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Stephen Gawking's Soul: Resilient Journey, Exclusive Interview

Stephen Gawking's Soul: Resilient Journey, Exclusive Interview

| Interviews

Unveiling the Soul of Stephen Gawking: A Profound Journey of Resilience and Inspiration – In Dialogue with Underground Press

By Underground Press

Published Thursday, 22 February 2024 08:47

Dive deep into the compelling world of Stephen Gawking, recognized as The Nuclear Lyricist, as Underground Press takes you on a journey through his extraordinary musical odyssey. Despite facing the challenges of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) himself, Stephen emerges as a powerful force for change and inspiration. Through his collaborations and unwavering advocacy, he embodies resilience, creativity, and an indomitable spirit. Join us as we explore his artistic undertakings, the driving forces behind his passion, and the profound impact he leaves on the world stage.

Q: Stephen, your journey as The Nuclear Lyricist is incredibly inspiring. Can you share with us what initially ignited your passion for music and lyricism?

 Absolutely thrilled to be here. My passion for music and lyricism was ignited by a multitude of influences. Initially introduced to music by my parents, I was immersed in a diverse range of sounds and genres from an early age. However, it was through platforms like MTV's TRL that I began to cultivate my own distinct musical preferences and tastes. Growing up, music became more than just a form of entertainment … it became a source of solace during challenging times and a means of self-discovery. Additionally, my fascination with the power of language naturally drew me towards lyricism, as I found joy in crafting meaningful messages and stories through words. Thus, my journey into music embodies a fusion of personal exploration, familial influence, and a deep-seated passion for creative expression. It wasn't until around 2018, inspired by artists like Lil Dicky who approached music with innovative concepts, that I began to seriously consider pursuing music as more than just a hobby.

Q: Your new single, 'Demons and Disorders' will be available on all platforms from 23 February. Can you provide insight into what listeners can anticipate from this release and its significance in advocating for mental health awareness?

'Demons and Disorders' is not just another song; it's a heartfelt narrative that delves deep into the intricacies of mental health. Through a fusion of diverse musical elements, listeners can expect an immersive experience that transcends boundaries and resonates on a profound level. This track isn't merely about entertainment; it's a catalyst for change, sparking important conversations and challenging societal perceptions. By sharing our vulnerabilities and experiences, we aim to break down barriers and promote empathy and understanding. The significance of this release lies in its ability to shed light on the often-overlooked struggles of mental health, offering solace and solidarity to those who may feel isolated in their journey.

Q: Your new single, 'Demons and Disorders' bravely confronts mental health stigma. Can you delve deeper into the inspiration behind this powerful track and its significance?

'Demons and Disorders' is a culmination of personal experiences, observations, and a deep-rooted desire to effect positive change. The inspiration behind this track stems from a place of introspection and empathy, fuelled by recent events and societal conversations surrounding mental health. Witnessing the silent battles individuals face daily, I felt compelled to lend my voice to the conversation, using music as a medium for advocacy and healing. This song isn't just about raising awareness; it's about fostering understanding and compassion. It's a reminder that mental health struggles are valid and deserving of support, and it serves as a beacon of hope for those navigating their own journey. Through authenticity and vulnerability, we aim to challenge stigma and ignite a movement of acceptance and empowerment. 'Demons and Disorders' aspires to transcend the boundaries of music, becoming a resonant anthem that reverberates far beyond its sonic confines, resonating with individuals globally who yearn for solidarity and transformative change.

Stream 'Demons and Disorders' by Stephen Gawking featuring Aewon Wolf and Nathan Blur available on all platforms Friday 23 February

Q: Your collaborations with artists like Aewon Wolf and Nathan Blur have been profoundly impactful. What qualities do you seek in a collaboration, and how do you navigate creative synergy with other artists?

Collaborations are a beautiful amalgamation of diverse talents and perspectives. I seek artists who share a passion for authenticity, social advocacy, and pushing creative boundaries. Working with Aewon Wolf and Nathan Blur on 'Demons and Disorders' was an enriching experience, as our collective purpose was clear: to craft something impactful that offers solace to those navigating life's challenges. Everything fell into place seamlessly, almost as if guided by fate, bringing everyone together without any egos getting in the way. This harmonious convergence made the entire journey immensely enjoyable and fulfilling.

