With the many commitments of a dual-life juggling full-time employment and evening work as a singer-songwriter, some might find the artistic process overwhelming. For Christchurch artist Steffany Beck this is evidently not the case; moreover, her sights are set at the peak. With a self-driven 2019 EP under her belt and now a newly released single, I Have A Dream, Steffany continues to push for her music to reach the widest audience possible.
Inspired by watching the Oscars as an 8-year-old, Steffany began writing songs motivated by the influence and accomplishments of the on-screen stars. She then turned her focus to pop-star icons like Alanis Morissette, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift – an artist she aspires to reach the same level of prominence as. From this early fascination of celebrities, Steffany says the inspiration for most of her writing has shifted, more broadly, to observing people.
“The motivator, or my main source of inspiration for my music, is people and how people treat each other, interact with each other, how they love each other and, also, I guess in reverse as well, how people hate each other sometimes.
“With music, I really feel it’s such an impactful way that you can send good messages and motivate change or change your mood.”
Her latest single, I Have a Dream, is a prime example of such influences. The song was entered in a national songwriting competition promoting mental health awareness. Her upbeat melody and uplifting lyrics about a peaceful, harmonious vision of the future were a winning combination – the prize, a funded trip to Auckland to record her song at Hill Street Studios, with mentorship from Johnny Barker and Jared Kahi.
“I just got a taste of what it’s like to be a rockstar during that weekend! You’re recording… over here you’ve got to do some music video shots, [do] an interview… It was three days of beautiful chaos!”
Steffany’s songwriting typically begins alone, after her day job as a health and safety manager at a construction company. Because of her packed schedule, setting time aside is essential to continue creating and producing music. She defines her sound as a fusion of rock, pop and country. Song ideas can be triggered by anything from day-to-day experiences or something as random as a YouTube clip. She fleshes ideas out on a whiteboard and develops the beginnings of her songs. She says ideas often pop into her head while driving, or even in dreams.
“I have dreamed a whole, entire song before, and I wake up and I’m like, ‘I have to write this down before I forget it’”
Collaboration with mentors was an integral part of producing her new single. Going into the studio with a demo recording, from there each session musician had the freedom to develop their own instrumental contribution. One key addition was the chorus breakdown – a section consisting of stomping, clapping, and a chorus sung by all those contributing to the single.
Actively looking for a compatible producer, Steffany met Christchurch musician Eddie Simon after a concert of his, and learned he was a songwriter and owner of Acoustic Wave studios based in Christchurch. The two began co-writing and came up with her 2019 single Destined To You’. From there she continued writing the other five songs on her 2019 EP ‘Blue Eyed Girl’, which Simon produced.
With an accompanying music video for I Have a Dream ready for release, Steffany says she’s already looking towards releasing her next single and working on her next project.
“I’m quite a positive, upbeat person. I just want to make a difference, and I think music is the best way to do that.”