The musician not to be missed
We are delighted to share ‘I Wish’, a powerful and poignant original song composed and performed by Stefan Wardale, alumnus of Richmond School. With emotive and heartfelt lyrics and beautiful vocals, coupled with Stefan’s stunning piano and guitar playing, the song not only showcases Stefan’s musical talents as a composer, singer and instrumentalist but also his ability to tell a story with passion and sincerity. Listen to the song HERE
Many will remember Stefan for his outstanding performance as the lead role in the acclaimed school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, in 2017. More recently, Stefan has been receiving tremendous reviews, performing on multiple occasions in Leeds and Browson Beat music festivals and as the Narrator with the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra’s 2019 performance of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’.
An accomplished vocalist, pianist and guitarist, Stefan has recently achieved a high distinction in his ABRSM Grade 8 Piano exam. After leaving Richmond School in 2018, Stefan went on to study A-levels in Music, Popular Music and History at QE College. For the last four years, he has attended the prestigious Leeds College of Music Saturday school, performing with bands, solo and session work, as well as studying composition. After a successful audition in February, Stefan was accepted on to a degree course to study Popular Music at Leeds College of Music.
Stefan is a versatile performer, a creative, jazz and popular musician, mature beyond his years who can effortlessly move between genres and improvise from the piano/keyboards and guitars. As well as being a soloist and lead singer and musician, Stefan loves performing with his Dad, Andy, sometimes on piano and guitar and both as singer and accompanist. As their duo ‘Urban Birdsong’ they play at various events and weddings, and at festivals, including Secret Salons, as part of the Georgian Festival last August. Listen to an impressive collection of their recordings of pieces by Ed Sheeran, Elvis Presley, Arctic Monkeys at https://www.urbanbirdsong.co.uk/hearusplay.html
Stephen Boyd, Lead Teacher of Music, said: “Stefan is a terrific, versatile musician comfortable in both performance and composition. His superb performances in examinations, concerts and shows are testament that he has a very bright future ahead of him. We are looking forward to watching his career progress and are delighted he is being recognised for his undoubted talent!”
We were pleased to have the opportunity to catch up with Stefan and find out more about his passion for music and how he is devoting more time to creating his own compositions.
We love ‘I Wish’, have you written any other songs?
I have several songs on the go, but ‘I Wish’ is my first recorded mixed and published song. I got recording equipment for my 18th Birthday and have spent many hours writing, recording and mixing during Lockdown. I’ve been writing songs since 2017, despite not finishing most of them, I kept them in a file and have taken ideas from some of them which I incorporated into future ideas. Songwriting takes a lot of honing. People say that it’s like running a rusty tap. You have to get rid of a lot of the rusty water before the clean water comes out. I feel like it’s all about what works for you or what doesn’t work. I’ve found that writing from the piano works best for me. I tend to have an idea for lyrics that I’ve written and then bring it to the piano where I work on a melody line and chord pattern. Once I have the idea worked out on the piano I usually bring it to the guitar too, to see if I can add anything which would complement what I have written.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your lyrics?
I draw a lot of inspiration from songwriters such as Freddie Mercury and Matty Healy of The 1975. When writing songs, as well as writing about my own personal feelings, I like to write songs which I like to feel other people would be able to relate to. In my recent song, it’s one which is very personal to me, which is why I enjoy it so much. I always want to write music which moves me in a certain way, whether that’s happy or sad.
What are you looking forward to when you start the next stage of your musical studies at Leeds College of Music?
I can’t wait to go to Leeds and be completely absorbed in the musical life of a city I know very well. Over the past four years of attending Leeds College of Music, I’ve found that the city feels very friendly and I’m very lucky in the sense that the college is situated directly in the centre, meaning that I’m in the midst of everything, from going to the pub for a drink, to going shopping, or seeing my fellow peers and new bands in the small gig venues. I cannot wait to start.
Thank you to Stefan for sharing his experiences with us.
Jenna Potter, Headteacher, concluded: “School concerts at Richmond School were always enhanced by Stefan’s input. He is incredibly talented and we wish him all the very best with what will undoubtedly be a highly successful future in the world of music.”