If the name Stealth isn’t already on your mind, we’re confident it will be after you take a listen to what he has to offer. The singer-songwriter has harnessed both his rich voice and songwriting ability to create a soulful sound that cuts right to the core. Such is his talent that he’s gaining momentum all the while, his reach stretching far further than his native Birmingham to cover both sides of the Atlantic. Considering the quality of his work so far, it’s not hard to understand why. His voice effortlessly dips from buttery smooth to coarse and fiery, while his lyrics are refreshingly honest, which all come to beautiful fruition on his debut EP Intro, out on Friday.
The EP’s first track, fittingly titled ‘Intro’, is the perfect starting point for the sultry sound that we can expect from Stealth. His growling voice booms over the speakers: “Let me introduce myself / My name’s whatever you want it to be”, and what an introduction it is. His fierce, assertive projection is offset by the flexibility in what he’s actually saying, which just goes to show both the variety and the complexity of who we’re dealing with here.
‘I Don’t Need Your Love’ is the brooding number that marks the EP’s midway point. The track oozes bluesy charm, rocking back and forth for 4 minutes of gentle, moody music, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll find yourself humming the bass-heavy melody along with him. To top it all off is the accompanying video, which cleverly plays on the song’s theme of separation and makes a fitting comparison between love and addiction.
Last, but by no means least, comes ‘Judgement Day’. Even within the opening 5 seconds, you know this is going to be a dramatic final outing. The religious references come in thick and fast, from the ring of a bell in the introduction to the sombre choral backing that runs throughout. It’s here that Stealth clarifies the power and range of his voice; as he tears into the chorus, it’s surprising to think that this is the same person whose vocals were deep and mellow only moments before. We’re not the only ones impressed by ‘Judgement Day’ – the makers of US hit TV series Suits were so taken with it that the song was chosen to close the tense penultimate episode of season 5.
As someone on the verge of releasing a promising debut EP and with a voice as powerful as his, Stealth is one to keep an eye on. Read our exclusive interview below, where we talk musical influences, manning up, and the journey so far.
How did you start working in music?
Originally I started working the pub and club circuit in the midlands at about 16.
There are strong soul and blues vibes running throughout your music. Who would you name as your influences?
To name a few- Etta James, Howlin Wolf, Bill Withers, The Doors, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. I could bore you to death with the amount of people I draw influence from!
Some of your earlier work was with dance artists, such as Netsky and Roger Sanchez. How have you transitioned between two genres that seem so different?
Soul & Blues have always been prominent features even in the dance tracks, that minor third run I use to death can be found in every single one; if you remove the dance track underneath most of those toplines, you will have a Soul/Blues song. The influence is clearest in ‘Fearless’- my collab with Drumsound & Bassline Smith which also happens to be the first collab I wrote.
What’s the idea behind the video for ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’?
I wanted to step away from a generic love theme and draw parallels between breaking up with a person, with breaking away from a substance or addiction and I felt an AA meeting was perfect for this. I liked the fact that although the people who are at this meeting are struggling, they are taking a positive step in recovery. Much like in a dead end relationship, breaking it off and going through that struggle is the first step to moving on and feeling better.
How did it feel to have ‘Judgement Day’ be picked up for Suits?
Incredible! It’s one of my favourite shows and part of the reason why I love it so much, is the songs they use, so to even be considered for the show was a compliment, let alone actually being used!
The song makes obvious sense in the Suits context, but what was the message behind ‘Judgement Day’ for you?
It was quite funny actually; I did sit there and question whether I had actually written it for that specific scene, as it fit perfectly with what the song means to me- finally facing up to your guilt! ‘Judgement Day’ is just a massive song about manning up.
We recently heard that you spend a lot of time travelling down from Birmingham to London. Is there any temptation to move your life down there, or does it not appeal to you?
Every day! Being candid I need to move to London, it’s just a cost issue; being a musician and living in London is something that is becoming increasingly more difficult! Thank God my car is warm, and my friend’s sofas are comfortable!
Do you feel that the Midlands are underrepresented on the music scene?
I don’t think so; we have some amazing musical heritage in the Midlands and some amazing big bands but in saying that there is always room for more!
What’s next for you?
More of the same! Keep my head down, keep working hard and keep making the music I want to make.