JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would you define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader?
S: This musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader can be defined as a musician who is in touch with not only trends and has vast musical knowledge but to also be in touch with his/her own unique musical identity and is able to translate that into musical pieces.
JAmusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?
S: The foundation of reggae is very symbolic especially to real reggae crooners and advocates, that being said, for them the very rock on which reggae stand should not be moved. On a more global and commercial scale, there is a movement to fuse reggae with other genres and become more innovative with this unique sound. To me this is not an issue of importance but like all things it evolves and it is very present in more and more of the music that is coming out. Mind you the foundation of reggae can never be lost or phased out, but this evolution is real and it has definitely influenced my own composition.
JAmusic: Since the release of your debut EP Real Woman, how have it impacted your growing fan base as well as attracted new listeners?
S: The release of my debut EP has definitely solidified my presence as a recording artist and songwriter, its been like a coming of age, musically speaking. With that, the fusion of genres on the EP has brought a whole mix of different fans to Team Stephanie especially with the collaborations of legends Sly and Robbie and TOK'S Bay-C. There has definitely been growth in the fan base.
JAmusic: Your style seems to be a blend between vocalists like India Irie, Alaine and Cherine Anderson. Is this intentional and are these artistes, persons you try to emulate?
S: This is not intentional, however the artists mentioned are definitely in my list of favourites and I'm honored to even be likened to these wonderful ladies of music.
JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
S: Thats a toss up between "Real Woman" and "Pull it Up" feat Sly and Robbie.
With "Real Woman" i wanted to go dancehall-orchestra with a hint of rock and hip-hop, even employed the skills or Grammy nominated cellist Dave Eggar. Before that i was doing predominantly lover's rock reggae tunes and i just wanted to hit hard with something new. "Pull It Up" is reminiscent of old school dancehall, celebrating a throw back era of dancehall, no one expected either styles from me. I don't even think these selections have gotten their due mileage. But I aim to create timeless music and so time will have no bearing on when these songs have an impact.
JAmusic: Who's the artiste that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?
S: Beyonce…her worth ethic, her whole approach to her craft makes me just want to get up everyday and go all out. She sets her own bar, and when you think she can't outdo herself anymore she does just that.
JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?
S: I've always seen myself farther than where I actually am at all times. When i don't meet the mark, it doesn't phase me, i just keep looking for the missing factor, go a little harder. At the moment I see myself fitting in the "musical mogul", like a Konshens. Not that I'm at his level but you I own my own label - Havatio Music, produce, write songs, produce events an I'm a recording artist. I'm all about brand establishment and expansion right now.
JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
S: My purpose in music is to multiply love, to be relatable, to unite, to make a difference. The message varies from day to day but it remains consistent with love, strength and happiness, even negative emotions but always with an empowering factor.
JAmusic: What's one song that you hold close to you because of a particular line or better yet what's the most philosophical quote you've heard in a song that you hold close to your heart?
S: This too shall pass - India Arie
JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
S: I think now I'm willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new, risque things, still keeping it classy and within a respectable zone but surely pushing the envelope a bit more.
JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity?
S: I must admit I care a bit too much for public opinion but I'm realising more and more that in order to survive this music industry we have take on less and just keep focused on the goal(s). I'm getting there.
JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?
S: The plans are album, more song placements, build my label, and overall to do some ground breaking work in the local industry. More discipline and longer work hours are integral to accomplishing the above mentioned.
JAmusic: What insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represent?
S: I continue to hold that music is the universal language, its power will never be diminished. Lyrics aside, melodies, feel, the whole atmosphere of any song can inspire anyone, anywhere. My present music represents whats real, whats relatable. As a songwriter I know that the realness of what I write connects profoundly to individuals going through a particular event, or phase in their life and it brings them comfort to be empowered, to sing it back to themselves, to know they are not alone.