Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Strange.
Stephanie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Four years ago I quit drinking and my band broke up and I was in a dark place. During that time, I adopted a feral black cat who I named Nina Nightmare. From adopting this cat, a rich fantasy story started developing in my head. In this world, these little black cats prowled through the dreams of humans to help them battle their inner fears. The stage name Stephanie Strange came from my character in these stories of a troubled human who found that she could talk to animals, trees, and ghosts. These creatures were all telling her that humans were on a path that would destroy everything and that it was her job to deliver these stories and songs. Strange & the Familiars is the name of my band and it developed in tandem with written stories. Last year I wrote a short comic book illustrated by Jay Reynolds, released with the song “She’s a Nightmare”. This next year we are developing a full-length comic book called “How Stephanie Became Strange’ to be released with the songs that tell more of the story of this Strange World. During my recovery, I turned inward to myself to find strength through art, music, and imagination. I hope that by developing and sharing Strange & the Familiars songs and my stories and comics, I can not only entertain people of all ages but can help encourage others to find their own inner light and empowerment. The gist of the message is that we are not alone in this world.
I don’t often discuss sobriety, addiction and substance abuse when talking about how Strange & the Familiars came about, but it is tied in at the roots, underlying everything. Making this music and art and building this world has empowered me in and allowed me to be successful through the hardest moments.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No! My first band broke up, and that was heartbreaking but not unexpected. It has taken a lot to rebuild and to figure out what I need to lead a project and who I want to work with. I’ve grappled with the substance abuse most of my adult life and the subsequent repair of relationships inside and outside of music. I don’t make enough money at music for it to fuel itself so I spend a lot of time in customer service and working with adults with developmental disabilities. Dealing with poverty while trying to produce music has been a huge challenge as well but I find that my small community is a huge support in many ways to help realize this art. All of my challenges make their way into my art and at this point I’m truly doing it out of necessity and for the love of it. All of my most important relationships have sprung from creating art within the community.
Please tell us about Strange & the Familiars.
Strange & the Familiars and Bella Strano. Building a wonderful band has been a huge blessing. I work with amazing professionals and kind people. We are known for quirky, spooky, creepy, edgy, playfulness. This project, from the writing, comics, and music, is different because it’s a storyline and a character I’ve created. I found myself a light in the darkness and I want to help others do the same. I recently started offering classes on helping people to develop their own “superheroes” or altar egos to overcome trauma.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had the best luck. I’ve had talented people enter my life and stay, and enough wherewithal and support to pull myself out of a dark past. I’d say I’m luckiest in terms of the people that I work with helping to make this Strange World come to life. I also have a degenerative spinal condition and despite some bumps in the road with it, I’ve been very lucky physically and have been able to deal with chronic pain.
I’ve also gotten to work with some very talented visual artists and writers. I’m happy to provide a more detailed account of the people I’ve worked with. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the people in my life. I am a huge introvert but art forces me to stay out in the community and developing healthy relationships.
I was also lucky to be raised in a wonderful environment that encouraged vocal lessons and dreaming.
- Comic book – $5
- CD – $10
- T-Shirts – $20
- Website: www.strangeandthefamiliars.com and www.bellastrano.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/strangeandthefamiliars
- Facebook: facebook.com/strangeandthefamiliars
- Twitter: le_strange_one
Mercy McNab, Daniel Joseph, Matthieu Lewis Rolland, Chris Goldthorpe