North Carolina-bred, New York-based singer/composer/guitarist Becca Stevens has already received copious praise from the likes of the New York Times, describing her as “a best-kept secret” and “impressively absorbing.” The Boston Phoenix noted Becca’s “big voice and no-bull emotional delivery,” while the Winston-Salem Journal stated, “Stevens’ singing is remarkable, soulful, pitch-perfect and subtle in its controlled acrobatics. The arrangements are exquisitely produced, and her acoustic songs boast musical textures and colors that embrace the adventurism of jazz.”
Stevens’ intimate vocals communicate both warmth and effortless urgency, while her masterfully understated arrangements and seamlessly crafted tunes embrace inventive acoustic textures and idiosyncratic rhythmic and melodic elements. The resulting music offers a beguiling blend of head and heart that defies easy categorization, drawing upon elements of pop, jazz or folk without limiting itself to the rules of any particular genre. Her close-knit band, which includes Liam Robinson (accordion, keyboards, vocals), Chris Tordini (upright bass, vocals) and Jordan Perlson (drums and percussion) complement Becca’s own expressive work on guitar, ukulele and charango, while their earthy vocal harmonies provide a compelling counterpoint to her own personally charged vocals.
The daughter of musicians, Stevens began singing in her family’s band, The Tune Mammals, when she was two years old. She spent much of her childhood on stage, singing, acting and dancing, including a year-long tour in the lead role of The Secret Garden when she was ten. Stevens became fluent in jazz and classical guitar and in the folk music traditions of her native North Carolina—influences that still echo in her songwriting.
After graduating from the high school program at the North Carolina School of the Arts with a major in classical guitar, Stevens attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. It was at the New School that she met Chris Tordini and started to put together what would subsequently become the Becca Stevens Band.
Since graduating from the New School, Stevens has served as lead singer of Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, fronting a genre-bending 18-piece jazz orchestra interpreting the songs of Björk; toured and recorded with, and written lyrics for, jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti, and most recently performed at Carnegie Hall as featured singer with pianist Brad Mehldau. She’s also toured as part of drummer/composer Eric Harland’s all-star band; and has performed with such notable players as Jeff Ballard, Larry Grenadier, Mark Turner, Ed Simon, and Greg Hutchinson.
2010 saw the debut of Stevens’ first choral composition, Soli Deo Gloria, commissioned and performed by the Melodia Women’s Choir in New York. Becca also moonlights as one-third of Tillery, a trio with fellow singer/songwriters Rebecca Martin and Gretchen Parlato.
In 2011 Sunnyside records released the critically acclaimed Weightless a sparkling 12-song set revealing the accomplished young songstress as a startlingly original, refreshingly distinctive talent in her own right.