He took the crown as the first winner of The Voice South Africa and since winning the competition last year, Richard Stirton has become a household name. He recently dropped his debut album ‘Middle Ground’ and this week, the star opens up about his time on the competition, the new album and what 2017 has in store for him.

It’s been a few months since you became the first winner of The Voice South Africa. How has life changed since then?

My life has changed drastically since winning the show. I am able to pursue my dream of a career in music and I probably played more gigs in the first three weeks after the show than I had in my entire life. If I hadn’t done The Voice I would be studying for final exams right now. I have been able to record original music and release my first album, Middle Ground. I am now able to play music for a living and pursue my dreams in the music industry.

What is the biggest lesson the show has taught you now that you’ve just released your debut album?

Less is more. There is often more power in holding back than over-doing or over-using certain elements of your voice. I do think that this also applies to lots of things in life. Know what you can do, but choose when is the best time to use it. If you overdo something it loses a the essence that makes it special.

You released ‘What Tears Me The Most’ as your debut singles. What was your initial reaction when you first heard the song and do you think it was a fitting introduction?

Yes. It was very fitting to where I was in my life and even now with regards to the life-change of constant travelling and being away from your loved ones. It is a relatively stripped track with organic instrumentation and sounds, which is something I’ve always been about growing up. Organic music always seems to resonate with me that much more.

You’ve released your new single ‘Break The Silence’ recently as well. What inspired that track?

We wanted the second single to be more light-hearted, young and uplifting than the first, which was quite serious. I wanted the fun side of me to come out in this second single. We are so stuck in our mundane day-to-day lives and the hustle and bustle and noise of the big city life that we sometimes forget to take a step back. It’s the idea of leaving the noise of the city, getting away with someone you love, to a beautiful place in nature and just being.

You went straight into the studio after winning The Voice. Did you feel the pressure since the album was due for release just a few months after you won?

The actual recording process wasn’t the issue. It was more pressure from an album sound and creative choice point of view. I really just wanted to give an honest album, full of substance with a feel of longevity about it. I wanted depth in the lyrics, honesty in the vocal delivery and power in the music that would make an impact on the listeners, long after the hype of the show has died down.

Tell us a bit more about the tracks on the album.

The general theme is based around relationships and the different dynamics and phases/experiences that come with these relationships. The goal of the album is to be able to connect and resonate with people due to its relevant themes.

What does 2017 have in store for you?

I am just going to try and play as many gigs as possible and work on reaching as many people as possible. We want to set up tours all around South Africa to get to as many people as possible. I am also just going to work at myself as a musician as much as possible. I am going to work harder at understanding music, you really can never stop practicing and working in this industry. I also want to organize an overseas tour. I want to reach as many people as possible and that’s a great way of doing it.

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