MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
- Stephanie Jeannot: Was choir directing at this church in Harlem, The Mt Moriah Baptist Church where Pastor Edward Earl Johnson Sr was the pastor. I went to see a Gospel concert there and was invited to come and work with the youth choir as their choir director.
They weren’t with the hymns which are pretty much amongst my favorite songs to sing and so trying to teach them those songs only ended up with me crying for the duration of the train ride the “quickest way to and from Harlem” to Brooklyn every weekend. Those kids inspired me to write songs so that they would sing them in the church and I gave myself a deadline. An album for them for Christmas. So my deadline was Christmas Eve to have the recording ready. I wrote day and night and came up with 14 tracks; an intro, an outro, two interludes, and ten full-length songs. I created all the tracks using Cakewalk Sonar. I even got a Triton just to try for them. I even had a live bassist come and record a bassline on one of the songs for me. It was both a fun and thrilling adventure. I think I have loved to write songs ever since.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
- Stephanie Jeannot: So, apparently when I was a little baby, I saw Michael Jackson moonwalking across the television screen and got so excited that I threw my sippie cup into the tv. LOL! People sometimes tell me I sound like him when I sing. Then it was Deniece Williams and my neighbors told me that I used to sing her songs to them all the time. Then it was Whitney and her big sound that had me imitating trying to achieve the big sound also. In the fifth grade, I discovered Mariah Carey and from then onwards, I would sing every album she had, which I had, to the four walls of my basement every evening, all evening long. My cousin introduced me to the sounds of Sarah Vaughan and I started to love her so much that my friend made me this DVD with 962 selections that she sang. I saw Amel Larrieux in concert five times. And along the journey, I also fell in love with Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Ledisi, and LaLah Hathaway, just to name a few.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
- Stephanie Jeannot: I want to perform and touch the hearts of people all over the world. I see how music binds people together. It is so healing and so powerful. Just singing a song could heal a mood. It can teach. It can get people to reminisce and remember things. I want to be somewhat of a conduit to get folks wherever they are on the planet, to be listening to my melodies, lyrics, and voice; on my records, on the radio, on streaming platforms, live on stage, and however, God allows me to share my songs with positive messages.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
- Stephanie Jeannot: My ultimate favorite was during the white night summer season in Arkhangelsk, Russia. My friend Guitarist, Tim Dorefeev, puts together an annual blues festival there every year at the Lomonosov Drama Theatre and I got a chance to perform and sing my original song, “Wherever You Are” on that beautiful stage. It is always thrilling when the audience sings my lyrics with me. Even in a different language, people understand soul and love for music and it binds people together.
MuzicNotez: One of your most popular tracks is ‘Wherever You Are’, what inspired this song? How would you describe it?
- Stephanie Jeannot: It was a love situation that made me think of having a song that illustrated what it meant when love was in the building. Wherever it is, that is where I want to be.
MuzicNotez: You write your own music, what’s your writing process like?
- Stephanie Jeannot: It differs every time. Sometimes it is an experience that draws me to write and a song comes about. Sometimes, the music comes first, and then the lyrics. Sometimes, I am so inspired by a conversation, story, sermon, or whatever it is, and moments later, a song. We are all like walking books because we have so many stories of our experiences inside of us that stay embedded inside. Writing songs is a creative outlet. I was a poet first and so I am always writing, all the time. It is more of a fascination with words and how you use them that adds fun to the experience.
MuzicNotez: You also host and produce a jazz show on the radio called JNote, what’s that show like?
- Stephanie Jeannot: The show was created to try to keep the genre, history, music, culture, and art of jazz alive. It holds so much history in it and my hope is to not let jazz music die with us. I want to have continuity and the only way to do that is by sharing the collective knowledge of our ancestors and how they paved the way for integration. The show is centered around the question, “what is jazz?” It features non-stop music and talk and airs each and every Sunday evening at 7:30PM EST on WNY 91.5 FM.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
- Stephanie Jeannot: I am working on a new EP for the holiday season. I am also working on a full length album working with other producers and writers as well. Most of the songs, I have sung thus far on releases, were songs written by me all except for the remake of Whitney Houston’s “Love Will save the Day” with Bobby D’Ambrosio. Coming soon will be a full-length album of a meld of songs written by me and also other writers. So, stay tuned for that. Also working on expanding my writing to apply it to other areas as far as writing is concerned. Great things are in the work.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
- Stephanie Jeannot: If you want to keep up with what’s next; the music, the photos, the live events, make sure to visit http://jnotemusic.com or follow me on IG http://instagram.com/jnotemusic