stephaniesĭd Frontwoman Stephanie Morgan Set For Solo Release

8 minutes read
stephaniesĭd Frontwoman Stephanie Morgan Set For Solo Release

Stephanie Morgan has remained quite busy since the break-up of her ever-popular Asheville pop outfit stephaniesĭd.

Now, the singer, musician and voice actor, is back on the stage with a release under her own name.

Morgan headlines a three-act show that begins at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26, at The Mothlight. Opening the show is Hank and Cupcakes and Abby The Spoon Lady. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Morgan took some time to answer questions about her life sans stephaniesĭd, her album “Chrysalism” and what her show at The Mothlight will be like.

the828: Many people know about your past band, tell me how life has changed since that part of your musical career ended.

SM: Life kind of upended when stephaniesĭd split. All of us took on new challenges. We’d been together for so long that one of the things I faced is what kind of music I would make if I was just making it for myself, without consideration of my two core partners.

stephaniesid-excavator-flight-054the828: What made you decide to strike out on your own?

SM: Some things were working really well, and some things had just hit critical mass… I think we all knew it was time to move on. I needed to know that I could make music and lead a band without leaning on the people I’d always made music with. It’s cool, because now all three of us are in bands that are more suited to who we are now, and they’re all pretty different.

the828: How is the music you are creating now different from what you’ve done in the past?

SM: What a lot of people might not realize is that the material on “Chrysalism” originated from jams I did with stephaniesĭd. And few of the songs are even remakes from older ĭd albums. The goal of this record was not necessarily to come out with something completely different, but to get out of my bubble and engage with people I suspected could really inform the music but were new to it. With blessings from Chuck and Tim, I made this record with studio musicians and a producer. I didn’t even meet the musicians until the day we started recording. That was the point of it – to do something scary that had the potential of being good but could totally bomb. And I really think we got something beautiful. I think it’s lighter in some ways than my previous albums. But, then, I never know. Sometimes I write a song that I think is really fun, and then I read a review of how “idiosyncratic and melancholy” it is. Or vice versa – “This is Steph’s party hit!” about a song that I thought my whole soul was split over. Anyway, this record is definitely groovier and the songs are more succinct. Reviewers thus far have thought it to be a sort of departure. I’m not good at noticing these things in my own material. Maybe it’s hookier than before?
the828: Your new album came out in April. How did it feel to put out an album of solo material?

SM: Again, I wouldn’t call this solo material. I was its only writer who was involved in the actual production of the album, though, and it felt good to know that I could do that. Really empowering.

the828: What was the recording process like? Where was it recorded?

SM: I recorded with Matthew E. White, a sort of darling in the indie world – he’s a wonderful songwriter and international touring artist based in Richmond, VA at Spacebomb Studios. He was an amazing leader. He put together the studio band from his usual posse up there. I was introduced to the four core members on a Monday and we had the basic tracks for all 10 songs finished by Friday. Then I came back to supervise recording of the strings and horns, which were arranged by Trey Pollard, who also played all the guitars on the album.

I gave ideas and yays and nays, but mostly I stood around and watched them work their magic. We were in one small room together, and I sang scratch vocals – some of which I ended up keeping, I think on “This One” and, maybe, on “The Minor Calling”. I learned a lot from observing Matt. He has this calm and organization about him, while still being mega-creative. And the band already had chemistry, having played with Matt on the road and with my friend Natalie Prass and others.

The most fun was after we’d get a take of a song that we knew was good and everyone would gather in the control room and get really into it. They were so supportive of each other and excited about the project. I was like, “Yeah, I did good.”

the828: You have a show coming up at The Mothlight. What can people expect from the set list?
SM: We’ll be playing stuff from “Chrysalism” and also material from stephaniesĭd albums. It’s all still me. The band and the backup singers are so tight. I’m also really excited about Jenny Greer Fares’s live art projections, and the two opening bands are fabulous – Hank & Cupcakes from NYC and Abby the Spoon Lady who plays real spoons. If I weren’t in my band, I’d still go to this show.

the828: I watched the video for “The Minor Calling,” tell me a little about it, including where it was shot?

Cool synchronicities happened around this video. I went to Brooklyn to meet with a filmmaking team I’d just voiced a really cool commercial with, and as I was leaving that place, I got a text from Paul Lewis Anderson, who had shot the “Love is the New Black” video in Asheville for stephaniesĭd. He’s now living in Brooklyn, and he happened to see an Instagram post of mine that said I was heading up to NY. Then we realized we were right up the street from each other, so I met him at this coffee shop where we ate Brussels sprouts and coffee, and we just brainstormed this video. We both happened to have the next two evenings free, so we just made that video on the Williamsburg Bridge and in Times Square. It was really natural and super fun.

Jason Gilmer

Jason Gilmer is a national award-winning writer living in Asheville. He spent a decade as the prep sports writer at the Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal and has written one book, "Where Champions Play: Spartanburg County Prep Football." He's been writing about the Asheville music scene for several years and contributes to magazines in North and South Carolina.

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