Stuart Landon is one of our favourite artists here at Belles and Gals, having appeared at a number of our gigs over the last few years, as well as being nominated for ‘Male Artist of the Year’ in the upcoming UK Country Music Spotlight Awards (winner will be announced on February 23rd). We caught up with Stuart this week ahead of the release of his brand new single ‘I Sinned’, which is released on Monday!
Hi Stuart, Congratulations on the upcoming release of ‘I Sinned’, your brand new single. It’s a deeply introspective and hard-hitting song. I guess this was one of your tougher writes?
Thank you, I’m not sure if it was any tougher to write, I think it was just a case of being a little bit more open and honest with the writing of this song. A bit more of baring my soul.
You’re heavily involved in all aspects of the song – as well as the writing, you recorded, mixed and produced the song yourself. Is this a usual approach, or is there something about this song that wanted you to be involved at every stage?
I’m always involved at every stage of recording no matter where or who I record with. I do have my own studio so it just makes sense to utilise it. I can’t take all the credit though, I did get some help recording the drums from my band mate Chris Bucknall and my friend singer/songwriter Sam Beeton, who actually played the drums as well, I also use my bass player Neil Jacks and my manager Charlotte Elizabeth as sounding boards through the whole process.
How do you approach release day of a new single? Are you someone who watches the charts, and checks social media for reaction? Or do you have a relaxed ‘It is what it is’ attitude?
I think I’m a bit of both, I do believe that what will be will be, because you can only influence people so much on social media, but I also believe that as an artist I have a duty to help promote the songs we release.
2019 was a big year for you, both in terms of releases and amazing success on the live circuit. How do you look back on last year – and do you see yourself in a different place at the start of 2020, to where you were at the start of last year?
I try not to look back at what we have done, I believe you should never rest on your laurels and should always look forward at what else you can achieve, it’s a notoriously hard business and very competitive, so I think you always have to try and work harder than everyone else.
You are managed by Charlotte Elizabeth, one of a small, but growing number of female managers in the industry and have an artist/manager relationship that seems incredibly tight. How important is that level of trust between the two of you?
I think it’s incredibly important because like I said in my previous answer, the music business is rough and full of pit falls and unscrupulous people, so to have a team around you that you can trust to not only make the right decisions on your behalf but to match your work ethic as well, I also think in some areas, it’s harder for women to get the respect they deserve, but I think Charlotte navigates it very well.
You’ve been in the industry a number of years now and I guess you’ve seen many changes here in the UK. If you could change one thing on these shores, what would it be?
I think the one change I’d like to see is for British country music to be taken more seriously by the major industry, I’m not naive enough to think we can match the American market, which I think is at odds with itself as much as we are at this moment in time, but they do have bigger resources, obviously a bigger talent pool, because we are only a small country, but I do believe there is some real genuine talent on these shores, and more radio exposure and given a closer equal playlist to imported music would help grow our own talent and give exposure to a market of people who wouldn’t necessarily attend gigs by British artists.
When you look at your career, is there a particular moment that stands out? Or a particular release that you’re most proud of?
I’d like to think I was proud of all my work that I’ve put out, obviously some tracks have been more commercially successful than others, but I approach each one the same. For example, ‘I Can’t Take It Anymore’ was my first number 1 single on both iTunes and Amazon and I was lucky enough that my EP ‘Outmanned, Never Outgunned, remained on the All Time Best Selling charts for a year but that doesn’t come without hard work and pre-planning before and after release. Once you release something it’s really in the lap of the gods so to speak, and you have no real control other than trying to push on social media etc, and remaining in contact with radio stations and ensuring you keep building relationships. Yes, I have had some amazing moments as a performer and played some of the greatest festivals and to large audiences but I always hope that bigger and better ones are around the corner and we continue to work hard to try and make that happen.
As well as your solo projects, you also play with the ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’. Do you want to give the guys in the band a shout?
Yes I’m still in the band, I love playing with the boys, Chris Bucknall, Nei Jacks, Jack Donald and Danny Jordan. As much as I enjoy the acoustic performances, my heart is taking to the stage with the full band and letting people hear what we are about.
Belles and Gals recently announced our new ‘UK Country Music Spotlight Awards’ in which you’ve got a nomination in the ‘Best UK Male Artist’ category. Some artists enjoy nods like this, others are more blasé. What side of the fence do you sit?
I sit firmly on the side of being thankful for any recognition for what I do as an artist, I think if people take the time to recognise your talent and vote for you, or whatever the process is then you should be humble and grateful.
Which artist would you say you most look up to? And if you could have an ideal co-write, would it be with the same person?
I have so many artists I look up to I don’t think I could pick one in particular, as for a co-write I think I’d have to say Steve Earle, he’s written some of my favourite country songs.
To finish Stuart, tell us about your plans for the early part of 2020?
Our 2020 plan will be the same as last year. We always aim to keep working as hard as possible, to keep writing, recording and playing shows. To continue to work as a team and navigate the industry the best way we can and after that who’s knows what will happen!!!
I Sinned is released on Monday 10th February 2020 and the pre order on iTunes is available from Thursday 30th January 2020 – here