From emerging genres to the impact of social media on the music business, up-and-coming star StevenCharles gives a profound one-on-one interview discussing the role of digital platforms and how the online network gives artists control to manage their own brands and narratives more efficiently.
1. Congrats on the release of “My Destination”! It’s so enriching in both its musicality and message! Tell us more about the music video you shared recently and how you came up with the idea?
We found this space on Instagram and thought it would be a great idea to shoot the album art there. We really liked the lighting and aesthetic of the space and we figured why not, also have a videographer there so we could shoot the video as well. It’s basically my future self talking to my past self and that’s why we have the old school cassette vibes. I decided to incorporate dated technology to interplay with conceptions of time travel and discover what a message from the future looks like when it’s delivered in the past. The video is saying “look at how amazing life will get, (photoshoots, nice cars and outfits…etc) so don’t worry!”
2. Songs get us through difficult times and make it less stressful and painful! You’ve aspired to empower your fans with “My Destination.” What are other subjects and themes you would like to address in the future? Do you feel obliged as an artist to talk about topics that are troubling the society and the world? Do you see yourself as a socially responsible person?
I do feel like as artists it’s our duty to comment on and bring awareness to the issues that affect our society. I’ve been writing songs for social change since a young age and I think it’s intrinsic to my creativity. Music is the doorway to epiphanies and global mindset shifting and I just wanna keep empowering, encouraging and motivating our generation to stand tall and claim our beautiful truth.
3. What is the most satisfying part of being a musician? What do you enjoy the most during the creative process?
The most satisfying part of being a musician is the creative process. There’s something thrilling about a blank canvas that is yet to be formed. There are so many possibilities and directions you could go and as it all unfolds and creates itself, it’s always an amazing experience to witness and be a part of.
4. Which of your personal and professional skills have helped you the most in creating your music?
Personally I’m a person who just likes to smile and have a lot of fun so my personality has enabled my ability to write more upbeat and hype type songs instead of depressing and gloomy. Professionally I’m just a beast in the booth, and my harmonic ear is something I’m most proud of. I’ve really honed in on my vocal development and technique and it’s something I’m confident showcasing both live and in the studio.
5. The music industry comes with a lot of baggage! What are a few of the things you would like to change about the business? What is one thing you would never change?
I feel like anytime a new artist is on the rise we are quick to label them and place them in a box with other artists they sound like. The only way to accept a new artist is by associating them with another act. I wish we gave original music more value and opened our minds up to new sounds without the pressure of having to define them. Music can be so freeing when creating it, I wish there were ways to free up the listening process to happen without judgment or comparison but acceptance and appreciation for an artist’s unique talents.
6. How do you deal with the stress and pressure that comes with being a professional musician?
I remind myself that this is exactly what I wanted my life to look like so any stress that comes from doing your dream job is welcomed stress. I try my best to stay prepared because if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready. I stay mindful of my voice doing vocal exercises throughout the day and I keep my body active working out a few times a week. When I’m consistent with my mindfulness and self-care it really helps to reduce any stress my busy music career might cause.
7. What is your opinion about today’s musical genres? Where do you feel like the industry’s future is heading? What is the role of Social Media and Digital platforms in today’s industry ? Do you feel like it helps you connect with professionals and fans more easily? Does it make it easier to get yourself heard?
Genres have erupted into so many different categories now we really are getting closer to properly defining songs rather than connecting an artist to a genre that is more indicative of their social representation than their music. Music creation has become very digital and it makes you wonder how much new music will be created using real instruments and real musicians since sound production is so artificially available now. Music has also become so easily accessible to us, and these digital platforms have aided in the expedition of music creators, catalogs and listeners. Social Media allows us to tell our own story and create our own brand that aligns with our vision as an artist and for that I’m thankful to be a music artist in this day and age where we have more input and control over our branding and image. This helps us to reach a more authentic demographic of fans who vibe with our story and style. Radio is still the best place to hear your music though, that feeling won’t ever die.