After his recent single ‘Lying That You Love Me’ was playlisted at Radio 1 and he performed live on Scott Mills’ show, pop singer-songwriter JC Stewart suddenly found himself going viral on a global scale.
Bored during lockdown, JC filmed his quarantine-themed take on the ‘Friends’ theme ‘I’ll Be There For You’, singing “It looks like we’ll be inside for a year/ Or it might only be a day, a week or months it’s really not clear.” It exploded after Jennifer Aniston shared it on Instagram. Suddenly it was featured on ‘Good Morning America’, Nina Dobrev also shared it with her 20 million followers as it raced to 5 million views. It was a fun moment, but also one that reveals something about JC’s personality. On one hand he’s a quick-witted, heart-and-soul character who counts Lewis Capaldi and Niall Horan as friends, but his songs possess a heart-on-sleeve candour which resulted in his earning the nickname Professional Sadboy. That emotional punch is very much in evidence with the darker theme of his new single ‘I Need You To Hate Me’.
Set to acoustic guitar and understated beats, the song’s verses document the story of a faltering relationship. And as it explodes into life with the soaring hook, the lyrics build in drama as JC’s blunt statement suggests that there’s no turning back: “I need you take hate me, say it to my face, I’ll go.” ‘I Need You To Hate Me’ was inspired by the same break-up that JC explored in his earlier single ‘Have You Had Enough Wine?’.
“There was a moment where we were just going through the motions,” he recalls. “And I was like, ‘Instead of doing this, I’d rather that you hated me because there’d be something more to cling on to.’ The vibe was that we were really drifting apart.”
JC Stewart wrote ‘I Need You To Hate Me’ alongside the song’s producer Matt Schwartz (Yungblud) and Stephen ‘Koz’ Kozmeniuk (Dua Lipa).
The fourth generation of JC Stewarts in the family tree, the young musician was destined to continue the family grocery business of the same name in Northern Ireland, but instead deviated on the road toward pop stardom. Later, a chance encounter with Lewis Capaldi at an A-lister party in Hollywood took his music career to the next level. Feeling add odds with their surroundings, the pair decided to duck out for a beer in a local bar. That swift pint turned into an impromptu middle-of-the-night writing session in which ‘Hollywood’, from Capaldi’s #1 debut album, was written.
His own career has also gone from strength-to-strength following recent stand-out singles including ‘The Wrong Ones’, ‘Pick Up Your Phone’, and ‘Bones’. Meanwhile, touring highlights have included shows with Lewis Capaldi, Lauv, Anne-Marie, Maisie Peters and Freya Ridings as well as an MTV Push event alongside Yungblud, Raye and Lily Moore. Apple Music also tipped him as a future star when they named him New Artist of the Week.