Becca Stevens new album ft. Laura Mvula, David Crosby & more
'Regina', her new album out March 24th on GroundUP Music.
In the two years since the release of her critically acclaimed third album, Perfect Animal, Stevens has undertaken a journey that began with a study of Queen Elizabeth I. This expanded into tributes to various queens from history, literature, folklore, and her own imagination, to songs inspired by the regal and divine, and finally to Regina as a voice, like a trusted friend or an alter ego.
Stevens’ style has always evaded categorisation, and with Regina, even more so. Intricate instrumentation and rhythms seamlessly intertwine with vocals and melodies that draw you in and stay with you. The album combines elements of pop, rock, R&B and funk side-by-side with traditional Appalachian and British folk, classical, world music, and jazz.
Produced by Troy Miller, Regina features creative and performance collaborations with Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, Jacob Collier, Laura Mvula, and the legendary David Crosby. The album was recorded in several phases – in London with Miller, a second London session with Collier (a co-producer on the album along with Stevens and League), and alternating sessions with Miller and League in Brooklyn. During the Brooklyn sessions, Stevens reunited with her trusted band members, Liam Robinson, Chris Tordini, and Jordan Perlson. Additional collaborations included Alan Hampton, Jo Lawry, and string arrangements by Nathan Schram featuring Hamilton Berry and the award-winning Attacca Quartet.
As for her muse for the album, Stevens explains, “Regina has become an alter ego, or an imaginary friend. Like a dream, she exists separate from me but is reliant upon my consciousness to exist. I carry her with me in everything now. So I guess you could say that neither ends; in Becca, there is always Regina, and in Regina, there is always Becca.”
Regina, her first release on GroundUP Music, also marks the first time Stevens has recorded solely under her own name, instead of as the Becca Stevens Band.
“I’ve been inspired for a few years now to make a record as ‘Becca Stevens’ as opposed to ‘Becca Stevens Band,’” Stevens explains. “It’s by no means a departure from my bandmates, as they are still all featured and essential parts of this album and will be the ones touring the music with me, but more so inspired by a desire to open the floodgates of artistic collaboration. There are so many artists I’ve come across lately who inspire me and whom I have the desire to write for and collaborate with. Bringing this energy of collaboration into my writing and record making process has given my music more direction, and clarity of artistic vision and self-expression. I feel like a painter finally painting her muse after a lifetime of painting landscapes and self-portraits.”
Stevens’ 2015 album Perfect Animal was released to wide critical acclaim. NPR’s All Things Considered said Stevens “looks for detours and wild ear-stretching sounds that make you want to listen again,” and the New York Times said she “has a wizardly proficiency on an array of stringed instruments, and her singing is luxurious: pliable and hale but often foreshadowing a sob.” Since the release of Perfect Animal, Stevens has toured the world, most recently joining Crosby on the road for his Lighthouse tour (Stevens also co-writes and sings on the album of the same name).
Stevens will tour extensively in 2017, with tour dates to be announced soon. These will include a performance with Snarky Puppy at Brixton Academy on May 5th.