One To Watch: Hobbie Stuart

Never heard of Hobbie Stuart? – looks like I got here just in time then. Hailing from the English seaside town of Brighton, Stuart is a pop singer-songwriter and online vlogger.

hobbie stuart hotline bling screen shot

Since 2010 Stuart has been uploading cover videos, original tracks, and the occasional vlog to his YouTube channel. Throughout the years he has amassed over 300,000 subscribers, racked up an impressive 28 million views, gained over 150 thousand Facebook likes and 104 thousand Twitter followers – and it’s easy to see (or hear) why.

Alongside his few follow-me-around style videos, Stuart predominantly uses his channel to promote his music – posting cover versions of popular tracks. He frequently records mash-ups of chart hits, and they’re always done with such finesse and fluidity that you start to think they actually belong together. For instance, one of the first covers I heard from him was his version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Sing’ and Disclosure’s ‘Latch’.

Accompanied by nothing more than a delicate acoustic guitar, Stuart’s vocals are flawless as he moves between the smooth notes of his lower register into his beautifully captivating falsetto, the two tracks flowing together seamlessly as he segues from one to another like they were made that way.

As well as pop, Stuart has also been known to put his stamp on R’n’B songs from the likes of Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa and Drake – including this acoustic version of ‘Hotline Bling’.

Originally by Drake, Stuart’s rendition also incorporates The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ – and again, the two work brilliantly together. The softly seductive combination of the melodic guitar and Stuart’s honey-voiced drizzle is mesmerising, giving a romantic vibe to the whole thing.

Stuart has also collaborated with fellow YouTuber, and close friend, Gabriella Lindley (AKA Velvet Gh0st) on a cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’, in a recent duet featured on her channel.

Lindley’s strong soprano sound acts as a contrast to Stuart’s bold lower register, and the two complement each other brilliantly, combining to produce some stunning harmonies throughout. The melody also changes slightly, to include a surprise snippet of another popular love-song, and the stripped-back arrangement intensifies the vocals and allows the song to really make an impact.

Stuart has also shared a selection of his own material on YouTube, including demos as well as fully produced tracks like ‘Day One’.

This romantically poignant ballad demonstrates, not only Stuart’s stellar vocals, but his ability to pen a chart-worthy song. It really makes you question why he is not a widely recognised artist because personally, I could definitely hear this on the radio.

In addition to his online content, Stuart has also embarked on a number of tours during his career – most recently in March this year – hitting cities like London, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow and even Paris.

March 2015 tour poster

So if you’re interest has been piqued and you’re now wondering where you can get your mitts on some of Stuart’s music, you’re in luck. You can pick up his 2013 single ‘Still Here’, and five track EP of the same name, on ITunes – and there could soon be a new release on the horizon. Stuart teased in a recent vlog that he’s currently working on an EP, as well as new song ‘Someone To Love You’, both of which should appear in a few months. (Excited face!)

Overall verdict:

Personally I’m loving Stuart’s music at the moment, I think he has an incredible voice, and I love the stripped-back acoustic sound. I’m really enjoying listening to what he currently has online, and I’d be really interested in seeing him live to hear some more of his original material.

Favourite Tracks:

Day One

Hotline Bling cover

Latch/Sing cover

If you want to keep up to date with everything Hobbie’s up to with his music and vlogs, check him out on:

YouTube      Twitter       Instagram      Facebook      Soundcloud

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Journaling In January: My Top 6 Favourite Covers

Good evening readers,

I wrote a Journaling In January post at the start of the month about cover versions of songs and my thoughts on them in general (if you haven’t seen that post click here.) I’m a total sucker for a really good cover; I love it when an artist can breathe new life into a song and transform it, whether that be by modifying the arrangement, switching up the vocal style, or completely changing the genre of the song.

It is a hard job to take a track people already know and turn it on its head, to attempt to re-write people’s perceptions of it and make it good. It’s easy to make a bad cover, it’s harder to make one that’s so good it rivals the original.

