Stephen Gawking (Nuclear Lyricist) – Interview

Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views In London – Interview With Ijay Swanepoel aka Stephen Gawking (The Nuclear Lyricist)

Pete Devine Question: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Stephen Gawking Answer: I’d like to think that my best attribute as an artist is a passion for creativity which is fuelled by my imagination, and hopefully I can inspire others with my music which is an ongoing pursuit to find a balance between pop and hip-hop but not limited to any genre.


Pete Devine Question: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.

Stephen Gawking Answer: I’m Ijay Swanepoel AKA Stephen Gawking an artist from South Africa and living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Type 2), this is a Progressive Neuromuscular Disorder. I always played around with words in terms of writing poems / rhymes, etc. And also in a separate capacity played around with music as a hobby. One day I just realised that maybe I should try to combine the two into one project with the aim to motivate and inspire other people that feel trapped in life. 


Pete Devine Question: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?

Stephen Gawking Answer: I draw inspiration from all over, anything within in the entertainment industry and even sport. I just love the idea of telling a story in whatever form, it’s probably that which has kept us surviving and evolving as humans.


Pete Devine Question: What are your aspirations as an artist?

Stephen Gawking Answer: If one dreams, one can just as well dream big. So, 1 Billion streams, GRAMMYs and an Oscar lol.


Pete Devine Question: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?

Stephen Gawking Answer: Reaching 100k streams even though it’s rookie numbers compared to other artists, it really felt good reaching that milestone.


Pete Devine Question: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?

Stephen Gawking Answer: Living in the technological era of today makes things in many ways easier but also a few things more difficult. Getting your music out there on all the platforms is easy but getting people to listen to it is where it gets difficult for most independent artists in the oversaturated industry of today. I feel like the ones that do it for the right reasons and are fully committed will ultimately make it in time, which is very difficult for an instant gratification generation. Our release strategy is single by single and I think it’s the best way to do it in these times, staying active in terms of your presence with your content, moving forward and growing almost like a snowball effect.  


Pete Devine Question: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?

Stephen Gawking Answer: The vision I have is to organize//produce variety type shows/events under the Stephen Gawking brand with the ultimate goal a music and arts festival. 


Pete Devine Question: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?

Stephen Gawking Answer: It’s great for the consumers having access to all that content so easily and basically free, and it’s also great for prominent, established and or artists backed by labels. For independent up and coming artist it’s a long journey to the top and or making a living off streams, it’s all about the grind.


Pete Devine Question: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

Stephen Gawking Answer: “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush, just imagine the feeling of pure satisfaction in it going viral roughly 40 years after you have released it? And that it perfectly fitted the narrative of a scene in a series written all these years later. It’s just a beautiful story.


Pete Devine Question: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?

Stephen Gawking Answer: The biggest worry for me and all other artists is the AI threat, and it needs to be addressed quickly and or regulated in a way that it doesn’t kill the industry and creative spirits. Why would you hire a producer or singer or whatever if an AI can create a complete song for you without a human in a few minutes? I don’t know it’s scary for the industry and I would John Connor a resistance before the industry is terminated lol 


Pete Devine Question: So, what are you working on at the moment?

Stephen Gawking Answer: We are currently working on few other singles that are all in different phases of production but the next one released will most probably be a collaboration with Aewon Wolf titled “Demons & Disorders”


Pete Devine Question: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?

You can find all my social media &music pages using the links below:

All Links




Stephen Gawking (Nuclear Lyricist) links:
Band/Artist location – South Africa
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – 
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – LinkTree
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