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Music Review: Steph Stephenson
I became friends with Steph at the beginning of our third year at university when we were faced with a fairly hideous module in our Philosophy degree (a module she cleverly dropped out of immediately). It was not until a few weeks later, or possibly longer, that I made my way onto her myspace page and listened to her music. She plays guitar, writes her own music and has a wonderful voice. In Huddersfield (in North-west-ish England) where she lives, Steph Stephenson has played a number of gigs at open mic sessions, unfortunately living so far away I have been unable to see her perform live, but I hope that one day I will be able to have that pleasure! Now that university is over and we all have too much spare time on our hands, she has been recording tracks to make an album and also some downloadable mp3s (which I am told maybe be available from iTunes). Her influences include some of the great female folk and pop singers, KT Tunstall, Taylor Swift and Michelle Branch and I think this is really clear in some of her songs. So if you like any of those then Steph is definitely worth a listen. You can also hear undertones of rock in some songs, although without a band this is may not be so obvious.
The Girl Who Has Everything
The Internet (I Like To)
Beautiful Girl - Beautiful Girl is one of my favourite songs by Steph Stephenson. It eloquently captures the insecurities and complexes that many girls face, combined with the desire to be validated and seen as beautiful to others when you can’t see it yourself. As you can tell from the picture, Steph is a beautiful girl, and it’s re-assuring to know that even someone so talented and pretty can have these insecurities and worries like the rest of us normal folk.
“I’m not a beautiful girl, nothing exceptional, nothing special. I’m not a beautiful girl, not extraordinary, not as wonderful as you.”
All Along The Way - All Along The Way is about changing friendships; how, without realising, you can just drift away from someone you used to be close with and they stop being someone you’d class as a friend. It’s sad and I’m sure has happened to all of us. Sometimes there are people that just get stuck floundering in the past trying to cling on to old friendships because they don’t know where there life is going next.
“She's addicted to nostalgia. She's addicted to "How you been what you been doing?” It's not that I do not care, but it's been so many years since we've been friends.”
Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
I Blinked Twice
Taking a break from the usual upbeat pop-like songs, Nightmares is full of dark imagery, encapsulating loneliness despite being written whilst in a relationship. This is my favourite track of Steph’s so far, I think the vocals are very strong and it’s mixed to sound like she has a backing singer too, although it is all just her. When I asked her if the song was based on a real nightmare she said: “I always write about true stuff. They can really affect me. But that one was particularly inspired by fearing that my boyfriend was going to break up with me.”
“I stretch out my hands unbend my knees. I run, I slip, I feel so heavy. I try to scream, but I can barely breathe. No, Don't turn around, No don't turn... Around.”
Safe to Say
One of Steph Stephenson’s more recent recordings, dealing with the pressures of liking a guy you become friends with and not knowing if they really like you back. One of those relationships that you know won’t last because you have fun when it’s going well (and you’re drunk) but when it comes to talking about real issues he closes up and won’t say anything useful. A problem I’m sure most girls have had!
“It's safe to say I have no idea what's going on in your head. It's not as if it matters now, because it's not going anywhere”
Trying Till I Die
This is written about the well known trials and tribulations of never ending school and college work. That no matter how hard we try on a piece of work or in an exam we just never do as well as we hope. So we focus on the more important things (like writing songs) and just put up with average grades. Another song very clearly written about one of Steph’s constant life experiences!
“The kids are waking up today. Off to the exam hall, so afraid. B+ not enough, life’s too tough. But didn’t revise, not enough time, too busy living my life.”