Stephanie RiversNew York , NY
Stephanie Rivers is a New York-based singer-songwriter. Often compared to Cassandra Wilson and Jill Scott, she writes and composes music that draws inspiration from multiple genres: Jazz, Pop, Soul, Classical, Folk, R&B, and House. Her clean arrangements and rich vocals, as demonstrated on her 2008 EP Play Things, have sparked widespread attention in the music and entertainment industries.
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Stephanie displayed an early interest in music. Starting at age four, she performed in community talent showcases and on popular variety shows such as Star Search and Puttin’ on the Hits. By age ten, she was being classically trained in piano and voice, and later picked up the guitar.
Stephanie’s mezzo-soprano, honed by years of opera training, gives a nod to Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey. But it wasn’t until she moved to London in 2002 that she found her true voice. As a foreign exchange student with little more than a rundown Spanish guitar, she churned out “Helpless” and a batch of other original songs that comprised her first demo. Producers took notice, including Simon Paul (of the DJ team Lost Witness) and Mixmaster Pete Hammond (Kylie Minogue), who recruited Stephanie to sing vocals on a House track. The resulting hit, “Club Together,” swept Italy and Greece and launched her stint as a studio session singer in the UK.
In 2005, Stephanie embarked the nascent music scene in Atlanta, GA. Working with Bread and Water, the production duo behind 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, she recorded her own R&B tracks “Come Onto Me” and “Natural High,” reinforcing her reputation as a nimble songsmith.
Since settling in Harlem in 2006, Stephanie has expanded her sound and fan base with Play Things. Produced with Ron Rogers and featuring Camila Celin on lead guitar, this EP is filled with eclectic jazz arrangements and emphatic vocals. Songs like “The Whole” and “Fairytales,” with their elegant lyrics and melodies, lay bare the raw emotion behind them.
Having played sold-out gigs across New York City with various indie acts, Stephanie is currently working on her first LP, set to release in 2014. As a New York Post reporter once observed, “After you hear her voice, lyrics, and fantastic rhythms, you’ll see why Stephanie continues to amaze.”