Contributor

Becca Stevens

Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter, band-leader and multi-instrumentalist.

Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter, band-leader and multi-instrumentalist Becca Stevens is among Lauren Laverne’s ‘Wonder Women’, a series of pioneering gigs with The Globe theatre in London this summer.

The series, curated by Laverne, ‘celebrates the extraordinary innovation of some powerful and visionary women who are altering the complexion of popular music in the 21st century in ways both iconic and disruptive’ and sees Becca Stevens and her band play live at the prestigious Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on Tuesday 18th July.

Fluent on guitar, ukulele, and charango, across three albums Becca has built a reputation for seamless arrangements, vivid textures and idiosyncratic melodic elements, across a myriad of musical influences such as indie rock, R&B, jazz, West African music and traditional Appalachian folk, with personally-charged songwriting and unique, impassioned vocals.

She has been hailed for her prodigious ability to craft exquisitely understated compositions both with her own band, and for artists who run the gamut of genre.

Becca’s London audience can expect reinterpretations of tracks from artists such as Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Winwood, Frank Ocean and Iron and Wine, music from her recent album ‘Perfect Animal’ and exclusive, unheard material from forthcoming album ‘Regina’.

Becca’s fourth album ‘Regina’ will be released early next year, it is inspired by Queen Elizabeth I and is underpinned by feminist themes and iconography, it will reveal ever more evocative and innovative musical textures, there will also be future collaborations with Laura Mvula, Esperanza Spalding and wunderkind Jacob Collier.

As Becca describes “My next album ‘Regina’ uses the powerful feminist icon Queen Elizabeth I as its muse and will be a different aspect of my musical self I am putting out into the world.”

The multifaceted artist is already beloved of jazz luminaries from Brad Mehldau to Esperanza Spalding. Becca has won widespread acclaim and a loyal fanbase around the world - for her own inspired releases with the Becca Stevens Band and for her work as a versatile collaborator with a diverse array of projects, such as with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, artists José James, Esperanza Spalding, Snarky Puppy and David Crosby as well pianists Timo Andres and Brad Mehldau.

The daughter of a composer/multi-instrumentalist father and an operatically trained singer mother, Becca was born to the sound of her dad playing an Irish fiddle tune in the delivery room. She was just two years old when she began singing in her family's band, the Tune Mammals. Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she spent much of her childhood on stage, singing, acting and dancing. In her teens, Becca studied classical guitar and maintained an affinity for her home state's Appalachian folk music traditions, while also developing her voice by singing jazz standards with her peers and mentors in local clubs.

After graduating, Becca moved to New York City to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where she received studied vocal jazz and composition and met Liam Robinson (accordion and keyboards), Chris Tordini (bass) and Jordan Perlson (drums and percussion), the musicians with whom she formed the Becca Stevens Band. She also founded the successful trio Tillery with Rebecca Martin and Gretchen Parlato.

Becca quickly began building a diverse body of work, and earning the respect and admiration of her peers. She launched her recording career with her well-received 2008 debut album ‘Tea Bye Sea’, which the New York Times called an "impressively absorbing album". Then came its even more popular 2011 follow-up ‘Weightless’ (Sunnyside) which saw Stevens tour the world with her Becca Stevens Band.

2015 saw the highly anticipated follow up to ‘Weightless’ with a new record of originals and covers entitled ‘Perfect Animal’ (Universal Music) which received copious praise from the likes of The New York Times, who described her as “a best-kept secret” and “impressively absorbing”. Becca has recently completed an international tour including a London Jazz Festival gig at the Royal Festival Hall where she opened for Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, plus live dates at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, the Barbican, Conde Duque Estio Festival, Barcelona Jazz Festival and Bremen Music Festival.

As well as Becca’s ‘Wonder Women’ gig in London this summer, upcoming performances include the Nice Jazz Festival and teaching at the Lisbon Jazz Summer School with Tillery, followed by a European tour this autumn.