Craig Lucas is proud of the release of his debut album, Restless. Pictures: M-Net Publicity
Craig Lucas went from being an introvert to owning the stage and stealing the hearts of South Africans when he won The Voice SA this year.

This talented 20-something singer grew up in Elsies River, Cape Town.

He says: “I come from a huge family - my mom is one of 13 children and my dad one of nine. So, growing up, family played a huge role in my life. We always did everything together and my cousins were my best friends. I was always the quietest kid, though. I was deeply introverted. Music was my escape. It was how I dealt with things. I could spend an entire day locked in my bedroom with my headphones on.

“I was always very unsure about how I felt about music and doubted whether it was the right move for me (which is why it took me a while to find it). I loved singing for as long as I can remember.

“I would be singing all the time but, as soon as I had an audience, I would freeze. I was mortified of singing in public.”

After soaking up the excitement of the first season of The Voice SA, which he followed religiously, he decided to throw his hat into the ring when auditions rolled out for the second season.

Craig Lucas is proud of the release of his debut album, Restless. Pictures: M-Net Publicity

“I have always been the biggest fan of the show, of how the show coached and nurtured talent,” he said. “I would see someone audition and then see them in live shows and see how they have grown in such a short space of time.

“I met a contestant who had been in season one and he confirmed this. I then decided, given my love for music but inability to get on a stage and sing, that the show was going to be my way to get better - even if I didn’t win I knew I would leave a better performer.”

I think it would be safe to say he has now overcome his stage fright. And his mum gave her stamp of approval.

He said: “She was hesitant at first. She encouraged me to finish my education first. Luckily I graduated just two weeks before The Voice live rounds started. Her seeing me on that stage every week convinced her that this is something I could do. She is literally my biggest supporter right now.”

Aside from winning and being able to spoil his biggest fan, he also learnt a few valuable lessons.

He said: “I learnt that you have to be yourself. The music industry is saturated with artists trying to be like other artists. A lot of the feedback I got on the show was that people liked me because I was a little different.”

And it is this “difference” that is imbued in the songs of his debut album, Restless.

“The title was inspired by a number of things,” he explains. “We had a very tight deadline and my team worked incredibly hard to get the album sounding incredible in a short space of time. 

"We spent many sleepless nights making sure we could give the people a high-quality product and so the title honours my amazing team. It was also inspired by just being young and restless and chasing my dreams endlessly, which is the space in which I find myself right now.”

Of his single, I Said This, he said: “This was for my fans and everyone who supported me on The Voice. I wanted to say thank you to them and this song did it for me. It is a feel-good song and reflects my state of being after winning the show. It speaks about it being ‘our song’ and ‘your song’ which is exactly what it is - a song for my fans.”

Craig Lucas is proud of the release of his debut album, Restless. Pictures: M-Net Publicity

He has also taken painstaking measures to ensure that the pop album is populated by tracks that are diverse.

“I wrote with Bubele Booi and David Balshaw, Dominic Neill and Jethro Tait. I co-wrote six of the nine original tracks on the album. Some were incomplete songs that I had written that we (took) into studio and finished and some were started from scratch with another writer.”

On the feel he wanted his introductory album to have, Lucas says: “I wanted it to sound different, fresh and exciting. I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into one specific genre. I wanted the music to have substance and to introduce me as an artist and not just a singing talent show winner.”

Craig Lucas is proud of the release of his debut album, Restless. Pictures: M-Net Publicity

And looking at the artists he admires -Shekhinah, Jimmy Nevis, AKA and Timo ODV - his approach to pushing boundaries is understandable.

In case you are wondering about the track he is relaxing to these days, he says: “It’s Lorde’s Perfect Places.” And, fittingly, he has certainly found his perfect place in the South African music scene.

Debashine Thangevelo