Q: Beyond your music, you've become a symbol of resilience and hope for many. How do you manage the challenges posed by your condition while continuing to inspire others through your art?

Navigating the challenges of my condition requires resilience, patience, and a strong support system. Music serves as both a form of expression and a source of strength, enabling me to transcend physical limitations and forge meaningful connections. Much like Professor X assembling the X-Men, or Nick Fury bringing together the Avengers, curating collaborations feels like channelling that same spirit of unity and purpose. By gathering talented individuals who share a passion for authenticity and social advocacy, I aim to create music that not only resonates with listeners but also sparks important conversations and drives positive change. Together, we become a force for inclusivity and empowerment, amplifying voices that are often overlooked and championing a more compassionate and understanding world.

Q: In addition to your music, you're actively involved in advocacy work for mental health awareness. How do you intertwine your music with advocacy efforts, and what impact do you envision achieving?

Music has an unparalleled capacity to drive change and ignite crucial conversations. I am dedicated to leveraging my music as a vehicle for advocacy, challenging stereotypes, and promoting empathy. My goal is to contribute to a society that is more inclusive and compassionate, where individuals facing mental health challenges feel seen, heard, and valued. In my personal journey, I endeavour to showcase that despite confronting a progressive muscular disease, I persevere. If I can overcome obstacles to pursue my dreams and passions, what's preventing others? These pursuits provide me with a profound sense of purpose, and I aspire to inspire others through my music and achievements to do the same. It's essential to stress that nobody confronts their struggles alone, and there's no need for shame. Persistence and resilience are paramount in navigating life's challenges.

Q: Being a massive sports fan, if you could assemble your dream sports team, fictional or real, who would be on it and why?

 That's an intriguing question! If I were to assemble my dream sports team, it would undoubtedly feature a mix of fictional legends and real-life athletes, each chosen for their remarkable achievements and inspiring stories. To start, I'd have to include Cheslin Kolbe, whose electrifying speed and agility on the rugby field have redefined the sport. Then, adding the South African UFC Champion Dricus Du Plessis for his tenacity and skill in the octagon would be a must. And let's not forget about swimming sensation Chad le Clos, whose Olympic triumphs showcase the power of dedication and perseverance. Additionally, I'd include fictional icons like Rocky Balboa, symbolizing the indomitable human spirit, and Serena Williams, whose dominance on the tennis court is unmatched. Together, this diverse lineup would epitomize resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence, serving as an endless source of inspiration for myself and others. Goku, with his unmatched power and determination, would undoubtedly make the cut too. And of course, the team would be captained by Siya Kolisi, a symbol of leadership and unity, and coached by Rassie Erasmus, known for his strategic brilliance and passion for sportsmanship.

Q: If you could curate a supergroup in music, featuring any artists, living or deceased, who would you select to collaborate with and why?

Forming a supergroup sounds like an exciting prospect! I'd be drawn to collaborating with artists such as Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, The Beatles, Beyoncé, Adele, Black Eyed Peas, Drake, Logic, Benny Blanco, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, and Linkin Park, among others. Collaborating with such luminaries would undoubtedly yield transcendent music that resonates across generations.

Q: Envisioning your own music festival, what would it be named, and who would grace the lineup?

Ah, that's a dream scenario for any music enthusiast! If I were to create my own music festival, I'd name it ‘Gawkingdom’ A protopia with a constantly evolving and improving culture which may never reach perfection but will always try in bringing people together from all walks of life. The festival would serve as a celebration of unity, diversity, and the transformative power of sound.

Now, as for the lineup, it would be a carefully curated blend of global superstars and emerging talents, each chosen for their ability to inspire and uplift. Of course, I'd have to include artists who have deeply influenced me, like the Black Eyed Peas, whose fusion of hip-hop, pop, and electro beats continues to resonate with audiences worldwide. South African artists like Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Tyla, Emtee, Black Coffee, and Jack Parow would also be front and centre, representing my homeland.

