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Meet Willow Stephens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Willow Stephens.

Willow, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started writing and performing my original music when I was a freshman in college, but about five years ago, I realized I needed to take my music more seriously. I had been keeping it in a box. I always imagined it would be my side thing and that I would have something stable and predictable as my “real” job.

Shortly after I took the leap and quit my job working in the public schools, I got offered a two-year recording contract with a company in New York. It has since ended, but the opportunity gave me the confidence to know that I was walking in the right direction. It’s been four years since I moved to LA with all my possessions in my little Mazda and it’s the best move I’ve ever made.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest ongoing challenge was figuring out how to survive in LA and still have the bandwidth to keep working on your craft and your career. Being a working musician in LA is all about spinning plates; you’re always doing ten things at once. This isn’t a unique experience to me.

I think every person who has ever moved to LA with a big artistic aspiration knows exactly what I’m talking about. You have to crack the code and find the balance that allows you to pay your bills, make your art, stay inspired and not burn out. Making progress in this city is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience is key. I definitely learned that the hard way.

Please tell us more about your music.
I am a songwriter, recording artist and multi-instrumentalist. My music falls under the giant umbrella of pop with some R&B and alternative influences. Think Norah Jones meets Ellie Goulding meets H.E.R.

In 2018, I set out to write 100 songs. I made it to 80. I don’t think that necessarily sets me apart–there are plenty of songwriters who do that every single year times two. However, it really helped me find my sound as an artist and define myself as a songwriter.

I started releasing music independently in December 2018. I’m extremely proud of the songs that are on this project. I’ve got one more single coming before the full album arrives in January. It’s called Labyrinth–out everywhere this Friday September 27th.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I have wasted too much time waiting for permission. I am a rule follower through and through. I want someone to tell me the step I’m making is the right one. In music, there really aren’t any rules. You have to catch a clear vision for yourself and commit to it 100% and throw everything you’ve got towards getting there. No one can tell you how to do that and no one can do it for you.

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Image Credit:

Image Credits:
Chris Camargo, Kristyna Archer, Annabel Lee, Paige MacPherson

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