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Emerging Artist Of The Month: Ben Stubbs

February's Emerging Artist of the Month hasn't followed trends conventional to Islanders in the music industry.

Ben Stubbs strode the boards of sticky clubs, bars and pubs to pay his dues — with a dream now within touching distance after two decades of writing and performing.

The talented singer-songwriter launched a Kickstarter campaign to ensure the release of his debut LP came to fruition.

Isle of Wight Radio spoke to the 33-year-old about his journey to this point and the bright future ahead.

Hi Ben, you’re about to release your debut album – how exciting is that?

Very!

The album — "Light of my Life" — is evolving every day at the moment.

There are a lot of different genres included — some songs are a bit rocky, some bluesy and others have a country edge.

 

Who is Light of My Life dedicated to?

The title-track is about my partner Abi, a lot of inspiration comes from my relationship with her.

 

Is there a definite release date for the album yet?

If all goes well, we're looking at Star Wars day — May the fourth.

It's a memorable date and will kick-start the summer months!
 

 

Speaking of kick-starting, you were supported through a fundraising campaign, weren't you?

Yes, and I can't express how grateful I am to the people who put their trust and money behind me through my Kickstarter.

It's the most important thing I've done music wise, and to have the support I received... I don't have the words to say how much I appreciate it.

 

Where are you recording the album and who else is involved with it?

It's being recorded at Empire Sound in Newport — the Homes brothers (Jim and Rob who run the studio) are fantastic.

The whole idea of the album is to keep it as locally based as possible.

Tommy Burnhams will be on guitar, Rob Berry on drums, Ollie Ducie on bass and Steve Hodge on the keys.

I've also got JC Grimshaw coming in on mandolin and we're hoping a brilliant singer called Rosie Sales will be involved as well.

 


This hasn’t been an overnight thing has it, how difficult has it been to get to this point?

It's been a long road, from the age of 14 I've been writing songs and stayed really active with it until I had an eight-year hiatus from the pad and pen.

Covid lockdown kicked in (in 2020) and the live gigs dropped off. Suddenly I was feeling fed up, which I used as fuel to motivate me to start writing again.

Since then I've had renewed vigour and written a lot of new music from there.

 

What advice would you give aspiring musicians from the Island?

Don't overdo it, don't force yourself to write or create. It needs to come from the right place.

You can write from any state of motivation or inspiration, but more often than not the best songs will come from a place of authenticity.

 

What’s your favourite gig you’ve played so far?

The Isle of Wight Festivals have given me a taste of what it's like to be a professional musician.

The crowds enjoying my music have been a real boost to my self-esteem.

 

Has Wet Leg winning two GRAMMY Awards and being up for four BRITs changed the landscape for local talent?

Absolutely, quite often as a musician on the Island it can feel like there's no way of breaking through the barrier.

Seeing Wet Leg and others doing so well has created new roots for musicians here to get their stuff across the Solent.

 

Are there any other Isle of Wight musicians people should look out for?

There are so many great musicians on the Island.

I tell everyone to listen to Champs and Swan Levitt — it's glorious music.


On reflection: Ben rates Swan Levitt as one of the Island's most talented musicians

 

What does the rest of 2023 hold for you?

I'm balancing the standard covers gigs with the album launch and hoping to get a slot at the Isle of Wight Festival again.

I'd like to possibly tour later in the year, so the horizon has a lot of very exciting things to come.

 

Take a peek at the previous Emerging Artists of the Month below:

November — Josh White

December — Phoenix Lopes

January 2023 — Meg Rasmussen

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