But let's not stop there. I'd love to see a mix of genres and cultures represented on stage. Imagine the soulful melodies of Alicia Keys blending seamlessly with the rhythmic beats of Afrobeat sensation Burna Boy. And to add a touch of nostalgia, why not bring in legends like Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley (if only in spirit) to remind us of the timeless power of their music? I cannot wait to see the Bob Marley biopic ’One Love’!

Ultimately, “Gawkingdom’ would be more than just a music festival; it would be a vibrant celebration of humanity, where people from all corners of the globe can come together, share their stories, and experience the magic of music in its purest form.

Q: Reflecting on your journey thus far, what pivotal lesson do you consider the most significant as both an artist and advocate?

The most profound lesson I've learned is the transformative potential of resilience and the impact of using my platform to uplift others. Despite encountering obstacles, music has served as a conduit for meaningful change and connection. As an artist and advocate, I'm committed to perpetuating this journey with humility, empathy, and a steadfast belief in the power of positivity.

Q: Your collaboration on 'Cheslin Kolbe in an Office Cubicle' and 'Andria the Angelic' bears poignant tributes and narratives. Can you share the personal significance behind these tracks and their intended messages?

'Cheslin Kolbe in an Office Cubicle' and 'Andria the Angelic' hold deeply personal significance for me. The former serves as a tribute to resilience and the pursuit of dreams, while the latter commemorates the memory of my late sister and embodies themes of hope and remembrance. These tracks are testaments to the power of storytelling and the enduring legacy of love.

Q: Your journey has garnered attention for its resilience and impact. What motivates you to persevere in the face of adversity, both personally and professionally?

My unwavering motivation stems from a desire to effect positive change and inspire others. Despite encountering challenges, the opportunity to use my voice and artistry to uplift individuals and spark conversations is immensely fulfilling. I draw strength from the resilience of those around me and the belief that every obstacle presents an opportunity for growth.

Q: As an artist advocating for mental health awareness, how do you balance vulnerability and strength in your music and advocacy work?

Balancing vulnerability and strength are a delicate dance, but one that is crucial in fostering empathy and understanding. By sharing my experiences authentically, I aim to destigmatize mental health conversations and empower others to embrace vulnerability as a source of strength. Through honesty and compassion, we can collectively foster a culture of acceptance and support.

Q: What aspirations do you hold for your music and advocacy work in the future?

My aspirations are rooted in continuing to amplify marginalized voices, advocate for inclusivity, effect positive societal change, and emphasizing that despite our differences, we share more common ground than we might realize. I envision expanding my reach through collaborations and initiatives that foster empathy and resilience. Ultimately, I aspire to leave a lasting impact on both the music industry and the broader community through meaningful storytelling and advocacy.

Q: In closing, what message would you like to impart to your listeners and supporters who find solace and inspiration in your music and journey?

Stephen Gawking: To all my listeners and supporters, I extend my deepest gratitude for accompanying me on this journey of resilience and empowerment. Know that you are seen, heard, and valued. Together, let us continue to forge ahead with courage, compassion, and unwavering hope, knowing that our collective voices have the power to ignite change and illuminate the path forward. Keep fighting the good fight!

As our conversation draws to a close, Stephen Gawking, The Nuclear Lyricist, emerges not only as a musician but as a beacon of resilience and inspiration. His unwavering commitment to authenticity, empathy, and positive change reverberates through every chord and lyric, reminding us of the transformative power of music and advocacy. Let us be moved by his melodies, inspired by his message, and united in our pursuit of a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow.

Updated on:
>> Thursday, 22 February 2024 09:02

Hip hop, Pop, Stephen Gawking

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Stephen Gawking

Stephen Gawking

Stream Stephen Gawking on Spotify

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About Stephen Gawking

Stephen Gawking is the brainchild of Ijay Swanepoel. He discovered that he didn’t only exhibit a passion for wordplay and lyricism but also uncovered his dormant talent as a lyricist.
Challenged by spinal muscular atrophy, he added his own, personal spin to the project. These attributes would eventually become the building blocks for Stephen Gawking—The Nuclear Lyricist.

Stephen Gawking - Demons and Disorders