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I’d like to start a movement called “Family Dinner” and it involves having people of various backgrounds, nationalities, ages, sizes, abilities sitting down to share a meal

With Stevvi Alexander, singer for the band PublicART


I have this idea called “Family Dinner” and it basically involves having people of various backgrounds, nationalities, ages, sizes, abilities sitting down to share a meal. It’s very informal and low cost and I think it could help to start a dialogue between people who would otherwise never have the chance to interact. One of my greatest concerns in our world is that we are too tribal. We all have a tendency to look for reasons to draw lines between ourselves and others instead of the other way around. It’s this process that tends to dehumanize others. If we could just sit down for a couple hours and have the chance to see the commonalities I think it would be the beginning of a more balanced viewpoint politically, socially and culturally.


I had the pleasure to interview Stephanie “Stevvi” Alexander, singer for the band PublicART. Stevvi is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and actress who was recently featured as an artist with the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience alongside the show’s composer Ramin Djawadi. She has also appeared in Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil. Stevvi has recorded with Incubus, Macy Gray, Colbie Caillat, Mike Posner, Q-Burns Abstract Message, Gin Wigmore, the UK band Hard-Fi, The Damned Things and toured the world with artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac, Barbra Streisand, Sheryl Crow, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, The Roots, Gwen Stefani and Diana Ross.

Stevvi had a recurring role on David E. Kelley’s television show The Wedding Bells playing a wedding singer performing both on-screen and recording the music off-screen. She has also appeared in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man as part of Macy Gray’s band and in Garry Marshall’s film New Year’s Eve playing alongside Leah Michelle and Lucy Woodward as a backing singer for Jon Bon Jovi. Stevvi was also featured in 20 Feet from Stardom, a documentary film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, about acclaimed background singers produced by Morgan Neville, and Gil Friesen of Tremolo Productions.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up in a very restrictive, religious environment made me feel as though I didn’t have a voice so I used music as a way to find expression and identity. Early on I held on to music as though my life depended on it, but again due to our religious faith I certainly didn’t ever think a successful career in music was possible. I had no model for it or any indication that it could be done! Singing in church provided an incredible education in the spontaneous, improvisational environment of Gospel music, but when it came time to go to college I decided to get a degree in business. Again, I felt like even with a music degree there was no specific career path so I decided to play it safe. Interestingly though, by the time I got ready to graduate from college I had signed a record deal which is what allowed me so enter the music industry in a real way. The rest has been history. If I were to tell you a story it would be nothing more than hard work, learning the lessons, stubbornness and sticking it out. Not the most romantic story but the truth.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?

The most magical story would probably be the story that I elude to in the lyrics for our song “Montreux”. I looked up one day and I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world (Montreux, Switzerland) with some of the most incredible artists (Sheryl Crow and Pharrell) being invited to perform on one of the most historical and artistically relevant stages (Montreux Jazz Festival) and I just realized that I had stumbled upon a perfect moment in time. It’s important to be able to stop and recognize a great moment when you’re in it — they don’t come around often enough.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Aside from the EP that Jan and I have just released, I am presently working with Ramin Djawadi who is the composer of the music for Game of Thrones and Westworld. We are presently touring around the U.S. performing the music from Game of Thrones and it’s incredibly epic if you factor in dragons, fire and all of the characters from the show. It’s a lot of fun but is also very challenging to sing lead on someone else’s music. I take the responsibility very seriously.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Probably a few of the most interesting people would be Stevie Nicks and Macy Gray. Stevie is amazing because she is everything you would want a rock goddess and legend to be like. She is intuitive, generous, kind, maternal. She really knows how to make someone feel like they are the only person in the room. Macy on the other hand was absolutely as crazy as the stories you’ve heard! She is batty, distracted, tended to be on drugs a good portion of the time that I worked with her but is a complete genius who is funny as all get out, so kind and so much fun to be around. She once got left at a truck stop because she wandered off the bus in the middle of the night, failed to tell the bus driver and well, yeah.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Well aside from political figures and a few community leaders, I’m inspired by Prince. Prince was a short, black man from a predominantly white neighborhood in Minnesota who somehow found the guts to throw on some heels and eyeliner, asked the public to question his sexual orientation and without the support of any band mates or community, turned the music world upside down in the late 70’s. That level of belief in one’s self is staggering to me. I think he was a consistently fearless artist who realized he was also the smartest person in the room and as a result he took chances, didn’t care about the fall-out and had the goods to back all of it up. I think he is one of history’s most complete musical artists hands down.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m of the mind that music is best approached as a healing modality moreso than as a means to fame or money. With that in mind, I took my experience and went back to school to get a masters degree in something called Music Therapy because I wanted to find more meaning in my own musical experience and find a way to offer it to others in the purest way possible. Music therapy is a growing field that uses the elements of music — tone, beat, harmony, lyrics — to allow people to express themselves and relate their experiences in safe, holding environments so they can process trauma and begin the process of healing. I have worked with many populations including drug and alcohol abuse, autism, dementia and when I look up during a group exercise and realized we have just written an intimate song and are all singing it together cooperatively there is great meaning there for me and hopefully for the people I’m working with as well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I have this idea called “Family Dinner” and it basically involves having people of various backgrounds, nationalities, ages, sizes, abilities sitting down to share a meal. It’s very informal and low cost and I think it could help to start a dialogue between people who would otherwise never have the chance to interact. One of my greatest concerns in our world is that we are too tribal. We all have a tendency to look for reasons to draw lines between ourselves and others instead of the other way around. It’s this process that tends to dehumanize others. If we could just sit down for a couple hours and have the chance to see the commonalities I think it would be the beginning of a more balanced viewpoint politically, socially and culturally.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

