Exclusive Interview with Steph Macpherson
Steph talked to Dylan from Vanmusic before playing the Biltmore
By Dylan Redekop
Picture this: You are driving east to your favourite lake on a Friday evening of a long weekend, and you have to put on your shades because the August summer sun is setting in your rear view mirror. Your cooler is filled with the necessities (ie. beer, hot dogs, marshmallows, more beer) and you are listening to the radio when this comes one:
You can’t help but turn it up because it just hits the spot. Well, that’s what the fine folks of the Shore 104FM in Vancouver did this past spring as, surely, they envisioned the exact same scenario when listening to contestant Steph Macpherson’s Summer Salute. It must have been what sold them too, as Steph was selected from hundreds of artists to the Top 20 of the 2nd annual Shore 104FM Song Search, and she’s now in the Top 10.
She recently played a set at the second of two showcases at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, where I had the chance to chat with her prior to her fantastic performance.
Interview with Steph Macpherson
Dylan: When did you decide you wanted to be a performer/musician?
Steph: I don’t think I knew what it meant, but I started singing when I was 4 years old. My parents put me in voice lessons and then piano pretty quick after that. The piano was too heavy to carry around so I picked up the guitar. But, probably in high school I decided it would be fun to gig around town.
Dylan: In terms of pursuing your musical venture, what’s been the biggest challenge or obstacle?
Steph: As a solo artist, its really hard to get enough gigs that pay enough so you can pay your band really well without losing a lot of money. But I also think that artistically, you change a lot over the years. Even every week to every day your songwriting changes as well as the style and the sound. I’m not sure if that’s a hindrance or a benefit as a solo artist; I think it’s more of a benefit because if you’re just one person, you’re allowed more room to grow and change.
Dylan: You were in the PEAK Performance Project last year, so how did that, as well as the Shore’s Song Search Contest this year. Did those help you as a songwriter and performer?
Steph: They were both really personal challenges because as soon as you get into something like this, you definitely have to push yourself and make sure you’re putting forward your best foot with everything you’re doing for especially that period of time. And really, you should be doing that all the time anyway. They’re [Peak Performance Project & Shore 104FM Song Search] both amazing exposure and you get to meet so many great, helpful people because of them.
Dylan: When you aren’t writing or performing music, what artists or bands are you listening to?
Steph: Oh man, I listen to so much local stuff!
Dylan: Name a few that come up, off the top of your head.
Steph: Aidan Knight and Hannah Georgas I’ve known for years. A couple of new PEAK Performance people like JP Maurice and Linday Bryan I’ve known for years as well. I love Neko Case, Fleet Foxes, the Decemberists… Mostly indie folk.
Dylan: So you draw your influences from those bands?
Steph: Yea, more indie folk and folk rock is where I get most of my inspiration from in terms of the “better known” bands.
Dylan: If you could tour anywhere, where would you venture?
Steph: Well I love Canada, so I’m gonna keep doing that. My friend Christina Maria is doing some really great things over in Switzerland and we co-wrote a song together during the PEAK Performance Project last year that she’s got on the radio over there. I’d love to go and do a show with her over there. I would absolutely adore to go to my place of heritage, which is New Zealand, and tour New Zealand and Australia.
Dylan: If people want to seek out your music, what’s the easiest way to find it online; also, when can we see you perform next locally?
Steph: Well, I am on iTunes, you can also find me on bandcamp.com, or just my name, Steph Macpherson.com, .net or .ca (they all go to the same site). The next time I’m playing will be for Shorefest for the Shore showcases on August 6th!
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