If you have never heard the name Stevie Rae Stephens, you will! If you have never met Stevie Rae Stephens, your life will be impacted when you do. If you have never listened to Stevie Rae’s music, listen today. If you have never seen Stevie Rae perform, go the next chance you get. I had the privilege of sitting down with Stevie Rae Stephens to talk about music, life, and her passions. I left inspired by her strength and determination to be the best she can be. While she has faced obstacles and struggle along her path, she has never questioned that path. Every struggle has been an opportunity for her to be better.
Stevie Rae Stephens was born and raised in Livermore, California. She gives credit to her parents for the inner strength she possesses. Stevie Rae said, “My mom was strong-willed, and my dad was creative and spontaneous.” She believes she is a good mix of both of them. Her mom always encouraged her to give her best in everything she does. That mindset has served Stevie Rae well as she has worked toward achieving her goals. She is very proud of the achievements she has made in her education. Stevie had her struggles in school, but she found a way that worked for her, and she graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. Also, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Music Recording Technology from California State University in Monterey Bay. Some teachers and professors challenged her, but also inspired her to be more, to achieve more. She spoke of one professor who she wrote a song about, that will be on her upcoming EP. “He made me feel small and I didn’t know why he was so brutal and hard on me.” However, Stevie Rae pushed through and realized when writing “Nothing at All” that she “had always been something. She also recognized what she learned was invaluable. She spoke of her Honors English teacher from high school who, “made me feel bigger and worthy. He made me feel like I could be more.” It made her realize that “a single act of kindness can make a difference in one’s journey.”
Stevie Rae appeared in Season 12 of American Idol in 2013, but she was eliminated during Hollywood week. She learned from that experience, and it pushed her release her first album titled “Let Me Go” She remembered being asked questions like, “Do you consider yourself to be a diva like Mariah Carey?” Stevie Rae said, “I don’t like to compare myself to other artists. I don’t aspire to be anyone but myself. Everyone’s path is different, but I want to use my talent to make a difference. I consider myself to be “a scholar and an activist.” When I listened to all of Stevie Rae’s music, it really does not remind me of anyone. Her sound is unique, but the message in her music is changing. Stevie Rae pointed to her experience being a part of the “Vagina Monologues” during college that changed her life at that time. She felt a responsibility to give a voice to those who can’t or are too afraid to speak for themselves. She remembered “the director would come out on stage after the show and asked the members of the audience to stand if they had been a victim of sexual assault or knew someone who had been affected. 500 people stood up!” Stevie’s Rae’s music is speaking for the voiceless.
“Uneasy” was released on January 19, 2019, purposely on the same day as the Women’s March in Nashville. The song tells the stories of victims of sexual assault and victim shaming, including her own story. The lyrics are powerful and moving, but it wasn’t until I read them that her message sank in. On February 14th, she will release her next single, “Ladylike.” It is the title track of her EP that is set to release on March 8th, which coincidentally is International Women’s Day. The “Ladylike EP is her “feminist project.” This is part one of an ambitious project that will release two more EPs throughout this year. “Queen” will be the third single which will release on May 18th. On the first day of summer, she will release the “Daydreams Part 2” EP. She described this as her “sensual” EP. It’s about the summer she had last year. The last single is called “Faded,” which is on the “Cruel Love” EP. This EP will be focused on heartbreak. “Faded” is a song about the “fear of just being a voice, that people only like me when I am on stage.” It is the “realization that she is fortunate to have her voice, but doesn’t really know what she would do if she weren’t writing songs and performing.” The culmination will be the release of the entire “Ladylike” album in October which she has plans to include a bonus track.
This project is so important to her, she said “Ladylike” is the brand. “Ladylike” came from her own personal assault experience on her 23rd birthday. She was lucky to have gotten away, but she was terrified. “I knew what was about to happen, but I couldn’t move.” A year after her assault, Stevie Rae wanted to give herself a birthday gift. I needed to have “structure like school.” She went down to a local dojo to learn martial arts, and it was the month of fire, and coincidentally her EP out at that time was called “Burn.” Stevie Rae knew this was her path, and her martial arts training has given her back her power so she didn’t have to walk down the street wondering what could happen. She spent time researching why she froze that night and discovered a correlation to how we talk about consent in this country. “In Finland, they teach children it is okay to say no when asked to kiss a stuffed animal.” Her research and experiences led to questioning what it means to be “Ladylike.” “Society teaches women to be respectful, don’t raise your voice, don’t be powerful, don’t be loud.” “Saying no does not always work, sometimes you have to fight back.” “What if being ladylike means not being respectful and accommodating at your own expense?” “One in three women are victims of sexual assault, and good men are paying for the mistakes of bad men.” Stevie Rae believes it is her responsibility to use her platform to empower women and men to improve our society, but especially regarding women’s issues.
We discussed the importance of being able to talk about uncomfortable subjects, and that is where the power of music can make a difference in our world today. While music will always be an essential part of Stevie Rae’s life and she hopes that her music will be impactful and make a difference in the lives of others. Since “Uneasy” was released, she has been encouraged by the reactions and countless women telling her their stories. Stevie Rae Stephens’s passion is to leave the world a better place than she found it, and in this writer’s opinion, she is on her way. I know my life has been enriched by getting to know Stevie Rae, and I hope that her story and her strength will inspire you to keep chasing your dreams.