by Kym Ballantyne
Viewers of BBC talent juggernaut The Voice fell in love with Stevie McCrorie in 2014, and fell hard. The bookies’ favourite since his first appearance on the show, Stevie’s plaintive rocky growl captured hearts up and down the UK, not least of all his beloved Scotland.
A firefighting, guitar-playing Dad of one; Stevie is bucking tirelessly against the talent show trend, writing his own songs and making his own decisions with a fervent and sincere desire to succeed coupled with quite outrageous talent and capability.
However big a year it’s been, success doesn’t seem to have changed Stevie; I caught up with him while he was in the supermarket picking up some grapes. You don’t get more down to earth than that!
Thanks for agreeing to speak to us today Stevie! Congratulations on such a massive year.
Thanks very much! It’s certainly been a whirlwind.
To most of the public, you’re Stevie who won The Voice this year and is soon bringing an album out. But your journey has been a lot longer and more complicated than that in actual fact, hasn’t it?
[Laughs] It sure has! I developed a passion for music when I was quite young, performing especially, and have been in pop-punk bands since I was a teenager.
But like everything else; you grow up, life gets in the road. I was perfectly happy in my life, raising my wee girl with my wife and being a firefighter, but when an opportunity comes along you just have to grab it!
So overall The Voice was a positive experience?
Absolutely, it was an amazing opportunity but the pressure definitely got to me in the end. I mean, I’d never really felt pressure before like it; the whole country behind me, and all my friends and family rooting for me.
I was the bookies favourite from my first audition, which obviously is great, but it was a hard task. I’m really grateful to The Voice but I really want to push away from this talent show stereotype.
Just last week when I was playing King Tuts, one of my mates was telling me he was trying to coax his other mate into coming along to the show; and he was like ‘I didn’t watch The Voice, I’m not into that sort of thing!’, and his mate had to practically drag him along. But then within the first couple of songs I played with my band, he was a total convert.
I suppose that’s what I’m trying to generally do on much larger scale- convert everyone and show them that I am different from your average talent show winner.
So tell us about the album and the process of writing it…
Well, it was certainly hard graft, a body of work always is. I fought really hard for it to be my album, with my own songs, and I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound.
People think oh, you’ve won The Voice, so you automatically churn out an album; but there’s tracks on there that I’ve written years ago. Again I’m doing my best to buck against this
ever present stereotype and be myself.
You seem to have a real drive to show people what you are really all about?
I do, and I think that is because I have an identity of my own, and always have done; I know what my strengths in music are and I’m always going to play to them.
I can’t play the manufactured pop star because it’s not who I am, and it’s definitely frustrating when people think otherwise. I’m still committed to songwriting and performing in an authentic and organic way that’s true to me- it’s the most natural thing in the world in my case. Any attempt to be contrived just wouldn’t work. I find it totally natural being on stage-many people have commented that I’m more confident on it than I am off!
What does success mean to you?
For me; success is selling out decent sized venues, and being treated with respect. I don’t think I’m going to be a global superstar by any means; and that’s the thing that some people don’t get- it’s not a magical overnight fairy that makes you rich and famous, it’s working hard and being yourself and being nice to people.
I’ve done the toilet tours in the past and have no desire to go back there- but show me a venue of people here to see me play then I’m the happiest guy in the world. Success for me is for me to make my living making music.
What’s on the cards for the New Year then?
Well, the album is out on the 8th of January so it will be a case of getting right on the promotional tour. Then there’s a couple of gigs in Glasgow’s Oran Mor and The Caves in Edinburgh; hopefully more of a tour will follow.
2015 has been a hell of a year; but in a way 2016 will be the one that defines what all this really means- whether it’s something I’ll be doing for a long time.
Any advice to those currently hesitant about entering a talent show? Would you encourage it?
Absolutely. The exposure is second to none at the end of the day. I mean look at me- I had all but given up and embraced the quiet life! [Laughs] Nowadays, life is anything but!