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“Stray Nights” - Stephen | Review

“Stray Nights” by Stephen is an indie-pop RnB song that caught my attention.

The production on this song is so complex and intriguing. Stephen teamed up with a close friend and former high school band member, Chloe, on the vocals. Towards the middle, metallic creaks mix with the beat to create an eerie vibe that Chloe's melodies and high notes melt right into. Stephen’s tone is very relaxed, and very suave which adds to the carefree atmosphere of the very comfortable relationship the lyrics tell the tale of - a relationship without drama. Stephen explained that the relaxed tone and production are actually the personification of breathing and meditation, and of the acceptance of returning home. When there is a break between lines, you are constantly entertained by very pleasing vocalization that melts into the beat. Stephen described this song as “A big hug. A much needed rest..And it’s annoyingly catchy. Sorry.” I couldn’t agree more.

Virginia-born experimental electronic artist Stephen (aka Stephen Swartz) explores a deeply layered resonance propelled by the concepts of societal issues and personal perception of modern culture. In 2015 the LA-based singer/songwriter/multi- instrumentalist released his hit single “Crossfire,” which amassed over 100 million streams.

After touring behind the triumph of Sincerely, Stephen suddenly had to take a break from music. In 2017, he was stricken with Lyme disease that set him back a year as he went through a massive crisis of life-changing experiences. After returning in early 2019 with the release of his EP It's Too Much Love To Know My Dear, Stephen bought a one-way ticket to Thailand to reconnect with himself. In his search for self-empowerment, he remembered what it was like to be adventurous and curious while exploring uncharted territories. This significant experience, channeled by the peaks and valleys of life’s unexpected contributions, had Stephen on a spiritual voyage to a higher degree. For a moment he lost himself, wrapped up in the beauty of the unknown, and returning with inspiration to travel down another road.

Now in 2020, Stephen is ready to shed old skin and connect with people beyond the power of just music. His upcoming music comes from an honest yet vulnerable place and is shaping up to be unlike anything he’s made in the past. Stephen’s rejuvenated desire to create music and the purpose behind it has altered course. At this rate, however, Stephen is just ready to be himself again.“Stray Nights” is just a glimpse of what we can expect to hear in his upcoming album Akrasia.

Write by Annika Johnson, edited by Hannah Schneider

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