South African singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowan Stuart shares the defiant, alt-pop banger ‘Empire’. Motivational, melancholy, and thoughtful, the single balances empowering, heartfelt lyricism with catchy melodies and striking piano led instrumentation to create a track packed with depth and commercial appeal.
At the age of 11, Rowan Stuart discovered the guitar, and with it, the ultimate key to unlock the worlds that had existed in his mind. He took to the instrument naturally, becoming a sought-after session guitarist from a young age. But he had always felt the need to tell his own stories, and so in 2008, he took a leap of faith and stepped into the spotlight as a singer-songwriter, releasing his debut album, A Thousand Brand New Places. Now with five more solo albums under his belt, Rowan Stuart continues his quest to bridge the gap between reality and fantasy with his signature style of Story-Driven Dream Folk Pop.
In his own words: “My job is to find the glint of magic in the mundane, and to carefully chisel away until something rare and majestic reveals itself. This is my sanctuary, and it is here for anyone who needs a refuge from the chaos of modern life, and who could do with a little more meaningful escapism in their own life.”
In 2023, Rowan Stuart is set to kick off a six-month music release plan, starting in March with lead single ‘Empire’, followed by more songs in the coming months. These releases will be punctuated by a ‘post-apocalyptic fairytale’ aesthetic, inspired by the dystopian nature of present-day life, and his love of science fiction and fantasy.
‘Empire’ started with a piano idea that came out unexpectedly while Rowan Stuart was arranging another song on his PC. It had this ominous, apocalyptic, urgent feel about it, which inspired the direction of the song.
The verse and pre-chorus ideas came immediately, whereas the chorus melody took months of experimenting, on and off, before something sounded powerful enough. The instrumentation includes piano, acoustic guitar, samples, programming, and vocals.
Rowan Stuart wrote more lyrics for this song than almost any other song he can remember; enough to take the song in about four different directions. In the end, he decided to combine his favourite lines and aspects of each of the directions into one song, linked by the ‘empire’ lyric, which gave the entire track focus.
On ‘Empire’ he presents exquisite songwriting, superb storytelling, along with his captivating voice, that will draw the listener in from the very first note.
‘Empire’ by Rowan Stuart is out now, listen below: