya Ridings on tour – a double-bill sure to lead the next wave of vital, international-facing British artists.
Having just launched his own Sunshine Boy sub-brand which he’ll be using to release music and merch, JC has an exciting year ahead with shows with the likes of LAUV, Anne-Marie and Vance Joy, and is also appearing at festivals such as Latitude and Barn On The Farm.