We chat with a rising star to find out about his music writing methods and future ambitions
his year’s big winner of the recently-concluded talent competition Project: Aloft Star first wrote a song when he was nine. He dedicated it to his faraway sister and used made-up lyrics and a melody he heard on TV.
Since then, Stephon LaMar has continued his passion, playing live and writing songs to express his thoughts and feelings.
After winning a distribution deal with Sony Music Entertainment Middle East, the sky’s certainly not the limit for the American singer-songwriter.
Tell us about the song that you played at the Project: Aloft Star finals…
The song that I entered was actually a funk and disco tune. [At the final] the song that I performed was called ‘No Love’. It’s being finished in the studio and is about loss and heartbreak and all romantic. It’s the first time
I’ve played it before an audience.
How did you feel when you were announced as the winner?
I was literally shocked. I guess, like all of us, we’re kind of underrating ourselves. It’s not that I was not confident with my performance but the other artists were great as well. I just did not think that it was going to be me.
You write your own music. What’s your songwriting process?
I’m a wordsmith by nature. I have a big mouth and I like to talk. I’m always writing various lyrics and poetry; sometimes when I’m just fiddling around with the guitar I’ll find a piece of music or a piece of music finds me; so you sort of work backwards and see what kinds of lyrics you can place into the music.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I feel I’m more lyrical at night. When I’m trying to go to sleep that’s when my brain just wants to say a bunch of stuff. Musically, I play guitar and I usually try to rehearse and practise mid-afternoon and start making music.
You look comfortable on stage. Where does your confidence come from?
I’ve been playing professionally since I was 15. Before that I was a choirboy, singing competitive choir. I was a class clown too, so I’ve always been trying to get into the public eye to some degree.
What artists do you look up to?
There is a songwriter by the name of Mason Jennings, he’s my biggest influence – and, of course, the greats like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. I also love Kanye West and
I guess a lot of 90s like R Kelly and Dru Hill. I like how they’re singing about love in the 90s and I feel that they’re not doing it enough anymore today.
Now that you have a major label backing you up, what are your future plans?
I have a lot of music; I think I’ve written 30 songs this year. So let’s see if we can extend this partnership and make this collaboration with Sony bigger and larger. Let’s see where we can take the music.
To find out more about Stephon’s music, visit: facebook.com/thestephonlamar
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez