Interviews

UK Singer-Songwriter Stealth Talks Collaboration with Dap-Kings, Musical Inspirations and What’s Next

After releasing his hit single “Judgment Day,” UK singer-songwriter Stealth has been busy playing shows and working on his own music. The bluesy singer teamed up with esteemed funk and soul band Dap-Kings on his latest track, “Black Heart.” Busy with an official SXSW showcase and more music on the way, check out what Stealth has to say about the experience!

You have a beautifully bluesy sound to your voice. Who were some of your inspirations when creating your sound?

Elvis was my first big musical obsession. Then, I started to delve into the music that inspired him—artists like Big Mama Thornton—and just fell down the rabbit hole. Since then, I’ve been drawn to voices that have a realness about them. At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Sean Rowe, who has a huge baritone voice. It’s incredible.

Being a singer-songwriter, what has your experience been like being on a more electronic-leaning label like Ultra Music? Do you find that there is more room to collaborate or experience other genres while you write?

It’s been great. Although Ultra is an electronic-leaning label, all [of] the fam seem to be into all sorts of music, and they have actively encouraged me to make the music I want to make, which isn’t always the case for new artists signing to such a big label. Also, the writers Ultra have on the publishing side are very eclectic musically, and I’ve been working a lot with them on the camps, which has been a fun experience for all involved.

How did your collaboration come about with the Dap-Kings?

I’ve always been a fan of the Dap-Kings—loved the Charles Bradley stuff and their collaboration with Sharon Jones. It was kind of a shot in the dark on my part. I asked the label if it would be possible, and next thing I know, I’m on the phone [with] Gabe, the bass player and boss man. [It’s] a perfect example of how Ultra has really supported me in being the artist I want to be.

You say that “Black Heart” is “about noticing the little things a person does before they break up with you.” Do you think this is something that many people can relate to and resonate with?

I think so. Everyone has sat there at the end of a relationship and noticed the distance, the lack of interest. There’s always a bit of resentment there if we’re truly honest.

How was the process of collaborating with Dap-Kings on this track?

Incredible—a dream come true. It was a proper recording session. No computers, all on tape. We rehearsed in the morning and tracked in the afternoon. It felt like the 70s.

You found a lot of success with your hit single “Judgement Day.” How do you think “Black Heart” has followed it?

It’s too early to tell really. I’m getting a great reaction from it. Everyone loves the song, and that’s all I can ask for.

What has been your favorite live performance so far? You’ve opened up for some great acts. Are there any that stand out?

Kaleo was pretty special. It was my first real show in my hometown, and it was packed. It was just me and my guitarist, and to have 3,000 people really listen to you with that stripped back set up is pretty mind-blowing.

If you could have a song in any TV show or movie what would it be?

Suits was always the dream, but since that has already happened, I’d have to say Peaky Blinders.

Anything we can look forward to from you?

New music along with more live shows, my next being at the Hoxton Bar &Grill in London on May 21!

Check out “Black Heart” below and be sure to keep tabs on Stealth!

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