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article imageBryan Stephens talks upcoming show at Cafe Wha? in New York Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 13, 2017 in Music
New York - Singer- songwriter Bryan Stephens chatted with Digital Journal about his debut album "Village of Dreams." On July 20, he will be performance at Cafe Wha? in New York City for his album release party.
On performing at Cafe Wha? he said, "I was first hired full-time at the Wha by the previous owner Noam Dworman who was the leader of the band at that time. I watched and learned so much from him and worked extremely hard to improve my talents both playing guitar and especially singing as I was the youngest and newest member. And then by the time the Wha was sold to new owners I had ascended to being the elder statesman so to speak of the band and became the band leader at that point."
Particularly impressive about this club is that it has rich music history, where Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, all played there early in their careers. "It's always been a great honor and very humbling to get to play full time at a club with one of the greatest legacies and historic litany of musicians and comedians in the world. When you're there every night you can sometimes forget that and have to remind yourself how lucky you are and the amazing company you're in when you're on that stage," he said.
To learn more about this show, check out the venue's homepage.
He grew up in San Antonio but relocated to New York. "My brother Brad was living in New York and going to college here when I was in high school. I came up to visit him once and we were walking around the upper-east side and saw a flier for Weezer playing that night at Summer Stage in Central Park. I told him how much I wanted to go and how cool it would be and he took me to the show and it blew my mind! I was immediately hooked and said to myself 'if this is normal up here then I'm moving here the first chance I get!' He came down to San Antonio for my high school graduation and two days later we drove back up to New York together and I've never wanted to be anywhere else," he said.
He was offered a record deal on the spot after Blue Elan Owner, Kirk Pasich happened to see hear him play and sing at the Wha. "That was mind-blowing! I couldn't believe it! I had been playing at the Wha for quite a long time at that point and was beginning to get very restless. I love the band and the club very much but every musician craves change and variety. I was starting to get down on myself and low thinking that maybe I would never move beyond playing cover songs in the basement. So it couldn't have come at a better and more life-affirming time for Kirk to come down and offer me a record deal on the spot. I truly hope that I've reciprocated their belief and faith in me with this first record. I cannot thank Kirk enough and everyone from Blue Elan Records! It's absolutely the perfect place for me to be both musically and personally," he said.
This album is very personal for Stephens and it was cathartic to write about his own life lessons. "It's always just felt natural and instinctual to me to write directly about my own life lessons. And it really does help your own process of healing or moving on after a bad experience and enjoying to the fullest a great experience. For me, it just keeps me in the best possible place to succeed not trying to come up with something that I don't know about first hand and simply relating my honest feelings about my life. And I think because they all come from that same place is a big reason why songs that I wrote almost 20 years ago still fit perfectly on this record with ones that I wrote last year," he said.
Regarding his musical influences, he said. "I am definitely a child of the 90's. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. I still remember vividly exactly where I was the first time I heard 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and how it seemed to allow me to escape to another place. I took that feeling and ran with it and taught myself how to play all those bands songs. I also have an uncle who is a brilliant musician who was a huge influence on me. He's a Christian contemporary artist from Houston and he really encouraged me and helped me develop as a musician when I was still very young. He would bring all his band members down to San Antonio just to rehearse and play a little gig at a coffee shop downtown for free and that really stuck with me and inspired me to work towards a career in music."
On touring for this new album, he said, "Yes, definitely. I'm right now in the midst of getting together booking agent and PR peeps scheduling shows in and around NYC and a tour to support the album."
For his fans and readers, he concluded, "I couldn't be any more excited and psyched to begin this new journey as a recording artist and hope everyone will enjoy my debut record Village of Dreams and maybe see something of themselves in these songs as well."
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