Who is Craig Stewart?
Singer, songwriter, storyteller, and show producer; we took some time out to discover who Craig Stewart is. Discussing everything from his extremely popular show, Neil Diamond the Man the Music Tribute, to his original country folk songwriting career and solo career.
Craig, how long have you been performing, and what is the story behind the wildly popular show, Neil Diamond, The Man The Music Tribute Show?
“I have been a professional entertainer for around 25 years. In this time I have completed somewhere between 3 and 4 thousand shows as an entertainer for the hotel/club industries, as well as performing as a singer/songwriter on the festival circuit.”
A Show Is Born
“The Neil Diamond tribute show came about when one of my local venues asked me to help with a ‘Hot August Night’ special event dinner. I agreed to help them out, learned a heap of Neil Diamond songs, and as a result, I started to play more of these songs in my subsequent club and pub shows. Before too long, many patrons were saying ‘Play Neil, Play Neil!’, which I had never experienced before.
I recognised that my voice and performance style was particularly suited to performing Neil Diamond songs, so decided to see if I could develop this concept further.”
After a successful original music career and a solo performer career, what gave you the idea to create such a unique tribute to Neil Diamond?
“I have always told the stories behind my songs when I have been performing original material.
It always gets a great response; the audience enjoys hearing where song ideas have come from.
I decided to transition from being a songwriter telling my stories, to a songwriter telling another songwriter’s stories.
Storytelling At Its Finest
“I wanted to combine storytelling and live performance with a strong visual element. I was fortunate enough to attend the country music college in Tamworth many years ago. This institution accepts only 20 attendees each year and your instructors are the cream of the country music industry.
Whilst I was there Beccy Cole told me something that I’d never forgotten. She said, “Craig, 80% of entertainment is visual.” And she was right. The crowd needs to see a spectacle.”
“So I decided to try and develop an idea I had which was to combine multimedia with live performance. Essentially projecting a background that responds with the music, combined with a light show to complement my performance.”
“This has become the signature of my show ‘Neil Diamond – The Man, The Music Tribute’. I had to get several bits of software to talk to each other to get the projections synced in time with the music and lighting, to form this impressive visual backdrop which is a unique component of my own show.”
What To Expect
In your own words, can you tell us what people can expect to experience when they come to the Neil Diamond The Man The Music Tribute Show?
“What I can guarantee is that if they have not seen the show before, they will leave at the end of the night saying “I didn’t expect to see that!”
“I keep the show quite intimate; I always say that a good entertainer should leave the audience feeling like they are being entertained in their lounge room, no matter what size the room.”
With my original shows I like to say we are having an ‘intelligent musical conversation’, and this concept has extended to the Neil Diamond show.
I like to tell the story behind Neil’s success, and a large component of that for the first half of the show is outlining what inspired his greatest hits and when they occurred.
The second half of the show takes a slightly different but similar trajectory with emphasis on ‘Hot August Night’, utilising over 700 interweaving images throughout the show. This combination of artistic visual elements complements the nature of the songs being performed to create something entirely authentic.
Craig Stewart the Songwriter
Tell us about your original music, the songs you write, the inspiration for the songs, and the awards you have won.
“Having performed extensively on the Australian country music festival circuit, I have enjoyed being nominated and awarded at numerous country music events and competitions. I have also been announced twice as a Toyota Starmaker grand finalist.”
“I was described as ‘one of the most listenable singers to emerge this century’ but a local reviewer who had discovered my first album. There are 3 original albums on my website.
“My latest album ‘Frontier’ was described by another reviewer as ‘one of the top ten Australian country albums of all time.’ On the original music front, I am primarily a one-man operation trying to forge ahead creatively. I self-produce my albums and these sort of compliments make me very proud of how far I’ve come.”
“My greatest influence initially as a songwriter was Graeme Connors. I like to tell stories that are real and relatable, and pride myself on releasing only quality songs that I am proud of as my own worst critic – as Graeme Connors said in an earlier interview ‘Good writing, is good writing, is good writing’. My albums are available through my website at www.craigstewart.com.au.”
Craig Stewart is the principal performer and creator of the Neil Diamond The Man The Music Tribute Show which is exclusively represented by All Things Entertainment.
This 2-hour show combines the songs and stories of Neil Diamond’s musical career across 3 big screens, written, presented, and sung by Craig Stewart.
It has been represented by our team since 2015 when it first launched, and has performed at over 100 venues in New South Wales, ACT, Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania.
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