We pick the hottest new live acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. This week's pick is Northern Territory songwriting dynamo Stevie Jean.
If you aren’t acquainted with Northern Territory songwriting dynamo Stevie Jean, let us formally introduce you.
Following a handful of delightful singles and a joint EP alongside Gumbaynggirr rapper Tasman Keith called Evenings, Jean showcased her own bluesy rock charm on her debut EP Blame Game.
Released into the world at the end of 2019, it may have come as a surprise to anyone who had gotten to know her through the perfectly soulful, R&B vocals on show across her collaboration.
But Blame Game was all Stevie Jean. Punchy attitude, bluesy-rock riffs, and heartfelt honesty run through every track. These songs were created much earlier in her musical history – some even dating back to when she was 15 – and take a look at her final years of high school and the challenges she faced as a young woman.
Into 2020 Jean has stormed with a bang, dropping her latest single ‘Bored’. Once again we get another dose of that rock’n’roll spunk, here infused with heartfelt pop sensibilities and catchy hooks we’ve had stuck in our heads for days.
Fuzzy guitar, pounding percussion, and biting lyrics are all on the menu here as Jean lays out some brutal honesty, about not having to soften your truth just to appease the person who’s hearing it. “I believe that unadulterated honesty can be revolutionary and freeing. I’m going to do what I want to do and you’re going to have to deal with it,” she says.
We sat down with Stevie Jean to get to know her a little better. Let’s get acquainted.
From the beginning
Stevie Jean: “I started making music when I was hella young. Writing poetry and stories. I picked up the violin when I was seven. When I was ten, my father (who is a pearling boat captain) brought me home an acoustic guitar that someone had left on his boat.”
What you’ll hear
SJ: “I write music that makes me feel screwed up and powerful at the same time. Acceptance and fight. There is no genre.”
Influences & inspiration
SJ: “Billie Holiday, Stelios Kazantzidis, Kendrick Lamar, Black Keys, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Doja Cat, Princess Nokia. So many. So so many.”
For the love of music
SJ: “The freedom. It just feels right. I love every part of it. Performing. Locking down in the studio in a massive hoodie and coffee. Writing alone in a lonely cafe. Being on the road alone.”
SJ: “I don’t have one specific achievement. I love it all.”
The hard yards
SJ: “The biggest challenge to date has been learning to tour alone. It’s challenging but you can feel yourself getting tougher every day.”
The year ahead
SJ: “Oooooh I got some secrets I can’t tell you just yet. There’s an album on the cards and some other cool stuff…”
Stevie Jean – Bored
“Bored is about speaking your truth without softening or watering it down. ‘Here’s the truth. Good luck with it.’ Brutal honesty.”
Stevie Jean – Get To Know You (with Tasman Keith)
“We wrote this song very fast. Tas is a brilliant writer and recording artist. I wrote it about a time when I was falling in love with a girl. She’d stay over and it would rain every morning. The smell of coffee and thunderstorms. It was heaven. Then the switch up happens. I recorded the guitar for the violent outro when I was locked in a studio for two days with a broken heart.”
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