Stef Lang is a busy Canadian recording artist, songwriter and producer currently based out of New York City with strong roots in Vancouver. Stef began her pursuit as a musician on Vancouver Island with music festivals, high school plays, talent competitions and independent albums before moving to Vancouver and making a greater leap into the music industry. It’s here that she released EP’s and transformed into a bona fide artist by playing local clubs and cafes. Stef put down the guitar to share some of her artistry and insights with 604 Now:
Can you define yourself as an artist?
I try not to:) Anytime I define my music, I feel like I’m placing myself in a box. Particularly because I experiment a lot and my sound has evolved tremendously over the years. But where I’m at now genre-wise, is pop with an R&B undertone.
Everything I write is based on personal experience, so writing from a real emotional standpoint has always been important to me. Now more than ever, I’m extremely excited because I’m producing all my records now and love knowing that what I’m doing could not have been done by anyone else. What you hear is very much me.
What is the best part of singing and song writing for you?
The best part of songwriting is the act of creating. I’m in my deepest joy when I’m creating because I feel connected to an energy that’s bigger than me. Turning heartaches into musical expression really is the place where I feel my best. The best part about performing is connecting with the audience and them feeling emotions in a way that’s personal to them. The union between creator and listener equals love to me.
How did you decide to pursue your passion for music?
I don’t remember ever deciding. I feel like it was already decided. You’re either in 150% or you’re not. Not a lot of people wake up one day and decide they want to take a gamble on the hardest business ever. Having a supportive family made my first baby steps easier for sure. But, it’s still hard as hell no matter which way you slice it up.
What comes to mind when you take a step back and look at your career?
Lessons mostly. That enjoying the process and being happy no matter where you are in the race is the most important thing. I’ve also learned that I am not my career, that my value as a person is not contingent upon how many gold stars I get.
Most memorable collaboration?
During a writing session, my co-writer told me the difference between an artist and a performer. Performers may or may not be singing songs that they wrote, they take on songs and give them life as if they were their own. Artists inject themselves into what they’re creating. I realized then and there that being an artist was my path.
Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists?
Joni Mitchell is my favorite songwriter of all time. Tegan and Sara I’ve been a fan of since the beginning. I get so happy to see them win.
Favourite Vancouver music hangouts?
Everyone that knows me and knows me well has probably accompanied me to more than several dirty, outrageous nights at The Roxy, The Cellar, The Lamplighter and The Loose Moose. I used to play The Media Club & Joes Apartment a lot too. R.I.P. The Bourbon, it was dope when it was still a music venue.
With songs appearing on various TV Series, do you have a favourite track and episode so far?
Probably “Straitjacket” in Degrassi because it was my first placement and the music supervisor that placed it is still a good friend of mine so it makes it all the more special.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a new full-length album called “Arrows” that will be released in two parts as a two part EP series. “Arrows” Part 1 will be out 2015. I’ve produced the whole album and written all the songs. After moving to New York, I went through a lot of weird changes, I feel like I’m not even the same person anymore. Without a doubt, I’ve stepped up my game big time and essentially re-created myself. I’m very excited about a new chapter.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring young artist?
Trust your gut. Always. Work your ass off. Be in charge. Get up after you fall. Believe in yourself. Trust in the process when things are unpredictable. Be kind and be patient.
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