ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stewart Allan is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Aotearoa, New Zealand.
From singing behind the Iron Curtain, touring Japan and New Zealand as well as directing and writing music for stage and screen, he sings, plays guitar, piano and sitar.
Stewart began his career with a performance of an original song ‘Younger Days’ for Queen Elizabeth II at the Ellerslie Racecourse as part of her NZ tour in 1986. He represented New Zealand at the 1988 Sopot Music festival in Poland (then known as the Eastern Block version of Eurovision). Performing in front of a crowd of 30,000 and a TV audience of over 100 million, he went on to win the Best New Artist Award with his original song ‘Can’t You See’, produced by Jacek Sylwin and Kiwi Producer Alan Jansson (OMC-How Bizarre).
Staying behind the Iron Curtain for six months at the age of 20, he was invited to be a guest performer for Lithuania’s first beauty competition (Ms Lietuva) as the country began to emerge from Soviet control. During a brutally cold Polish winter he worked with Polish rock star Obywatel GC (Citizen GC) https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obywatel_GC on an album that debuted at the Cannes film festival in 1989.
Returning to NZ, manager Paul Ellis took him into the fold. There, he met Shona Laing, eventually singing backing vocals on her anti-war song 'Banned' from the 1992 album ‘New On Earth’ (Columbia/Sony). During the 90s, he played in various original bands, performing a sell-out show at Ponsonby’s Gluepot and at one point finding himself as the piano accompanist for The Diamond Lil Drag comedy Show. In 1990 he flew to Los Angeles and competed in the Hollywood-based show Star Search, making the top three against an international field. In 1993, he recorded and released a self-funded album New Moon. Provisionally signed to Edge/Sony Records, he recorded his first single Never ‘Be the Same’, produced by Steve Garden.
At the age of 25, Stewart went back to University to finish his Music degree, majoring in composition. Throwing himself into the world of secondary school music education, he taught and mentored groups such as Adeaze https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adeaze and concert pianist Sylvia Jiang http://www.scene.co.nz/whats-on/young-genius-heading-for-the-hills/, all the while continuing his song writing and composing. His passion has been to gift his knowledge and wisdom to thousands of young musicians as a teacher and mentor.
As a composer, he has been offered several commissions for orchestra, choirs and large-scale multi-media live performances including a Centenary theme and a water ballet. These have been performed at schools and public events including the Auckland Town Hall. His choral works have been performed on national radio and television. As one of the few sitar players in NZ, he was invited to perform The Beatles’ ‘Within Without You’ as part of Mike Chunn’s A Strange Days Night in 2014. In 2012 Stewart was musical Director of The Big Rethink at Q Theatre and has kept a close association with the area of Mental Health, including sound design for the live installations such as Hearing Voices and music for Rakau Roroa–an interactive mental health education platform.
In 2010, Stewart collaborated with close friend Anton Morgan on his second album ‘Shimmer’. Mastered at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, the songs brimmed with gorgeous melodies and Beatle-esque touches. The songs were unveiled through a range of events in Anton’s hometown Kuala Lumpur and Stewart’s local Titirangi Festival of Music.
Stewart started working on the album, ‘9 Rooms’, in 2018. Looking to create a unique sound for the album, he sought out ambient guitarist /producer Arli Lieberman, and recording began with the track ‘The End is the Start’. The synergy in sound worlds was clear from the beginning and the two agreed to work on the rest of the 9 Rooms album.
The first single ‘Shall We Dance’ was released on April 29, 2021. The video featured dancers from 6 continents and 14 countries and has thus far had 52000 views on Youtube. The 9 Rooms album was released on Rattle records in October 2021 receiving excellent reviews and radio play throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand.
A follow up album of chill tracks 'Road Trip' dropped in July 2022. One of the songs 'Burn' has recently been featured in the Auckland Fringe winning play Skin Hunger.
In July, Stewart collaborated with award winning hip-hop artist Rei on a piano version of his song Wera Matao. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue4Fbn0l12Q
Stewart is currently working on his new album which will feature a collection of songs written over the past 2 years.