Becca Stevens | Artists | GroundUP Music

Becca Stevens

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Becca Stevens Bio

Twice GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Becca Stevens has established an outstanding career of blending effortless vocal talent with exquisite compositions that draw inspiration from pop, jazz, indie-rock, and folk music traditions. Her music stretches the boundaries of convention with songs that weave together her classical and Appalachian folk music upbringing with her love of the rich rhythms and harmonies of jazz and world music, further enhanced and accompanied by her skill on multiple string instruments.

Becca has toured internationally as the bandleader of the Becca Stevens Band since its inception in 2006. Along with her solo output, Becca is a highly respected collaborator who has written and toured extensively with the likes of David Crosby as an active member of his Lighthouse Band, Jacob Collier, Michael League of Snarky Puppy and Taylor Eigsti, to name just a few.

Becca has released collaborative records that blend her original music with the world-renowned Secret Trio, as well as with the illustrious Attacca Quartet (with whom she was co-nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals with violist Nathan Schram). Becca has performed and recorded with many of her musical heroes, including Brad Mehldau, Laura Mvula, Michael McDonald, Snarky Puppy, Chris Thile, Antonio Sánchez, Alan Hampton, Gretchen Parlato, Louis Cole, Vince Mendoza, Brian Blade, Metropole Orkest, Tim Heidecker and Ambrose Akinmusire, among many others.

Her upcoming album, Maple to Paper (GroundUP ’24), is an illuminating glimpse into her most private moments of grief and transcendence, rendered with both stunning clarity and heartfelt devotion to music’s alchemical powers. In a profound shift from the highly communal nature of her past projects—including her Grammy-nominated 2020 LP Wonderbloom, Maple to Paper showcases Stevens’ ability to captivate the listener with the barest of elements.  Working at her home studio in New Jersey, she slowly dreamed up a stripped-down sound rooted in her spellbinding guitar work and raw yet luminous vocal performance. Recorded live with no overdubs and mixed by Stevens’ frequent collaborator Nic Hard (Snarky Puppy, Huntertones), Maple to Paper offsets its exacting minimalism with an emotional force that envelops the listener right from the outset of the record.

In the Summer of 2024, Becca makes her Broadway debut in ILLINOISE, a musical based on Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, book written by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury.

Music

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Maple to Paper (2024)

For singer/songwriter Becca Stevens, making music is a charmed form of service—a means of mining her own experience for insight into the beautiful complexity of being alive, in the hopes of providing others with understanding and solace and a renewed sense of strength. But in the early days of 2023, the North Carolina-bred artist felt an overwhelming need to process two monumental changes in her life (the death of her mother and the start of her own journey into motherhood), and soon sought the comfort and catharsis of pure self-expression. By the time she emerged from that period of unfettered creativity, Stevens had completed her new album Maple to Paper: an illuminating glimpse into her most private moments of grief and transcendence, rendered with both stunning clarity and heartfelt devotion to music’s alchemical powers.

In a profound shift from the highly communal nature of her past projects—including her Grammy- nominated 2020 LP Wonderbloom; her widely celebrated work as a member of David Crosby’s Lighthouse Band; her collaborations with such diverse artists as Laura Mvula, Chris Thile, Jacob Collier, and Brad Mehldau; and her recent stint performing on Broadway in Illinoise, a musical based on Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and choreographed by Justin Peck—Stevens arranged, recorded, and produced Maple to Paper in absolute solitude. Working at her home studio in New Jersey, she slowly dreamed up a stripped-down sound rooted in her spellbinding guitar work and raw yet luminous vocal performance. “In many ways these songs feel like the polar opposite of the last record,” says Stevens, referring to Wonderbloom (a funk/R&B-infused album featuring over 40 guest musicians). “This time it was much more of a troubadour approach, where you throw your guitar on your back and go out into the world to tell your story.” Comprised of 12 original songs and one heartrending cover of “Rainbow Connection,” Maple to Paper ultimately strays from the unbridled eclecticism of Stevens’ previous work and fully embraces the unhurried simplicity of folk. “This album brought me back to my roots as a guitarist, especially the Appalachian folk music my dad raised us on,” notes Stevens, a classically trained guitarist. “Instead of feeling the urge to bring in other instruments and add a lot of complicated rhythms and harmonies, I challenged myself to find a way to make the songs believable without relying on anything but guitar and vocals to hold them up.”

