Last month saw the release of The Voice 2017 winner, Craig Lucas‘ debut album – Restless, through Universal Music South Africa. Tracks included on the album comprises of brand new songs, two covers and a few reworks of tracks that Craig wrote a while back. We caught up with the man himself and found out all about the hard work that went into the making of Restless.
Congratulations on the release of your debut EP. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music before?
Thank you. My sound is definitely POP. The thing I love about pop music is how far you can take it – pop music is almost an amalgamation of all the other genres of music, you can take it in so many different directions, it leaves you with a lot of space to explore. “RESTLESS” is mostly an uptempo album, but there are many alternative and darker elements that find their way into the music whether it be sonically or lyrically, which stems from the darker more alternative music that I tend to listen to.
RESTLESS is mostly an uptempo album, but there are many alternative and darker elements that find their way into the music whether it be sonically or lyrically, which stems from the darker more alternative music that I tend to listen to
Where was the album recorded and what was the atmosphere like there?
The album was recorded in three studios, each one very different from the other. Some of the tracks were recorded with Peach van Pletzen (Bittereinde) at Open Room Studios. It was a very closed and intimate space and allowed us to focus and finish the music in no time. I also recorded with Ewald Janse van Rensburg (Monark) at his home studio in Potchefstroom. This was a pretty cool experience – he let me into his home, I spent about a week there. It was very laidback and informal – we recorded five songs in five days! I then came back to Cape Town to finish the final songs with Bubele Booi and David Balshaw (Noble). It was great to be back home – I felt very inspired. The studio was covered in fairy lights and the entire experience felt almost magical. All in all, despite the crazy time pressure we were under, the atmosphere at all three studios were very laid back.
You worked with some renowned South African producers on this album. How did the production process work?
We had written all the songs for the album and had a number of producers on hand that we could use. We essentially paired the tracks with the producers we thought would suit it better given their previous work. The producers and I would spend some time brainstorming the direction we wanted the music to go in, and build the track from there. I would be with them whilst they produce the music. After we were happy with the musical direction, I would lay down vocals and leave it to the producers to finish the track while staying in constant communication with them.
The studio was covered in fairy lights and the entire experience felt almost magical
The album was written with a variety of co-writers. Can you describe the writing process, how an average writing day unfolded?
The writing process was my favourite part. I had written many songs over the years (most of them incomplete). I would meet another writer and play them my music – if they thought we could do anything with it, we would work together to rework or finish the track. Hearts Exposed (co-written with Dominic Neill), Young & Stupid and Burning (co-written with Jethro Tait) are examples of these. If we struggled to make anything out of the songs I had, we would try to write from scratch. We completed at least one song a day (sometimes even two or three). We would meet up at about 10am and write until about 4pm trying to get as much out as we can. Some songs took all day to write (They don’t really care about us) whilst others came together very quickly (Smother).
The music video for I Said This features six fans, chosen through a competition. Can you tell us about how this all came about and worked?
I feel such a big obligation to give back to my fans for all the support that they’ve given me throughout my journey on The Voice. When we were discussing the ideas for the music video we came up with the party scene and thought that would be a cool way to incorporate the fans and give something back to them. We ran a competition on Facebook and six winners were selected. I got to spend some time with them before we shot the video and it was such an amazing experience and made shooting the video so much more fun (and I think this shows in the end product). The six winners were also the first to receive my album when it came out as we sent them all a signed copy.
I feel such a big obligation to give back to my fans for all the support that they’ve given me throughout my journey on The Voice
How much did The Voice prepare you for the reality of working in the industry, moving from ‘reality’ TV to real life and work?
The show teaches you discipline and hard work. It teaches you to constantly up your game. Getting to perform with such an incredible band on such a big stage forces you to rise to the challenge and be great. We got a lot of coaching on the “real” music business – from song writing workshops to radio promo tour training. We spent a lot of time with our coaches who are working musicians, and their advice and guidance (both during the show and after) gave us insight into life after the show. This is why The Voice is such a great platform – it cares about its contestants and works hard to make sure we learn as much as possible whether we win the show or not.
Now that the album is complete and released, are you feeling Restless yet about getting to work on the next one?
My mind doesn’t rest – hence the album title. Ive been thinking about the next one a lot. Ive already started working on four new tracks. But I do want to focus on this one. I am extremely proud of what we created and I just want to get as many people to hear it as possible. I want to get better at what I do – performing, singing, writing and producing, so that when the second album comes I am able to do even better.
The Voice is such a great platform – it cares about its contestants and works hard to make sure we learn as much as possible whether we win the show or not
With us coming to the end of 2017, where can people get info about gigs etc?
Where can fans get the album?
The album is available on all major digital platforms: Google Play, Itunes, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal etc.
Hardcopies are available in musica stores nationwide.
Buy / Stream RESTLESS Apple Music