In our final segment of ATC’s inaugural Indie Spotlight, we’ll be getting to know the Stephanie Eason Band’s lead singer, Stephanie Eason, a little better by asking her a few questions. Read our interview with her to see what she has to say about performing, having an album, and about who in the band she feels is the biggest goof-ball! Also, see why she compares herself to…Hannah Montana??
Question: Who would you consider as some of your influences?
I grew up listening to Patsy Cline and The Beatles, and I quickly became a music lover. I listened to a lot of Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain when I first started singing, so I think that they influenced me quite a bit. Nowadays, I like to compare the Stephanie Eason Band’s sound to Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum. We have a bit of an attitude and some awesome harmonies! Haha
Question: Why did you choose to perform country music?
It’s what I grew up listening to, and I’m from Arkansas, for crying out loud. What other choice do I have? Haha! In all seriousness, I love Country music. It’s what I identify with. Country music has heart, and stories about real life. I also really appreciate that on Country radio you can still hear songs about God and songs that support our country and troops.
Question: Who is your favorite artist?
Wow, what a tough question! My favorite ARTISTS include The Beatles, Allison Krauss and Union Station, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, John Mayer… The list goes on and on. I couldn’t pick one if I tried!
Question: You’ve gotten the chance to open for some amazing country artists, who were you most excited to meet?
Clint Black. He is probably the classiest performer that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I met him at the Tim & Willy Christmas Breakfast Show at Night in 2007 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. We were both performing that night and had a chance to meet backstage. As I was singing my final song of the night, he turned and gave me “the wink and nod” to show his support and approval. I was so excited and extremely flattered!
Question: If you could pick one artist to either open for or share the stage with, who would it be?
I’d love to share the stage with Shania Twain. I think I have worn out her CD’s more than any other CD that I own. I love her music and really respect her as a person. She seems so down to Earth and is an incredibly talented performer. It would be very surreal to share a stage with her!
Question: How does it feel to be touring and performing for large crowds every weekend?
I love it. I truly feel like it’s what I was born to do. I am more comfortable on stage than I am off stage. I’m in my element under the spotlight and in front of big crowds… and off stage I’m much more reserved, I think. You know how Hannah Montana takes off her pop star wig and goes back to being Miley Cyrus? It’s kind of like that. Haha, just kidding! I couldn’t resist!
Question: Where has been your favorite place to perform?
The Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix is probably my favorite venue. It has a circular stage in the center of the theatre that slowly rotates throughout the night. That way, the crowd can completely surround you and you can face everyone at some point in the night. It has a very intimate feel about it, and I’ve really enjoyed playing the Christmas Breakfast Shows there with Tim & Willy every year.
Question: Do you and the band have any pre-show rituals?
Surprisingly, not really! Does a crazed scramble for double-A batteries count? Because we all do that before our shows…
Question: If you weren’t a performing musician, what would you be doing?
Well, I got my degree in Elementary Education from ASU, so I’d probably be teaching third grade!
Question: What’s the most embarassing thing that’s happened on stage?
One time at a show, I wore a long skirt that had an elastic waistband with some of my taller heels. In the middle of one of our sets, I had to fix a cable that I kept stepping on, so I knelt down (very lady-like, of course!) to fix it. What I didn’t realize was that I was standing on the bottom of my skirt with one of my heels. Needless to say, the skirt was at my ankles when I stood back up. All the stage lights were on me and a bar full of drunk men were staring at my de-skirted self. Pretty embarrassing! I won’t even leave the house without spandex shorts under all of my dresses and skirts now! True story!
Question: What is your favorite song to perform live?
I’d have to say that I really enjoy playing “Country Time”, because it’s such a fun song to both sing and fiddle on. It always puts me in a good mood!
Question: Speaking of “Country Time,” which is an original on The Red Letter Days, how does it feel to have your very own full-length studio album?
Like a dream come true. I have waited so long for this, that it is still a bit unreal to me. The process all happened so quickly once we started the project. Our guitarist, Stan Hitson, was the final member to join the band in October 2009. We decided immediately to get to work on writing songs for our debut album, and booked our studio time and hotels in Nashville for February 2010 so that we would be more motivated to get it done. We spent the next couple months writing songs, and began rehearsing and arranging them in December. On Valentine’s Day 2010, we all hopped on a plane to Nashville and spent a week on Music Row recording and mixing “The Red Letter Days”. I feel very accomplished and extremely proud of what we have all created in our first album. Our hearts and souls are in it. (And plenty of sweat and blood, too!)
