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INTERVIEW: Stephen Day

Hi, Stephen! Welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Good! Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to talk about the new album. 

Can you talk to us more about your latest single, “Dreams Tonight”?

“Dreams Tonight” is an attempt at the ultimate crush heartbreak song. It is a light heartbreak that feels heavy almost in a fun way. [laughs] It’s that feeling when your crush haunts every thought you have and winds up finding themselves in your dreams too. The sad part is the feeling isn’t reciprocated, so the only way you end up spending time with them is in your dreams. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

No specific event necessarily. I was sitting down with my friend Jordy Searcy and the chord progression we were writing over had an upbeat and reminiscent tone to it that made me feel some Katy Perry vibes, so we hit the ground running. Ultimately, I think we were both pulling from some high-school-heart-throb-crushing-hard experiences.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yeah, down the line, but really hoping people are digging into the album right now! Something that’s important to me is giving the song enough room to breathe so listeners can have their own story with the song! I can give them my visuals a little later on.

The single comes off your new album Guess I’m Grown Now. What’s the story behind the title?

The title has a sort of cheekiness to it and comes from the intro track of the album. I think what I’m trying to convey is the feeling of pressure and responsibility that comes with being an adult and the anticipation I always held for becoming one. It can kind of be anti-climactic. While I do love being an adult now, I know I definitely romanticized the thought of it as a kid.

How was the recording and writing process?

It feels like it happened in the blink of an eye. I wrote most of the songs on the record in a span of a month and a half and then recorded most of them during the summer in between being on the road. I learned that I love the studio.  Working with my producer, Quinn Redmond, opened up a collaborative door that I didn’t know was possible. We sat with these songs and it felt like we discovered their sonic homes rather than came up with them.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

Definitely. The old EP felt like an attempt at a soul record. We brought in some of the best players we knew and had them sort of jam along to the songs which felt great, but also made it feel like a live take in way. WIth this record I knew I wanted it to feel like some of my favorite records where the parts on each song feel specifically manicured for the song rather than just a jam. 

What role does Nashville play in your music?

Nashville helps me focus on the song before moving on to anything else. This town is full of only the best songwriters, young and old and I’d love to fit in that category, too. I think Nashville is on it’s way to becoming a super diverse music city, and I’m ready to be apart of that movement. So trying my hand at writing the best songs I can while using different styles of music to deliver them makes me think I’m in the right spot at the right time.

What aspect of adulthood did you get to explore on this record?

I’d say this record is almost always talking about the brain of a fresh-out-of-college “Grown Man,” because I’m thinking about all kinds of relationships, whether they involve romance, friends, or family. I tried to use words and melodic choices to describe feelings I did, and still do, experience. It may seem obvious to bring up words and melody, but specifically on this record, I tried to explore manipulating the two in a way that lead to happy sounding songs with sad lyrics or vice versa. I think it gave it a cool melodic arch to the record, too!

How did you get to balance the dark themes with the uplifting tone of the record?

I think, whether it be sonically or lyrically, I like to balance everything with a universal hope that I try to carry on a daily basis. I think there is a power artists and songwriters have that can be dangerous if we stay in the dark. I think there is a lot of beautiful art that is dark and I think it is important to listen to music that’s dark, but personally I don’t like to stay there for too long. My goal was not to present a tone of false happiness on the record, but I do think there are a lot of happy sounding songs on the album and  uplifting could be a great word for them!

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

As I write more and more, I think I’m beginning to lean into a modern day crooner character that romanticizes things, but still leaves room for some humanity. One thing I try to do in my own writing is give listeners an escape, but I want to relate at the same time. That’s what my favorite artists do! So, I think a lot of my inspiration comes from old singers like Glen Campbell or Frank SInatra and I take their style and figure out how to make it feel like it fits in today’s realm. 

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, I’m on the road opening for a band called Brook and the Bluff this fall, and then I’m headlining a tour in the spring. The tour in the spring will be the first time I’ve headlined a tour and done it full band!

What else is happening next in Stephen Day’s world?

As of right now, it’s all about the live show. I’m soaking in all of the celebratory release responses, but I’m looking forward to playing these songs live and connecting with the people that resonate with them.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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