WHEN Stevie McCrorie was 14, he picked up the guitar and started messing around.

Each time he plays, he gets a little better and a little more confident. Then he starts to sing. He learns a few songs; he writes a few songs.

Then it’s the gigs, the festivals, the TV show, the record deal, and his first album. But that’s short-lived. After the highs, come the lows. He parts with the record company and goes on about his life, becomes a dad and takes stock…

Still…He picks up his guitar.

“If I could finish every idea that I have, then I’d probably have about three albums’ worth,” he remarks. There’s a marked difference between his current songwriting routine than when he had wrapped up on The Voice and was working on his record full-time, with support, expectation and a deadline. Now, he admits his focus has shifted, but there’s no sign of a white flag.

He says: “I plan on doing this until I am an old man, until I can’t do it anymore. At the moment, I am happy with what I am doing. A lot of people who had gone through what I had in the last five years or so would have gone away by now. But that’s not me. 

“But I’m getting back to myself as a songwriter...I just want to write something that make people feel how I feel. If you lose that, then you’ll lose your best songs."

“Under the right circumstances, I could write an album really quick. But see when you have a family and a job and other commitments that you are trying to juggle, the music can get side-tracked a wee bit. There’s not a lot of time to sit down and write.

"With the album, there were 40-odd songs written in two months, but that’s all I did from Monday to Friday. Whereas now I always feel like I’m trying to squeeze it somewhere – and sometimes, I just feel like playing the xBox or something.

“I’ve got hundreds of wee ideas but there’s maybe a little bit of a block sneaking in. I’ve been through that sort of thing before and I usually come out the other end with even more material. It’s just a process. I’m genuinely in a good place. And sometimes when you are content, it’s harder to write.”

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He looks back on Big World with some creeping regret about some aspects, but there is genuine pride in his words when he talks of the journey from winning The Voice to releasing the 11-track effort in 2016. He then turned away from the music industry, after he became disenchanted by much of its practices.

The Alva man then set out on his own and self-produced an impressive – and arguably more accomplished – three-track EP titled Alive. In the coming weeks, McCrorie is hoping to finish work on a new single, with his second daughter Sunny providing the inspiration. The aim is to release ahead of his show at King Tut’s in Glasgow in late December.

“I felt like I lost a bit of my identity a teeny bit on the first album,” he says. “I’m proud of it, but there are maybe a few songs that I wouldn’t have put on it. It was done so quick, and I was writing with other songwriters. They would maybe get in a room and say let’s do something on this random subject and that wasn’t for me. My songs all come from something real.

“But I’m getting back to myself as a songwriter,” the singer adds. “This new song is quite rootsy and raw, emotional and real. That’s what I like. I’m not sitting there thinking: ‘This might work on the radio…’ or something – I don’t really care about that anymore. I just want to write something that make people feel how I feel. If you lose that, then you’ll lose your best songs.

“I’m 34 now. I picked up the guitar when I was 14. It is crazy to think I’ve been doing this for two decades, man. I’m getting old now, but I still feel so fortunate to play great gigs and have the fanbase I have.”