Melbourne singer-songwriter Ben Stewart is already known as something of a punk-rock virtuoso, but he’s got a secret love affair with pop music he’s now ready to share with the world. His new solo project — called Congrats — officially launches with infectious earworm ‘Cut Down The Middle’ at the helm. It’s the same kind of vulnerable and unbridled songwriting we’ve already come to love from Stewart, but this time we see guitars and grit swapped for delectable pop sensibilities.

There’s a certain feeling of nervousness in revealing this new side to his creativity, Stewart says. But ultimately Congrats is the culmination of a lifetime love of the genre, and over a year’s worth of staunch building and refining.

“I think I always knew it would be the first song I released because it really was a turning point in my confidence for the genre and how I viewed myself,” he adds. “There’s a lot of different moods in this project and ‘CDTM’ is just the first, something that I felt was a great bridge between the old me and the new.”

This is pop music by Ben Stewart. This is Congrats.