WRITING MUSIC has been and continues to be a lifetime passion for Stephen. He began piano lessons– and composing– at the age of six with his first song, “The Silver Moon.” Taught first by his mother Stephen learned hymns and gospel songs and performed for church services and area talent competitions.
IN JUNIOR HIGH Stephen began studying classical piano with noted teacher Nadine Clark—an exuberant personality who fostered creativity in students. With her encouragement Stephen completed a choral composition for his high school choir which was performed for the school’s spring concert. He presented more compositions with his final work in his senior year being performed by the full school orchestra, concert choir and a soloist from the Seattle Opera.
STEPHEN CONTINUED TO WRITE in college seeking a degree in theatre with a focus on composing for live performances, film and video. His works at Emerson College won the New England Theatre Conference award for best music in a live performance. Stephen was asked to write for the script “Up Against It” which was originally written for the Beatles, but never produced. He also wrote in collaboration with script writers for original works performed in Boston and Detroit.
HIS COMPOSING continued with film and video productions completing the soundtracks for “48 Sargent Street” and “Morning Star.”
IN HIS EARLY 20’s Stephen began working with area musicians to form his first rock bands. He completed his first solo album “Special Child” and then moved to working with Billy Pease, Guy Ianetti and David Cozart to form the band, “Young Bodies.” Rick Keefer of Seawest Studios (Seattle and Hawaii) became producer for the band. He released and promoted one album with the group which was picked up by RCA but never released. Stephen used his middle name, James, for a stage name of Stephen James at that time.
“Classically trained pianist… raised on gospel music … fell in love with rock and the blues instead… but you can hear all these influences in his music”
HE THEN WORKED with Steve Buffington, Rick Taylor and Fred Parks to create the soundtrack for a multi-media stage show using live actors, film, special effects and live music entitled, “Rainbow.”
THE FOUR later completed a second album release entitled “Abused” at Crow Studios, Seattle.
Selections from the recordings of “Special Child”, “Young Bodies”, “Rainbow”, “Abused”, and “48 Sargent Street” were later compiled for the CD “Stephen Now …and then.”
STEPHEN continues to write and record in Seattle, Washington, USA, now completing seven solo CD’s from his own recording studio.
Stephen Now’s song “Fade Away to Invisible” from “Poets in the Streets” is included in the soundtrack of the film, Fifth Form, which debuted in San Francisco January 29, 2009.
Stephen’s 2012 release “HIGH” is the result of two years of writing and recording completing a two CD album with 21 songs. The album offers two sides of Stephen’s creative background. CD1 “HIGH outside” offers high energy rock/pop and quiet ballad compositions while CD2 “HIGH inside” offers reflective classical piano compositions.
Stephen’s 2017 release, “The Opposite of Impossible” was entirely composed with acoustic guitar over a two year period. He also chose not to begin recording until all 11 compositions were completed to focus on the album’s overall flow and effect.