There’s no shortage of emotion in the room when Stewart Arp is on the mic. From the heart he brings to Chicago rock band ZORILA’s high-energy songs to their quieter, more thoughtful pieces, Arp’s vocals are engaging in the passion they embody.
Today, he takes a more personal step forward with the beautiful solo single, “Evergreen,” a song that showcases his pensive nature and weaves intricate melodic structures for his smoky, smooth vocals to bring to life.
Stewart answered a few questions over email about writing his new single, taking a step forward solo and what’s coming up next.
You and ZORILA have been writing rock music and playing together for just over two years. Have you also been working on your solo music this whole time? And if so, why was this the right time for this release?
Yes, I never stopped. I just put my solo project on hold publicly for a while. I love writing rock music for ZORILA as well as writing the singer-songwriter stuff. While this is the first Stewart Arp track I have released since 2017, I have been nonstop writing.
I had been waiting for the right producer. I met Joshua Northwood from London, UK over social media. We talked for a few months and I was really impressed with his work and decided it was time to release.
When you sit down to write music, is there a difference between the way you approach a full-band song or one you’re writing for yourself?
In some ways yes and in other ways no. For instance, the structure of my writing process remains the same. Start with an idea, or thought and roll it down the road as far as I can. However, when there is only one cook in the kitchen, it can be a simpler process – but that’s not always a good thing.
From the heart you bring to “Evergreen” and Zorila’s music, it’s clear that your vocals and songwriting feed a lot of the emotional appeal around your work. What inspired you to write this one in particular?
Everything is so weird right now. We are in the middle of a pandemic and there is so much tension in the world – it’s almost overbearing. However, having someone you love in your corner makes all the difference. Not to be cheesy, but “Evergreen” is meant as a metaphor for true love. While everything is constantly changing and revolving around you, it’s good to know that your love will remain.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about writing songs?
Write with your emotions. The term “starving artist” is a real thing. If you have an intense emotion, play into it and channel it into your writing. I believe it is your responsibility as a songwriter to do so. As someone who has a history of struggling with the manic, it has become a way for me to cope.
Songwriting is so cool because there is not one right way to do it. I have always tried to write my songs so they can be digested by a major audience. I want them to be personal but relatable, because I want to establish an emotional connection to the listener. But that is my approach, and it’s certainly not the only one.
What’s coming up next for you? For the band?
Well in full disclosure, I have another single cooking! It it is in the middle stages, and I really like what I am hearing. I plan on consistently releasing music for my solo project from here on out.
As for ZORILA, we are also in the production stage and are set to release an EP. We don’t know exactly when yet, but I can say that it is some of our best work yet and that our sound is continuing to evolve into something truly special.