He is riding the crest of the wave, but in the months since Richard Stirton won Season 1 of The Voice, instantly catapulting him to musical stardom, he has lost none of the humility that has made him one of Rondebosch’s favourite sons.
When the Tatler last caught up with Richard in May (“Richard raises his voice to win reality show”, Tatler, May 26), he had just come off the back of his astonishing win in the popular reality show.
At the time, the former Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupil and UCT BComm management student was still trying to come to terms with what his victory would mean for his future.
Four months later, it is clear that his star has never shone more brightly.
Within hours of its release on June 10, his debut single, What Tears Me The Most, shot to Number 1 on the iTunes singles charts, holding this position for a solid week.
This was followed by the release of his debut music video for the chart-topping single, coupled with a frenetic schedule that has seen him playing gigs all around the country. In other words, Richard Stirton has arrived.
“It’s been a wild ride, but I feel as though I’ve learnt more in the past few months than I did when I was studying,” he said this week. “When I sang (the Simon & Garfunkel and Disturbed hit) Sounds of Silence I thought it was great, but I also thought that it was nostalgic for a lot of people. But when What Tears Me The Most did well, I was blown away.”
However, it has always been at the back of Richard mind that an album would ultimately be the yardstick by which he will be measured, and last month he announced the offering would be titled Middle Ground, due for release later this month.
“An album is the whole game. You can have success with a single, but it changes when you release an album. I have been incredibly lucky with Universal Music. They have given me the chance to include my own songs on my debut album, which is almost unheard of. I am very proud of what is coming, and I really hope people enjoy it.”
With such a busy schedule, it is a wonder that Richard has found any time to relax at all, but he has made a point of visiting his family whenever he is in Cape Town.
“I think it’s easy to forget that this isn’t just happening to me; it has been life-changing for them as well. So we just try to relax and enjoy each other’s company,” he said.
“I have tried to organise a braai with 10 or 20 of my mates, but two days before the braai I was called back to Johannesburg.
“Those are the guys who have been with me from the beginning.
“For me, it is very important to remain grounded, which speaks to the title of the album. I look at (British singer-songwriter) Ed Sheeran. He played to a crowd of 240 000 people at Wembley Stadium, and then two days later he went back to the pub where he used to work and bought the owner a drink to say thank you.
“There is no point in getting a big head.”
That being said, he knows that in order to truly make a name for himself he will have to crack the international markets.
“The goal is to be international. It reaffirms what you are doing, to get to as many people as possible in the hope they enjoy your music.”