Who has the song of Summer 2017? Ed Sheeran? Kimberly Davis? Harry Styles? Miley Cyrus? Would you believe Raspin Stuwart? His ethereal, 2012 reggae-themed tune, “Smoke The Hookah,” is the most radio-requested song this summer.
The song (produced by Steve Reid and Bo Astrup) has also racked up an impressive number of downloads.
For Stuwart, a West Coast resident and former Boulevard magazine publisher, it represents a major victory.
He’s been an army of one, writing and recording the song and setting up its Web site. He’s given one-off performances in such places as San Diego and San Francisco.
“When I wrote it and recorded the song, everyone loved it, but no one offered to let me properly put it out. That’s when I figured I’d make it a DIY project and release it on 4/20,” he says.
We caught up with the peripatetic Stuwart after a rehearsal on the West Coast, not far from his home:
Improper: What was it like recording your song and producing the record yourself?
Stuwart: “Honestly, I loved doing it all myself. I got a chance first-hand to see that there is still a way for a new artist to get his music out there and really ingratiate myself into the mix. Social media, especially Twitter internet radio helped enormously.”
IM: You released in it on 4/20. Was that by accident?
Stuwart:: “A funny coincidence, perhaps. Actually, it exactly when everything was done. It’s funny how things happen, right?”
IM: What’s the story behind the song?
Stuwart: “The song was never meant to be about what everyone thinks it’s about, but the song has taken on a theme of a resistance of sorts. What can I say, it’s great to be accorded the success te song has generated.”
IM: Your last album We Do What We Want certainly introduced you; what’s the new album like?
Stuwart: “It have ‘Hookah’ on it for sure, but more songs that reflect my philosophy, like one called ‘King Of Foolz.’ I’m very happy with it, and the people that have heard the songs love it.’
IM: Will the album be independently-released like “Hookah?”
Stuwart: My team is looking at each option. Fortunately, we now have several. Doing everything myself was a great learning moment, but moving to a company that has additional resources might well be the answer. We may keep it on my label and just get distribution. That’s a very real possibility, right now.”
IM: You performed the songs in concert, what’s been the reaction.
Stuwart: “The audiences have just been great and after every single concert, we’ve seen an increase in downloads.”
IM: What does it feel like to have scored a Top Ten Song of Summer?
Stuwart: “Well, so far, the summer of 2017 has been my favorite … ever!”
Check out the tune below.