Featured Image from Performance at Brighton Music Hall. Photo Credit: Amelia Cordischi
Whether he’s at the top of Yosemite or on tour with musicians like Coldplay, Alessia Cara or Tom Walker, Craig Stickland is capturing the attention of audiences with his raw, soulful voice and poetic lyrics. This characteristic sound is showcased in his new single, “Break Every Rule,” a love song that highlights the lengths people indulge in to show others they love them.
We had a chance to chat with Craig about touring, new music and how music led him to his new design endeavor.
What was it like touring with Tom Walker?
Touring with Tom has been one of the best experiences of my life. He’s incredible, and the people he surrounds himself with couldn’t be any better. They made me feel incredibly welcome from day one, and I really hope to do more touring with them in the future!
Has music always been something you wanted to pursue?
When I was in Highschool, I had the opportunity to join a band who needed a lead singer. When we started writing songs and playing shows I was hooked.
Your most recent single is called “Break Every Rule.” What is one rule that you think every artist should break?
A lot of industry people encourage artists to follow trends, to try to fit into a box of what’s already popular. I think influence is amazing, but emulation is not. To me, the most groundbreaking artists carved their own paths and didn’t listen to outside influence. As an artist, you should be breaking many rules on a daily basis, trying push the boundaries of your chosen art.
You recently posted to instagram about the “journey” of each song and it’s evolution “from the seed of the idea?” Can you elaborate on what your songwriting process is like?
My songwriting process varies from song to song. Sometimes I have a riff which needs a melody and lyrics, sometimes I write just to keep up my writing mind sharp, even when I’m not inspired. In that case, I’ll play guitar or piano and sing whatever comes to mind. The best songs always come when I have a clear vision of exactly what I want the song to be about. Break Every Rule was one of those songs and because of that, I wrote it very quickly, both melody and lyric at the same time.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album?
Fans can expect a 12 song collection of very personal songs. I hope fans can relate to my stories that stemmed from my journey of falling in and out of love while traveling around the world for the last few years.
If you could set up your fans in the perfect environment to listen to your music, what might it look like?
Late at night with the lights off, laying in bed with headphones cranked.
In 2016, you converted a Sprinter van into a solar powered mobile home. What inspired you to do that and how is it holding up; especially on this most recent tour?
I had just come off the road touring with Alessia Cara, and had gotten used to the boogie tour bus life, haha! I knew it needed one of my own, and when I signed my deal, I invested the advance money into something that would help me further my career, and allow me to feel at home while on the road touring. It likes to break down on me all the time, but luckily she’s up and running now and in tip top shape!
Speaking of building things, you have a company called Callus & Co. You design and hand craft music studio furniture. Has building and design always been something you were interested in?
I’ve always liked coming up with a concept in my mind and then executing on it, and there’s something very gratifying about seeing a piece come to life after it started as a simple thought. I’ve always been interested in design, but building the van was the first huge project that gave me the confidence to take on other projects in that space. I started Callus & Co. 7 months ago out of my guesthouse shop, with the intention of creating my own dream home studio, and now we have way too many orders for me to handle them on my own. It’s all been spreading through word of mouth which is pretty insane actually, I’m humbled and grateful!
Have you found that your experience with design has influenced your music or vice versa?
Not really, I find it to be a complete separation from making music. It’s nice to have that outlet. Music is very subjective, and you sometimes work on the same song for months or even years. With design, typically you think of something, you draw it and then It’s made within a few days. It’s much more concrete than music which I like!
You just released a live recording of “Break Every Rule” from the top of Yosemite. What was it like recording that?
The Van Sessions were incredible to film. It was a very ambitious, stressful time because we were trying to squeeze a lot into a short period of time, and it was all done very guerrilla style. Looking back on it I’m surprised we all made it out alive, haha!
Is there an idea or piece of advice that you want to ECHO out to the World and your audience?
Lately I’ve been feeling like you never know where your life is going to take you, so there’s no point in worrying about it until its here. Just keep doing the work and you’ll find your way!