Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Becca Stevens continues her “WONDERBLOOM” campaign with a new full-length album, once again titled “WONDERBLOOM”, which was released March 20th 2020. The first track from the album is ‘Good Stuff’,
Becca Stevens again defies all expectation, this time dreaming up a groove-heavy, dance-ready sound infused with elements of pop and funk and R&B. With its bright textures and uptempo rhythms, “WONDERBLOOM” also finds Becca achieving a profound complexity in her lyrics, ultimately redefining what’s possible in creating music that elevates and deities.
What are some of your earliest memories of music?
Rehearsing in the family band, the Tune Mammals! Getting in the stinky minivan and driving around to festivals and schools in North Carolina to perform silly/witty children’s songs with my family. Singing and performing in musicals on stage as a kid. Recording little clips of myself singing on a Fisher-Price tape recorder. Making up dances to MC Hammer and Paula Abdul. Making up rambling songs about literally everything.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
- I’m either inspired, or I have an assignment which leads me to seek the inspiration I need to pull me in.
- I pick up an instrument and start noodling, or open GarageBand/Logic and record a drum loop or a bass line or a texture, or start journaling, or start singing a melody wordlessly or with words, or start walking in a circle and thinking, or lay on the bed and ask myself questions, etc…
- I follow whatever part of the process is most inviting and serving the song to the best of my ability.
- I try to avoid shutting down the process by listening to my inner critic too much early on. Keep moving. Follow what’s working. Don’t think too much.
- I keep my eyes and mind open for sparks, or cues from the muse. (Once the inspiration is ignited, and the muse is involved it’s much easier to get along with my inner critic).
- When I find the spark or moments that are working musically/lyrically/narratively, I write it down/record it/capture it in some way.
- When I lose the plot, I ask myself questions like: How can I best serve this song? Who’s speaking in this song? Where are they? What are they doing? What story are they trying to tell? Does the music tell the same story as the text? etc. I come back to these questions over and over and over again to reset, clarify, and refocus.
- Stay committed till I find the feeling that it’s done. Like baking a cake, you can often smell when it’s done before you open the over to look. And I comfort myself with the knowledge that I can always change it again tomorrow.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
A balance of all three! Triangle! Triptych! Trinity!
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
My favourite responses though are when kids like my music. Kids singing or dancing along to my music is the highest form of flattery. When people tell me that my music has helped them through really hard times. I keep those words in a special compartment in my heart that I try to remember to draw from/remind myself of when I’m down about my career or artistry. Memorable responses have also been times when my music has disturbed someone so much that they felt the need to storm out in the middle of a song, write me a letter about how much they don’t like it or write a scathing review. Learning to lean into those responses as well and see a bit of humour in what’s happening there.
If you could put together a radio show, what kind of music would you play?
ALL kinds of good music. Music that inspires me. Traditional music. Music with beautiful stories. Music that defies categorization. Music from all over the world. I think I would choose a theme or feeling for each episode and make a playlist that plays into the theme or feeling… oooh I’m ready to start this radio show.
Name five artists and their albums who would appear on your radio show
1.Juana Molina 2.Bassekou Kouyate Ngoni Ba 3. Wye Oak 4. Bothy Band 5. Snoop Dogg
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you do, then you will be successful.” (Been digging around for who said this. I’ve narrowed it down to either Albert Schweitzer or the Buddha.) I would take this one step further and say if you love what you are doing, then you ARE successful. But like anyone I have dreams I associate with success in my field, like touring with my band in a tour bus, playing Madison Square Garden, winning a GRAMMY, or making enough money on the road that the schedule is less than brutal.
One last thought to leave your fans with?
Make the music/art/live the life that inspires you. If you create something hoping to impress others, and they aren’t impressed, then you’ve wasted your time completely. If you make something you aren’t terribly excited about and it does impress others, then you are known for something you don’t believe in. As long as you are creating things/making choices you believe in, then it is time well spent.
Follow Becca Stevens online