R.A.G. Magazine: Spotlight Interview with Raspin Stuwart
I am thrilled to share this interview I had with Recording Artists Guild's Magazine! My single "Down Low" is available on my latest album, NY2LA.
A Spotlight Interview with Raspin Stuwart
A fresh single from Raspin Stuwart brings on the real deal blues tones and attitude that keeps you reeled in with gospel backing vocals, tremolo guitar, horns, and a variety of deep grooving instrumentation that all start appearing as the song comes together.
"Down Low" is a masterpiece of a bluesman work with a major cinematic feel and approach that creates these smokey and vivid pictures in your head.
Horns are plentiful and all combine at just the right times as they layer, and bop off each other. Sax crushes it on this track and it's so refreshing to hear such a lively and driven track that incorporates this blues and jazz soundscape and melodies, notes, and scales.
The instrumentation on this single is beyond. It grabs you and creates this mysterious atmosphere that you actually don't want to leave. You want to stay there right in it and experience it all for what it is.
This is the work of a seasoned songwriter and musician in general. Raspin Stuwart has had his fingers in the pot for years and it certainly shows on this one.
There is a gusto behind this single. There is something that gives it that edge and it's his character. That character is impactful and real. It's genuine and you trust him completely.
The vocals are soulful and performed with this live undertone like you can feel the players energies feeding off of each other the entire time.
It's all quite impressive and really humbling at the same time.
With the release of a true grit blues single, we wanted to have a chat with Raspin Stuwart to find out where this all comes from and what may be next for the artist.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with "Down Low". This single has a great swagger and cinematic undertone to it! Where did this track come from?
So, this is a funny story. I performed at a club and afterwards, someone said, “your songs are so simple but they’re great”. Later that night, I remembered the old Blues singers who wrote the most stirring songs with just one chord. Robert Johnson, especially. I set out to write a song with one chord… but in the end, it became a song with two chords! Once I got the hook down, the rest of it just came alive. It’s got a swampy vibe which gives it a rawness that is perfect for when I play it live. People seem to love the song. And I love performing it.
RAG: So how did this all begin for you? When did you fall in love with music?
From a very young age, I just loved to sing. It was just what I did. My sister Lou gave me my first acoustic guitar. I wanted to learn how to play so badly so I taught myself! I started writing my own songs immediately. My Mom bought me my second guitar – my parents were so supportive of me. I fell in love with music when I was a kid – I suppose that even then it spoke to me on a deep, soulful level that even now I don’t fully understand.
RAG: Who is in your headphones right now?
I listen to a lot of Bossa Nova music these days… it’s so relaxing and summery. Lots of old classic jazz too. Louis Armstrong especially. I love Louis Armstrong.
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
I think I find the inspiration for my songs in human connection and conversation. I listen to people talk and I pick up phrases from them. Those conversations or phrases create a whole song in my head. I write political songs with hope. There has certainly been no shortage of inspiration in that area lately.
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I am inspired by great Blues artists, folk singers and musicians who had a tremendous amount of style and stage presence when they performed. Artists like Cat Stevens or Louis Armstrong or Boz Scaggs. And of course, my old favorites: Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Chapin, Nick Drake, Miles Davis, Patti LaBelle, Bette Midler, Peter Frampton... Oh wow, I could just go on and on! Really diverse and classic.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
I’m a mellow person and I enjoy my me time. I love to read a good book. My back patio at home is my sanctuary and I spend a lot of time out there meditating under the trees, listening to the wind chimes and birds… Oh, and I LOVE cooking… I really enjoy cooking for friends and family. My favorite thing to cook right now is carne asada tacos.
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?
Oh my God – live performance is my life. I am absolutely living when I am on stage with a mic and my guitar. A stage is my temple and I find performing to be very spiritual. I used to be in plays and performances as a kid. It’s really about the audience too – when they’re in it and having a good time I can feel it – it’s a form of artistic communication. I love it when people yell out my songs for me to play live. Performing is just so fulfilling. It gives me so much joy. And I feel so blessed to share my music with the world!
RAG: This single feels like a big undertaking (Down Low). Is there any advice you'd give to any up-and-coming artists out there?
Oh yes, it was a big undertaking. To get the right sound, it took an extreme amount of people and help. So many people really showed up for this song. As they say, it takes a village. We had a whole horn section and 9 background singers. Recording Down Low was really about the feeling and the mood of all of us. It was incredible.
To up-and-coming artists I would say keep your mental health at the forefront. Take care of yourself, and most of all, enjoy what you are doing. Say yes to every good opportunity that comes your way and don’t look back. Be fearless.
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
I’m going to put out a few singles soon. After 2 years of being pretty isolated, it’s been a new experience to perform and be out in the world again. I’ve been inspired by a world that is coming back to light. Simple things like face-to-face eye contact, shaking someone’s hand… I’ve been writing a lot and am working on a collection for a new album. And I’m performing too. I’m always performing somewhere.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Thank you to my fans! I am humbled and truly appreciate all the support and love that you have given to me. I love you and hope that you have beauty and peace in your lives.