The first thing I would say is to seek balance as much as you can. This is a very up and down business and if you don’t locate and put parachutes in place you will go down faster than the next guy. I have watched my career outlast others simply because I had job skills that kept me going in the civilian world while I was waiting for my performance work to become more secure. Also, it can’t be said enough but learn how to allocate your money in such a way that you aren’t having to fill your time up taking work that you don’t want to do because you are maxed out on your bills. Live below your means so that you have time to create and chase your muse instead of being harried and stressed. Lastly, I would say take breaks, be a human, don’t just chase money or fame. Have a well-rounded experience because no one wants to listen to a show business robot, we want to hear the story of someone we can relate with.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Commit to the moment — opportunities to shine don’t come around as often as you might think so take a deep breath and decide to be great in every moment. Don’t shy away from the spotlight. Make a statement and an impact every chance you can.

2. Don’t take anything personally — there is far too much to misunderstand and get wrong so don’t even begin trying to analyze everyone’s responses and motives. Be in integrity with yourself and don’t sweat the rest.

3. Voice lessons matter — it took me years to figure this out and it was a mistake. When I looked up at 31 and had almost lost my voice it was time to start over and I lost a lot of time because I didn’t understand the importance of proper vocal care.

4. Invest in yourself — again this is another one that took me a while to learn. I have always been frugal and being an artist just drove that concept home even more. I would spend money as though each check were my last until I realized that the money sitting in my bank account was so much better spent on growing my career. From things like equipment to my healthcare and fitness to my social media, I had to decide to make myself my greatest investment and in order to grow my business I had to release some of my money to do it!

5. Have fun and enjoy the process. No one wants to be around someone who is suffering for their art. Find ways to make it joyful and light. The truth is that there is a ton of suffering and commitment but you don’t want to present that to others. Spend time doing the hard work and then bring the results to your public!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them :-)

Yes, a cute single man. I need to take some of my own advice and find more balance. Apparently, I’m not creating enough time to date successfully. No seriously, I’d love to sit down with Bill and Melinda Gates and figure out how I could work with them to make sure there are music programs in underrepresented communities. I’d love to teach underserved kids not only the beauty and joy of commitment to an artistic pursuit but would also like to be create a financial education curriculum that finds ways to engage young kids to understand the inner workings of investment products and savings. I think there is a huge deficit in this area and I’d love to be a part of change in this regard.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

PublicART is well represented online and we can be found on Instagram under @publicartmusic and also at our website which is www.publicartmusic.com

Individually, Jan and I can be found as well. My IG handle is @stevvialexander and Jan’s is also very creative, it is @janozveren

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