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Indie Soul Artist Trade Stevens' Music Inspires Happiness, Faith, Positivity, and Love!

Updated: Aug 19

Hi Trade Stevens, Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? I'm an Army Brat, originally from Michigan, spent most of my fathers tour in Germany. Started singing/acting as a child, while in Germany. Auditioned for the role of Santa Claus and won the role. The bug bit and I was addicted. Coming from a family of singers, it was not a surprise I could sing. My mother became my first vocal coach and while in high school, I would perform in stage productions/talent shows/special events. I was eventually voted class talent.

I eventually traveled to NYC to pursue a career in the performing arts/music and performed around the tri-state area. Ultimately getting signed, having songs licensed, and so on.

What is your vocal range? High Baritone-Tenor

When did your professional career begin and how did it happen? My professional career began while in High School, I was paid to perform often. Many of the teachers requested I perform at special events and paid me.

Ultimately, moving to NYC would be where I polished my skills and began to do session work (studio singing), jingles, you name it. Nightclub performances, dinner club performances, were common place.

What challenges do having your own independent label? The business itself is full of extreme challenges. It can be hard to navigate if you are not connected and or have established the right relationships. Releasing music, proper radio play, distribution will always be a tall mountain to climb as well.

In your opinion, what does it really take to “make it” in this business? Establishing relationships is key to making it in the business of music. Really learning the business of music, setting realistic goals as well. If you are getting into the music business to with the mindset of being famous, as oppose to establishing yourself as a working professional, you will get lost.

In your opinion, what's the best and worst part of being an independent artist?

Freedom is always the best part of being an indie artist. Unfortunately, the politics of the business can be a bummer, but again, it is truly about establishing well founded relationships.

Have you ever released a song that you really thought would be a major success, but it didn’t do as well as you expected? Tell me about an experience you had like that?

One must be realistic when releasing music these days. There are literally thousands of songs released every day. Pushing through the noise can be challenging.

I released a dance song “Take Me 2 A Place”, I hoped at the time it would gain some airplay and traction. It did not, but years later it was licensed by Spike Lee for his Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have it”. One never knows when something will hit or not.

Do you have a daytime job or is music your full-time job? Music used to be my full time job before I reprioritized my life and overall goals. During the great recession I decided to return back to school and graduated with 2 additional professional degrees ( BS Business Management-MS HR Management). I am currently the SVP/Head of People and Culture for a boutique urban strategy firm based out of NYC.

How important is it that your friends and family support your music by purchasing and downloading your single? How crucial is their support for the success of your career?

Support is key in all that we do, not just music. My mother and sister were/are my biggest fans. They believed in me when I didn’t.

Knowing I had their support made me stronger as I navigated the crazy world of music.

The performing arts can be a negative space for many, especially if you are of color and or a woman.

How do you feel about the concept of likes and dislikes on an artist's social media music-related post? In your opinion, is that an accurate assessment of the artist's talent, worth or ability? Honestly, I am not really into the social media craze that’s currently happening. I understand why some may think its important, but I think its about being realistic and learning how to use those resources as proper tools to promote ones music.

Like and dislikes are subjective.

What have people who have heard your music say about your vocal style that sets you apart from other vocalists? From the beginning of my career I have always heard, Ole School, mature professional sounds, great writing ability, great vocal color with range and proper phrasing technique.

If you can speak to your fans from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be? Know that most indie artist do it for the love. When we release projects into the world, we are giving it our all-in hopes that it will find acceptance. Support when you can, share when you can, big up when you can.

What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry?

It all goes back to learning the business and setting realistic goals. Understand the importance of relationship building, always be professional and nice.

If you can speak to DJs from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be? Continue to support indie artist with true talent. Please be open to new artist and set the standard for discovering new artist.

How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before? I would describe my music as RB/Soul/Pop at is finest. Well crafted, performed, produced, for the masses to enjoy.

Do you write and produce your own music? Yes, I learned early on the importance of creating and telling ones own story. Also, as a business professional, writing is truly important.

What does it really feel like to be an Independent Artist? Share your heart with our readers? With the many ups and downs I have had over 20 years of pursing music, feeling purpose driven is where I land. Understanding what I do is important and can often help others process their emotions/feelings. The feedback helps as well. When someone sings a lyric to one of my songs and they mention the connection, it truly melts the heart.

How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release? I don’t have a set way I prepare. Thanks to my mother, I learned at a young age, everyone will have an opinion and sometimes those opinions will be negative, but that’s apart of public life.

Have you ever felt so discouraged in this business, for whatever reason, that you just wanted to throw in the towel? Feeling discouraged is common place. One can step away and or reprioritize ones life only to find purpose again. I do what I do because I know I have something to offer beyond whats being played on the radio and or in clubs.

How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favorite album/song to date? I currently have one album “Something” consisting of 10 songs, released in 2008, highlights from that album: Take Me 2 a Place, Ride, Alone. Recently released 2 singles: Talk 2 Me released summer 2022 and my most recent single Only Woman, released January 1, 2023.

Tell me about your latest album/ song and what was your inspiration behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it? Only Woman was inspired by my mother, her family name, Jaybird. The song was written as a love letter to the many women in my life. My mother, sisters, grandmother, aunts, nieces, and friends helped to shape and support me over the years. I wanted to celebrate the women in my life. I hope others do the same.

All Trade Steven Photos are courtesy of Trade Stevens

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End of Interview

Disclaimer: The words of inspiration posted by The Indie Post, written within ( The New American Standard Version Bible Verse) are not the words of the above interviewed.

"John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him."

"Romans 10:9-13 9 [f]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, [g]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [h]resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE [i]PUT TO SHAME.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13for “EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
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