#QueeringLockdown Music Special: interview with London-based musician and songwriter Simon Stirling aka Someone Else

Francesco Ferranti: Hey Simon, can you first of all introduce yourself?

Simon Stirling: Hey, I am Simon, aka Someone Else, a London-based artist, painter, musician and songwriter. I use He-Him pronouns. I guess I have been an artist all my life. What began as obsessive drawing and painting became obsessive singing and songwriting, and I knew that creating was the only thing I wanted to do in this life. To look at this one way, I was lucky to grow up with the privilege of exploring my creativity, and I owe much of my personality and practice to the relentlessness of my making from a young age. What I didn’t fully realise for a long time was that my approach to making art was a direct response to the way that I had experienced life; I was thriving in my artistic practice because in real life I was I not fitting in. I had to start expressing myself in a way that could be louder than the labels that I would otherwise be categorised with.

Francesco Ferranti: What does #QueeringLockdown mean to you? What did inspire you to take part in my project?

Simon Stirling: #QueeringLockdown – to me – means standing with the perspective that while we are all in lockdown together, there are infinite possibilities as to how people could be finding meaningful experiences for their lives while so many of us are restricted. Everybody’s meaningful experiences are different, but as a society, I feel we are susceptible to search outwardly for things that we are not always confident enough to look inwardly for. #QueeringLockdown means considering things that you might want or need for yourself, regardless of their relationship to popularity or relevance in greater society.

Francesco Ferranti: 3 things you miss during Quarantine? 3 things you have learned so far?

Simon Stirling: I miss being in a cafe all day writing and making music. I miss being in a car with my friends and having somewhere to be. I miss good house parties.

I have learned that:

1. There are things I have taken for granted before the Lockdown and I have been able to readjust my priorities and take a better approach to life.

2. Every person has a unique relationship with the pandemic and all of its surrounding effects; kindness and patience are good staples.

3. The people who tend to make creativity or productivity a competition, are the ones who lack it in themselves to get it done.

Simon recording. Courtesy of the artist.

Francesco Ferranti: Can you explain the process behind songwriting? Have you released any songs recently?

Simon Stirling: To me, songwriting starts with whatever is the heart of the song, either a person, a feeling, experience, moment or a place which has to be really clear in my mind. I think and see things so visually, that I formulate the visuals in my head and start writing from there. I usually have a phrase or key line as starting point, then I build my song around it.

Recently, I have released two songs ” I Didn’t Forget” and “Balance”.

I wrote “I Didn’t Forget” thinking about not wanting to get over someone, because staying in love keeps the idea of them alive. I wanted the song to be this slow, dreamy thing but I also wanted it to feel a little bit miserable.

Balance (Demo) – Simon Stirling (Available on SoundCloud)

I wrote “Balance” thinking about the outside world not matching your inside world, and how sometimes they get really out of balance. The song is about trying to understand those differences, and that there is power in knowing how we can be our own worst enemy. I wanted it to be about knowing I will never give up.

Francesco Ferranti: Shoutout to artists that are inspiring you and keeping you sane, including podcasts, series you fancy spotlighting?

Simon Stirling:

Fav visual artists:

Leo Mateus / @mrleomateusart – Gorgeous line drawings. Style on point.

Pip Hibbert / @piphibbert – Drawings are alive. Well-shaped and funny.

Louis Glazzard / @lourowpoet – Pastel poetry. No thoughtless word.

Alex Mein / @mrmein – Magic with colour pencils. Attention to detail.

Music

Cheap Queen (Deluxe) – King Princess

Dance Without Me – DRAMA (Chicago duo. Saw them in Heaven in February. Hows times change.)

Chewing Cotton Wool – The Japanese House

It Was Good Until It Wasn’t – Kehlani

Series

Rewatched all of Ugly Betty

Schitt’s Creek

Podcasts

We Dive Deeper… (ft. Gabrielle Aplin)

And The Writer Is… (ft. Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels)

Francesco Ferranti: How does queer future, and more specifically queer intimacy after COVID-19 pandemic look like to you?

Simon Stirling: A great proportion of people will be questioning and reflecting on their exposure to every day risks, whether professional or intimate, and our own level of caution moving forward could determine how differently the world will be for us. Changes will begin to be made everywhere, to recover from the current crisis and prevent future outbreaks. I do hope the queer future reforms in a more emotionally-communal way, that is more accomodating for diversity and variety in social settings. The queer community is limitless.

Queer social spaces are becoming narrowly defined and catered to specific lifestyles, and creative spaces across cities are continuing to disappear. As a queer community, we are sometimes able to communicate more clearly than others and are able to take action about what we believe in. I hope our future means a safer and more secure community for more people to lead their happiest lives.

Follow Simon and support his music:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/simonstirling-1/balance-demo

IG Someone Else

Personal IG Account @simonstirling

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