Hobbie Stuart tells Pressparty about his fans, sneaky YouTube campaigns, and debut album
Brighton based singer-songwriter Hobbie Stuart recently sat down for a chat with Pressparty at the Amazon Summer Wish List event in London and opened up about the direction of his debut album, the dedication his fans have shown him, and how social media has played a huge part in his career to date.
1. Social media has played a huge part in your career so far – you used to upload covers to YouTube, is that right? It’s a very DIY approach to getting noticed.
That’s how I started about 3 years ago; I uploaded my cover of Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’ and since then it has gone very well! When I first started I put up my first video and I left it for a bit, put it on Facebook and overnight it got about 200 views. I was like, ‘well, that’s not enough to get myself a record deal’. So, what I did… I made 30 fake accounts on YouTube and then I’d log on to my account and post a comment on the official video for ‘Only Girl In The World’ like, “Hi guys, I’m a singer and I’ve done a cover of this song, please check it out”, then I’d log on to all of my fake accounts and would ‘like’ it from each one. It’d get 30 ‘likes’ on a comment and it’d go into the top comments section! That’s how I started picking up loads of fans.
I did it before I went to work, during my lunch break… after work! I was working in a call centre for Sky, just selling insurance. Then I moved to an American Express call centre. I’ve done a lot of time in the call centres!
2. Do you think social media is a useful platform for aspiring singer-songwriters?
100%. I only see the benefit. I love Facebook and Twitter, I’m on there all the time replying to fans. Apart from my music, it’s the most important thing in my career.
3. Favourite cover you’ve done?
My favourite one is probably Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’.
4. Brighton lad – what do you think about other artists from Brighton who have become successful such as Rizzle Kicks and Conor Maynard?
Brighton’s buzzing in a lot of ways and especially in music. There are a lot of people doing great things. I was inspired by people like Rizzle Kicks and Conor Maynard coming up and doing well, proving that you can do it and that anyone can do it. It’s inspiring being around people like that… I have a lot of respect for them.
5. What will 2014 bring? Will you release a debut album?
I’m doing some festivals in the summer, some shows before then, a big tour in the autumn, an album in the summer; I’m releasing some singles – a lot of stuff going down! My influences kind of range from Drake, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars to The Weekend… just some sweet vibes!
I’ve worked with some really great producers. There’s Fraser T. Smith (Adele), I’ve worked with Andrew Frampton (The Script, Olly Murs), Toby Gad (Beyoncé). I’ve worked with some very talented people and some very established producers.
6. Your new single, ‘Still Here’, will be released next month. Are you excited about the reception you’re getting? People seem keen to buy it and you have a huge following on Twitter already.
On the 23rd of February ‘Still Here’ is being released, then 2 more singles and my album will come out. It’s a cool track, not one of my favourites but it’s a good song. It’s never too late to do something different for yourself.
7. Fans? Crazy fan experiences?
Some fans found out where I live and left a package with any food that I’ve ever tweeted about – things like Nutella, Kit Kats and Sugar Puffs! Yeah!
8. Are you excited about releasing your debut album? How long have you been writing music and singing?
No.1 album. I’m very excited – it’s what my life has been leading up to. I wrote my first song when I was 11! It was a song called ‘Broken Pieces’ about a homeless person… I don’t really know why I wrote about a homeless person, but it was a good little tune. I’ve been playing music, singing, and writing for a very long time. I play guitar… there’s loads of me playing guitar on the record! It’s a big mixture. There’s a dance track, there’s an R&B track, there’s a winter banger, there’s a summer banger… all time of the year, all different emotions!
To check out Hobbie Stuart along with and other great new and emerging artists, and to download exclusive free tracks, be sure to visit Amazon’s MP3 Store.
Watch Hobbie's music video for 'Still Here', which features Ghetts, below:
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