Recorded live with no overdubs and mixed by Stevens’ frequent collaborator Nic Hard (Snarky Puppy, Huntertones), Maple to Paper offsets its exacting minimalism with an emotional force that envelops the listener right from the first seconds of “Now Feels Bigger than the Past”—an exquisitely gripping opening number that intertwines the LP’s themes of loss, acceptance, and the struggle to sustain authenticity in a world of fast-shifting attention. Next, on “Shoulda Been There for Me,” Stevens offers up a quietly devastating track born from her real-time processing of grief, inhabiting everything from heartache to fury as she ruminates on the death of her mother (a former opera singer who passed away from breast cancer in September 2022). From there, she drifts into the lighthearted but incisive commentary of “I’m Not Her,” bringing brilliantly barbed humor to her musings on the absurdity of influencer culture (from the first verse: “Clever algorithm’s never the wiser/While she does her laundry in a sacred jungle geyser/’Cause she, quote, ‘lives off the earth’”).

Although much of Maple to Paper examines the sorrow of loss and the lovely chaos of motherhood, a number of songs speak to the untold intricacies of living an artist’s life. On “Someone Else Again,” for instance, Stevens presents a passionate meditation on the artist’s need to explore and evolve, often at the risk of defying the audience’s expectations. Meanwhile, on the album’s dreamlike title track, she shares a seven-minute-long epic threaded with her playfully poetic contemplation of impermanence and the possibility of metaphysical transformation after death. “Writing ‘Maple to Paper’ was magical; it tumbled out of me rather quickly,” Stevens says. “And even though it’s kind of dark, it feels like I’m sailing along on a clear day whenever I play it.”

Looking back on the making of Maple to Paper, Stevens describes the experience as “at its best moments deeply cathartic and on hard days a means of survival.” But while the album draws much of its power from Stevens’ unguarded outpouring of pain, each song embodies an undeniable radiance of spirit—a direct reflection of the deliberate love and care she brought to every step of the process. “One of the most important things I learned from this record is that motherhood can strengthen your art rather than take away from it,” she says. “I was able to afford the luxury of bringing my daughter to daycare for a few hours a day, and it really lit the fire to make the most of that time and do everything I could to serve the songs.” On a more bittersweet note, Stevens also discovered an unexpected sustenance in holding her memories of David Crosby, who passed away soon after she began recording Maple to Paper. “After losing my mom it was so difficult to lose David too, but on the good days I could feel his music in me,” she says. “I’d look down at my hands and see his hands, and I could hear him encouraging me—almost like he was a songwriting partner.”

As she gets set to share Maple to Paper with the world, Stevens admits to a certain unease surrounding the release of such an intensely personal body of work. “In all honesty I didn’t even realize I was making an album at first—I just needed to work through what was happening in my life, and the simplest way to do that was to turn it into music,” she says. “There have been times when I’ve asked myself, ‘Is this too much?’, but I always come back to the hope that it might end up helping people. If someone could hear these songs and come away feeling like they understand their own experience in a new way, that would mean so much to me. As an artist, that’s always the dream.”

Click here to stream the lead single from Maple to Paper, "Now Feels Bigger Than The Past"!
1 Now Feels Bigger than the Past
2 Shoulda Been There for Me
3 I’m Not Her
4 Hey, Bear
5 How to Listen
6 Wild Eyes Open
7 Maple to Paper
8 If I Die Before You
9 Someone Else Again
10 Beast of a Song
11 Playin’ to be Apart
12 Rainbow Connection
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WONDERBLOOM (2020)

1 Low on Love
2 I Wish
3 Between Me & You
4 Good Stuff
5 Slow Burn
6 Charlemagne
7 I Will Avenge You
8 You Didn't Know
9 True Minds
10 Feels Like This
11 Never Mine
12 Response To Criticism
13 Halfway
14 Heather's Letter to Her Mother
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Regina (2017)

1 Venus (featuring Lara Mvula)
2 Lean On
3 Both Still Here (featuring Jacob Collier)
4 45 Bucks
5 Queen Mab
6 We Know Love
7 Mercury
8 Regina
9 Harbour Hawk
10 Well Loved (featuring Laura Mvula)
11 Ophelia
12 The Muse (featuring David Crosby)
13 As (featuring Jacob Collier)

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