Since picking up her first Nordoff Robbins Award three years ago, Scotland’s Stephanie Cheape’s been nothing but busy on the live circuit. Well, until the world stopped turning in 2020!
Stephanie’s been writing constantly during lockdown – by herself, plus co-writing with some of Scotland’s finest, like Sam McTrusty and Ross McNae from Twin Atlantic, and Lewis Gardiner formerly of Prides fame. Her new single, Queen, is a co-write with Sam and Ross and produced by Lewis, it’s the result of some of Scotland’s finest talents hooking.
Stephanie recently discussed her music inspirations with Andy Howells.
Tell us about your latest single, Queen.
Writing is absolute escapism. I’m not very good at articulating how I feel about much in reality so writing became a method of communication for me as a person to process whatever I was feeling or seeing around my life at that particular time, but also just to experiment with how I think as an artist and how that influences me as a writer.
I definitely have struggled with lockdown, the isolation alone was brutal for me although it has led to some great opportunities in my writing. If I’m being brutally honest – I’ve hated it. I can’t wait to be in the atmosphere of live people enjoying life.
Queen is unpredictable, it’s all about self-love. Absolute acceptance. Confidence in every gender. As Cher famously said. “I am a rich man”.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
Cash Machine by Hard-Fi. I loved the reality of the lyrics, singing about living from pay check to pay check met by the gritty vocals of Richard Archer. Their album stars of CCTV really influenced me to try out paper to pen and tell my story through music. I was captivated by their sound and it was the starting point for learning how to play guitar and start writing.
What was the first single you bought?
Prince 1999. When I was younger, I always remember sticking out like a sore thumb because of my music taste compared to others my age. But I grew up listening to Prince, David Bowie, Sting, the list goes on so I always heavily influenced by the 80’s even before I began making my own music.
What was the first album you owned?
First album was Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV. still love it. Insane album, I remember reading they made it on a budget of a couple of hundred quid and when I pulled my headphones out a little I could hear people talking in the studio. It felt like I could make music because they had done it…
What’s your constant go to track?
It depends on how I feel but for me it’s Killing In The Name Of – Rage Against The Machine. gets me through every workday.
What’s your constant go to album?
Starman (2012 remaster). I’ve always been a huge Bowie fan – I don’t know anyone who isn’t but that album is part of his legacy.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
This is actually why I miss live music so much because that’s when I’ll see someone and become obsessed – but recently I came across Bonnie Kempley on BBC introducing. I think she will be incredible.
What’s the track that best defines you as an artist?
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) – Sweet Dreams.British new wave sound which came out of nowhere and for me that is exactly what I intend to create.