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Recently signing to Universal Republic and dropping the full length sometime soon this fall, he's definitely growing up. Dropping his new single featuring Leighton Meeister 'She Said', a dancy electronica feeling track and hitting the road with the r&b rapper-singer Mike Posner in these next two months, he's not one afraid of trying new things and changing it up a little bit. Music Remedy got the chance to sit down with Stephen just a few days ago at the Transmission Fest in Worcester where he told me it was the first interview he's talked about the new record in. Read on for our exclusive and look for him all over the charts soon!
You've done a lot of covers in the past like you've done 'Tik Tok' and you've done 'My First Kiss'. If you were to cover one of the bands you've toured with in the past, what song would you do?
Um I would probably have to say..this is tough! There are so many good songs that they all play. I love 'I Just Want To Run' by The Downtown Fiction. I think that's a really cool song and I'd probably do that one.
Then since we last talked (back in November), you've done two successful headlining tours, signed to a major label, finished your record, lived in California. Your career has pretty much been in fast forward mode, how has that journey been for you?
It's been amazing. As soon as the Breathe Carolina tour was done, I moved to California and I started working with producers and writing new material for the record and I toured for a while with Stereo Skyline for a couple weeks then went back to California and when we did Bamboozle, I had to fly to New Jersey so I mean it's been super crazy but the record is finally done and it's finally coming out soon and the first single just dropped and I'm touring again so it's all great!
Being with a major label I'm sure changed the writing/recording process a bit. How did it go for you?
Yeah definitely. I did a lot of co writing pretty much every day. I have a few songs that I did by myself 100 percent on this record but I mean the majority of it was all co written with producers that the label kind of hooked up. It was a super fun experience because I've never like really worked with anybody before so we built it up in January, it was a good time. There's some sweet songs so I'm excited!
In the first single 'She Said', you collaborated with Leighton Meester. How did that collaboration come about?
Well, we were looking for so many different people to do it. We tried to get Selena Gomez to do it I don't know if I'm supposed to say that but she was in like some crazy country but I mean we went through a big list and Leighton Meester did 'Good Girls Go Bad' so it was a similar good fit for her. It was cool like having different artists under my belt because I never really had a cool feature before but she's signed to Universal Republic too so it was like a really easy process for the label to set it all up.
Today's line up that you've joined, it's two tours combined with lots of other great bands and a lot of them are hardcore/screamo which I believe you're in to.
Yeah, yeah I am!
So are there any bands that you're excited to possibly watch today or at tomorrow's date?
I've had a lot of different styles influencing the album and they aren't really like my style but I'm super excited for Emery the most just because they're just like really musical and I like that. Just like all the music, all the bands, out of all the influences I'm excited to see them. A lot of other bands too!
From the single so far, it's pretty clear that you've naturally matured as an artist, your music has grown. Are you afraid at all that your fans may not like the new material, their opinions may change?
For sure! Honestly like people grow up. I'm eighteen years old and I started when I was sixteen like things change. Like I wrote 'Cute' when I was like sixteen years old you know! It was a long time ago and like everything that's happened, the whole major label signing and going out to California and living on my own for the first time. It really like opened up a lot of doors for me and I haven't really like been out like when I was in Wisconsin so I got into like a lot of awesome like just dub step music and just all of this like crazy stuff. I really wanted to try and collaborate with myself and just to grow as an artist and just try some new things I guess because there's only so much you can do with a uke. I just wanted to expand that and write some fun songs people can dance to.
Then when can fans look forward to the release?
It should be out in the next few months but albums always get pushed back so we'll see. I've heard September, October hopefully. I'm actually supposed to be playing a few songs from the record on this tour but our musical rack isn't working properly. It's definitely not working that great right now. We didn't have enough time to figure it out so it's still all old songs but it's good to play some old songs.
Then what can fans look forward to these next few months. I know you're going out with Mike Posner?
Yeah I'm doing a tour with Mike Posner in September and October. That is going to be crazy! I can't even believe like this is crazy what's happening right now. Yeah my manager says that it's the luxury of the college parties without going to college so I'm excited. It's going to be a good time and I can't wait to meet the other openers because I've never really toured with anybody outside of like the scene you know. So it's going to be cool to really expand, do a kind of hip hop kind of thing. That might be cool! It's going to be good! After the Mike tour, then I have no idea.