Brighton-based singer Hobbie Stuart will be a familiar name to the avid web-surfers and video-streamers of the last few years, but this YouTube star is set to make his mark as a proper recording artist having now signed to Sony Music.
So what do you need to know about Hobbie? Well, firstly, Hobbie is not his real name; his first name is actually Roberto, but he was nicknamed due to his Brazilian father frequently referring to him as 'Hoberto' in Portuguese. His father also played a crucial part in encouraging him to take up music as a career after he became impressed with his singing voice. He learned guitar at the age of 11 and, though originally in a band, decided to take to YouTube in 2010 to unveil his remarkable pop covers to the world. Since joining the video upload site, Hobbie has racked up an amazing 24+ million views and 160,000+ subscribers with stand-out covers such as Rihanna's 'Diamonds', Miley Cyrus' 'We Can't Stop' and, his personal favourite, 'Hold On We're Going Home' by Drake.
Now, he's set to unleash his debut single 'Still Here' along with his EP of the same name. 'It's a song I wrote last year', he explains. 'I thought back to a time when I wasn't really doing much with my life and when I thought it was too late to actually do anything with. I had got kicked out of college and I had no qualifications and I thought that was it.' The irony is, of course, that this single marks a long string of achievements that he couldn't have dreamed of reaching just a few years ago. Having been previously introduced by Jamal Edwards from SBTV, Hobbie got to work with long-time musical hero Ghetts after deciding that he needed rap accompaniment. 'I've been a fan of his for a long time so it was really cool having him on the song', he explained.
The video for 'Still Here' was shot against the heavily graffitied backdrop of Brick Lane in East London alongside director Greg Francis. 'That was the first official music video I have ever done and it was great', Hobbie says. 'It was mad going from doing a video with my friend with our not very good camera, to doing a video with a massive film crew and stuff.' There's a lot more where that came from too as we'll soon be seeing the release of his debut album, the title of which remains under wraps. 'I'm not quite happy with it yet, but it's going well', he insists. 'I have been working on it for a long time and because of that I have changed as an artist; what I might have been happy with a year and a half ago, I'm not so happy with anymore.' He's definitely been a busy man during this process too, having been jetting back and forth from London to LA to record it - though that's just one of the perks for Hobbie.
2014 continues the excitement with an upcoming tour and several festival appearances coming up - a prospect that would be nerve-wracking for most artists, but not Hobbie. He maintains: 'I feel really comfortable with it, I have a great time and I love it. I don't really get nervous beforehand.'
His 'Still Here' EP will be released on February 23rd 2014.