In conversation with Becca Stevens
Hey Becca, can you introduce yourself to any friends of M@TDF not familiar with you?
‘Sup people reading this. My name is Becca Stevens, I’m a North Carolina born, Brooklyn based singer/songwriter/composer. I’ve lived in NY for about 15 years, but I’m rarely ever there. I spend the majority of my days touring around the world playing my music with my band (the Becca Stevens Band), teaching masterclasses on songwriting, and making music with other people. A lot of my roots have been planted in the jazz scene since moving to New York but my music is more of a blend of pop, folk, indie-rock, and various types of world music.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born into a very musical family in Winston-Salem, NC, and was on stage by the age of 2 singing brainy Appalachian folk inspired children’s music around schools and festivals in North Carolina with my family’s band called the Tune Mammals. I grew up around a lot of music. My dad is a composer, and my mom and dad are both classically trainer singers. My brother and sister and I were in a lot of operas and musicals together when I was a kid, and traveled around the country performing. When I was 10 years old I was in an off-broadway national tour with my mom for a year playing the lead role in The Secret Garden. I went to two years of highschool at a boarding school in New Jersey and then switched to University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem to study classical guitar. It was here that things really started to come together. I sang and played in a rock band with my big brother, and got really heavily interested in jazz. At about 16 I knew I’d be focused on and working primarily in music. I took a year off between highschool and college to sing in the rock band and then moved to New York in ‘03 to study jazz vocal performance and composition at the New School. I’ve been in New York ever since, making music with my colleagues and trying to keep up with my dreams.
How did things get started for you in music?
The day I was born, I reckon. My dad played a fiddle tune called 'The Kid On The Mountain' in the delivery room just after I was born. So I guess that's when it started. If you're looking for a specific moment along my career, I'd have to say, ALL of them!
Who are the Becca Stevens Band?
I am literally riding in a stuffy van with them at this very moment. We are:
Becca Stevens - voice, guitars, ukulele, charango, compositions
Liam Robinson - voice, accordion, keyboards
Chris Tordini - voice, bass
Jordan Perlson - drums/percussion
What can you tell us about your new album, Regina?
Reginais an album of songs inspired by queens throughout history, literature, folklore, and my imagination. Regina is also my muse, and a character who I've gotten to know more and more deeply throughout the writing process of creating and performing this music.
What’s the one song on the album that best represents you in 2017?
Uff, hard to pick one. Probably 'Venus'. Or 'Lean On'… or 'The Muse'!
What’s your approach to songwriting?
To stay open, keep moving, never give up, stay true to myself and write the stuff that moves me because I'm the one that's going to have to sing it over and over again and enjoy myself.
You’ve got some amazing guests on the album, how did you get the likes of Laura Mvula and David Crosby involved?
I met them both, and Jacob Collier (who's also a co-producer and featured on the album) through Mike League’s Snarky Puppy Family Dinner Volume II which we were all featured on.
You mix such a set of genres across your music; do you just go where the song takes you, or do you try to write a specific sound?
In short, I follow the song, but sometimes I'll look at what I have so far within the context of a body of music (like when I'm writing a bunch of songs for a record) and I'll ask myself what is missing vibe-wise and then use the answer as inspiration in writing the next song. But while I’m writing that song, I follow it. :)
What does the rest of 2017 hold for you?
Lots more touring, writing & recording/touring with David Crosby, and getting married!
Where’s the strangest place you’ve played live?
I don't know about strange, because I'm already about as weird as it gets, but as far as surreal the first thing that comes to mind was performing at Sing Sing Prison in New York. That was also one of the most soul-fulfilling musical experiences of my life because the audience needed the music more than anyone I’ve ever played for.
We always like to check; is there a musical style you just don’t get?
No. If I like it, I like it! No matter the "style".
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
California, by Paul Curreri.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
My favorite color (purple).
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
I don't drink coffee anymore, but I take my whiskey neat. Smokey scotch is my absolute favorite, with just a few drops of water to open up the flavors. Yum.
Thanks so much for your time Becca.
You can check out Becca's website for all things Becca Stevens, or follow her on Twitter.
Last updated: 30/05/2018 14:22:46