When I started compiling this list I slightly took for granted how difficult it was going to be, given that there are a lot of covers out there that I like. For that reason I decided not to include covers from TV talent shows – I.E The Voice and The X Factor – as well as the fact that if I did, this list would just go on forever. Instead, I have simply opted for the ones that have stuck in my mind, because they must have made a lasting impression for a reason right?

 

#6 Harder to Breathe  – Anavae and Tides (originally by Maroon 5)

While not a million miles away from the original version, the arrangement of this cover makes the track sound fuller and gives it more dimension. The guitar has also been amped up which gives more of a straight rock feel. This version turns the track into a duet consisting of both male and female vocals, the strength of the two voices complimenting each other brilliantly and working with the instrumental to add light and shade throughout.

 

#5 The Liar and the Lighter – Gabrielle Aplin
(originally by You Me At Six)

This takes the guitar-lead, raw-sounding original and completely transforms it into an understated yet powerful, almost haunting, track. The addition of the piano and high female vocals add a certain poignancy, and the arrangement works to give a whole new emotionality to the lyrics.

 

#4 Wrecking Ball – James Arthur (originally by Miley Cyrus)

This stripped back piano-led version of Cyrus’s hit Wrecking Ball, sees the X Factor winner put his soulful stamp on the UK number 1 single… and what a powerful stamp it is. If you’re not a fan of Miley Cyrus, or the song, I recommend listening to this cover because it may just change your mind.

 

#3 Empty Space – Rogue Re Vera (originally by The Story So Far)

If you follow me on any social media, or if you’re a regular visitor to my blog, then you may know that I’ve been really into this band lately. I actually included this in a previous Tracks I’m Loving post so rather than repeat myself – because what I have to say would be much the same – simply click HERE if you’d like to know why this cover made it into my Top 6.

 

#2 Give Me Love – Demi Lovato (originally by Ed Sheeran)

Simply put, this is a beautiful cover of a great song. The whole thing has a compelling sense of emotional honesty to it. The delicate sounding verses add a sense of vulnerability, while the middle-eight adds a whole new dynamic, beautifully showing off the power-house vocals that Lovato possesses.

 

#1 Uptown Funk – Against the Current ft. Set It Off (originally by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars)

This is my most recent discovery; orchestral pop-rockers Set It Off and fellow pop-rock three piece Against the Current, teamed up for this cover of Uptown Funk – and it’s pretty great. I was dubious at first, I didn’t think I’d ever hear a cover of this song that even came close to the original, but I love the rock edge that these two bands have given it. Chrissy Costanza’s strong and powerful vocals add a whole new vibe to the track, and Set It Off’s Cody Carson is as sassy as ever, his smooth, unique vocals harboring a slight R’n’B twinge. The two complement each other brilliantly and I can’t get enough of it at the moment.

 

Ok so, I’m kind of breaking my own rule here but I couldn’t end this post without mentioning this song somewhere. If you’re a fan of The Voice USA then you may know that ex-Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope captured the nation’s heart when she won the competition back in 2012. Pope delivered an unrivalled vocal performance on the show each week and sang some amazing covers, but there was one that has always stood out to me more so than most.

Pope’s cover of Country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert’s emotional ballad Over You completely turned the tides. Praised by all four celebrity coaches for her ability to connect with the lyrics and convey the poignancy of the song, as well as her astounding range, the cover also went on to top the ITunes all-genre chart – and it’s easy to hear why.

This cover gives me chills every time I hear it and I can’t help but get a little teary-eyed. I think that if a track has the ability to have such a strong effect no matter how many times you’ve heard it, it’s definitely a mark of something great.

 

Thank you for reading my Top 6 Covers, and I hope that it maybe inspired you to give some of the songs a try. What do you think of the covers? Are there any covers that you think  I should know about? Do you have a favourite cover that has always stuck in your mind? Let me know in a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.