Question: What is your favorite song on the album?
Another tough one! We have three very unique writers in the band, and “The Red Letter Days” definitely has a variety of styles of music on it. I already mentioned that “Country Time” is probably my favorite to perform, but after mixing down and mastering the album, I really enjoy listening to “Charlotte to Phoenix”, “Endlessly” and “Happy Ever After”. Those are my 3 favorites, and each one happens to be by a different writer! Haha, what a politically correct answer!
Question: You wrote three songs on the album, what’s your favorite part about songwriting and when did you discover your songwriting skills?
Watching it grow. As a songwriter, you get to see an idea turn into a lyric, a lyric into a melody, and a melody into a song. It’s very exciting to work with the band I putting together an original as well. Everyone has fresh and exciting ideas to bring to the table. It’s such a rush playing a song you wrote for a live audience for the first time. I love to see people dancing and singing along… How cool!
I started writing when I was 16. I have a whole notebook of old songs about boys I used to have crushes on and break-ups and all the drama of being a teenage girl… Yikes! Nobody will ever see that! Haha!
Question: Between performing every weekend and writing songs it seems like you don’t have that much spare time. But when you do have the luxury of some down time, what do you like to do?
It’s tough having a schedule that is opposite from the rest of the world. My “weekends” are during the week, since I play every Friday and Saturday. I try to catch up with friends and spend time with my family during my time off. I have 2 little sisters and one little brother, and my whole family is really close. Since our schedules are so hectic and the band travels so much, it’s not often that we all get to spend quality time together.
Question: Anyone who had seen you and the guys live would say that you all have great energy and great chemistry on stage. Was that chemistry something that came naturally or was it something that took a little bit of time?
It is absolutely something that has grown with time, but when this particular group of individuals came together, it was clearly a perfect fit. I’ve never played in a band or known a band that has as much chemistry as we do, both on and off stage. We’re a family, and we all love this band!
Question: How do you survive being the only girl in the group?
Actually, it’s the only way we could possibly travel. If anyone else in the band packed as much as I do, we’d have to buy a bigger trailer! Haha! The other guys can pack for a whole week in a backpack… And I carry a backpack for all my hair products and styling tools. Plus, I never have the problem of accidentally wearing the same outfit as any other band mate! And if the guys ever do match me, we’re going to have to have a serious talk. The mental picture is so scary… Haha!
Question: Speaking of the guys, who do you think is the biggest goof-ball of the group?
Our drummer, Brandon Kinser. I’m sure that by now everyone has witnessed his amazing drumming dance moves behind me. He does all sorts of weird stuff when I’m singing, especially when I’m singing ballads and serious songs. When the audience starts laughing in the middle of those songs, I know something’s up. Without fail, I turn around and Brandon is doing something hilarious back there.
Question: Who do you think is the most reserved member of the band?
Hmm… Mike Galli is probably the most reserved of the group. He is also the nicest member of the band. We’re having bracelets made that say “WWMD”. Haha! He seriously is the kindest person you’ll ever meet, though.
Question: Who would you say is the most organized and the least organized?
I think that Eric is probably the most organized member, because he juggles all of the booking and planning of the tours, which takes a LOT of organization. I think we’re all very organized… and very type A. I actually just reorganized my gig bag last week, which carries everything that anyone could possibly EVER need at a show. Your shirt button fell off? Have no fear! I carry a sewing kit! Feeling sick, or worried about Mr. Slobbery who just slimed your microphone? I carry disinfectant and cleaning pads! Ta-da! Yes, I am a total nerd.
Question: To wrap up our interview on a bit of a fun note, which member of the band do you think would win a karaoke contest?
I think that Stan could easily win a karaoke contest. He has a very dynamic and expressive voice, with excellent vibrato! I’m always blown away!
I think it’s safe to say that Stephanie Eason not only has the vocal chops to become a country music star, but she’s proven to be an extremely down-to-earth woman with one of the most infectious personalities you’ll ever encounter. Please do yourselves a favor and check out the Stephanie Eason Band’s album, The Red Letter Days, and if you’re in Arizona, make sure you check out the band in concert soon. You can find tour dates on the band’s website by clicking here.
I would like to thank Stephanie Eason for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
That’s it for our first Indie Spotlight! Keep on the lookout for a new Indie Spotlight artist sometime in the near future!