Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, pop singer Stef was desperate to break out of the close-minded city that made the idea of pursuing a creative career seem almost impossible. After spending her teen years leading worship at church and cultivating her love for theatre, the singer packed her bags and headed for Nashville to chase her dreams. Several years into her journey Stef now turns her attention to the release of EP number 2 A Glitch In Our Virtual Reality.
Here’s what happened when she spoke to us about her career so far and what inspired the latest addition to her discography.
Many people may not know this but you had a short stint with a country before finding your pop sound. What was that transition like?
I knew I never wanted to be in country music, but that is what I grew up on and at the time the only people I even sorta knew were in country music. My “short stint” was shortly lived because that was what I was comfortable with. I graduated high school in 2018 and moved out of my house at 18 to Nashville. I lived with two other girls in their early twenties. I completely skipped the college scene. Once I was ok with getting outside of my comfort zone, the beginning of 2019, that’s when I started to venture into pop rooms. I was 19 when I released my first project! I am 21 now.
I imagine moving to Nashville most likely contributed to that experience. What is the pop community like out there?
The pop community here is growing every day! There are some amazing artists here but it’s also easy to get wrapped up in the small community and comfortable. I try to say out of the “cliquey” scenes just so I can continue to challenge myself and grow as an artist by experimenting with different things.
And the biggest adjustment for you, moving from Alabama?
I graduated in May of 2018 and moved in July. I left all my friends mid-summer before everyone left for college. So to go from seeing people you know every day to only knowing 4 people at 18 was an adjustment, but I made friends fast.
You’ve just released your project A Glitch In Our Virtual Reality. I saw the title and it immediately reminded me of lockdown and things not quite being what people are presenting them to be. I’d be interested to hear a bit more about what inspired it?
The whole EP is a concept revolving around the “life cycle” of a relationship. Just as plants start from a seed, grow, and die, so do most relationships. You start happy, transition into sad, and ultimately end up happy one day. Since the EP is centered around the life cycle I was trying to think of a unique name that captivates my sound and branding as an artist that works cohesively with the songs on the project. I came up with A Glitch In Our Virtual Reality, because you go into most relationships hoping it works out, and when it doesn’t it feels like a “glitch” and sometimes your reality is warped.
Diving deeper into your methods of creation, you’ve previously mentioned actually being able to see visuals when you write your music. How does this inform your creative process when it comes to your videos?
Music videos are one of my most favorite things about being an artist, and if I could I would have one for every song. I have a big hand in the direction I want my videos to go. I can see scene by scene of what I want things to look like- but I am also very collaborative and like to be the artist and not do it all sometimes. I’ll give my video team (who are my friends) an initial outline and they take it and run with it. I am not supposed to be 100/100 on everything which is why I love hiring other creatives to do what they do best.
Most times when we are writing a song I start thinking about it and am able to see what the music video could look like- a few times it has dictated lyrics.
The first single is all about thinking you want one thing and realising that it’s not actually what you want once you have it in front of you. Talk to me about that moment of realisation and how it eventually inspired the song.
I used to build dreams about you is a song about being in the moment of infatuation- something like- here is my dream person right in front of me. You can really get wrapped up with the idea of someone no matter how toxic or destructive they are being. “Switch” the second single really dives into the fact that this person is not who you thought they were and especially not who they say they are. I describe “switch” as that feeling of watching your significant other fall out of love with you while you’re in the relationship; “like a switch like you had an itch.”
You’re adamant that you want listeners to walk away having felt something, but what is that something?
I want people to feel all the emotions each song brings, or at least dive into them lyrically like poems. I want people to mainly know that it is going to be ok. If you’re in something toxic now choose yourself and choose to get out. However, I know it’s not that simple most times.
Outside of music you also have a YouTube channel showcasing your love of fashion with thrifting hauls. Is this something you intend to keep up with?
Yes! I sell full-time on depop with over 35,000 followers on there. Clothing will always be a part of my brand and who I am. I hope one day to have my own clothing line- not just merch like hoodies and tees.
Are there any plans to incorporate your passion for fashion with your music?
Yes I already do! You can see across my socials especially TikTok and Instagram where I do that. I have built a unique brand for myself where my followers support my music and clothing shop.
Finally, what can we expect from you for the remainder of 2021?
I am releasing another EP. Not sure when but I am sitting on some amazing songs. The best I’ve ever done.