Earlier this year, Craig Lucas won the successful second season of The Voice South Africa and quickly went into the studio to record his debut album. Now, after releasing the singles ‘I Said This’ and ‘Smother’, the star has finally released ‘Restless’. This week, we catch up with the singer as he opens up about his experience on the reality show, the recording process and what the inspiration behind his new single is.
‘Restless’, your debut album, is finally here! What was the biggest lesson The Voice taught you in preparation for recording this album?
I don’t think I really fit the pop star mold. I was always a little weird and awkward and different. Even the way I sang was different. For some reason the public really appreciated that. They appreciated the way I sang and performed despite it being different and this taught me to love everything about me that makes me different and I embraced it and channeled it into the writing, singing and production on restless.
What makes ‘I Said This’ the perfect introduction to you as a solo artist?
‘I Said This’ is straight-forward. It is simple and soulful. I prefer taking a less is more approach to music and I feel like I said this encapsulated that perfectly.
‘Smother’ is doing incredibly as well. What inspired that song?
Jethro Tait, who I co-wrote the song with, had this guitar riff that he liked and had the line “go ahead and smother me” in his head. This was such a strong line and contained strong imagery. We channeled this and built the song from there. We drew on past toxic relationships we’d been in and the lyrics and melodies just flowed. The song was finished in less than an hour! We were both really surprised and very proud of ourselves.
The songwriting on the record is one of the standout elements. Talk to us a bit about the songwriting process and the stories you wanted to share here.
I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter. I have written so many songs over the years, but never got the chance to write with anybody. I always struggled to finish songs by myself, and here, I got the chance to work with incredible songwriters like Dominic Neill, Jethro Tait, Bubele Booi and David Balshaw. They took my own songs to the next level. A number of songs I wrote years ago made it on to the album and we also wrote some songs from scratch. We would spend about 8 hours a day writing as much as we could and wrote at least one song a day. It was my favorite part of the whole process.
Although ultimately a pop record, you tap into multiple genres on this record. How important is combining various genres and elements into your music?
It wasn’t really intentional. I listen to all kinds of music and I think that just naturally flowed into the music I made. Pop music is the most diverse genre and that’s why I love it. It gives you so much space to explore which makes creating music so much more fun.
Which song on the record means the most to you?
My favorite song on the album is ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us’. We wrote this song shortly after winning the show. I was broke as hell and stuck in a new big city all by myself. Things were so chaotic and I was starting to get depressed. I missed my friends and my family. I just wanted to go home. I went out a lot and met so many new people but none of it fulfilled me. Writing that song helped me get rid of a lot of the frustration I was feeling.
Performing live and in the studio is incredibly different. How different was your time in the studio to that preparing for a live performance on The Voice?
The first couple of days in studio were very intimidating. I didn’t know much of what was going on and knew that I was working with industry greats. Everyone I worked with was so cool though. They quickly made me feel welcome and respected and appreciated. My input counted and they appreciated my talent. Studio time has become extremely enjoyable and way less stressful than live performances.
Now that the album is out, what do the next few months have in store for you?
I am going to go on tour take my music to as many people as possible. I believe in this album and want to make sure I do my best and work my ass off to ensure that it is successful. I also want to spend the next year improving as a singer, performer, writer and producer, learning as much as I can and making the best of all these opportunities I’m getting. I am also looking into doing a few collaborations.
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