Heralded by fans as the Carole King of today, Rehya Stevens is an award winning singer-songwriter with a handsome satchel of press-worthy tv, film, and advertizing placements. But for us, it's her compelling songs and soulful voice that make her the talk of the town.
Ironically, Stevens' fresh sound and vivid lyrical signature harkens back to the inkwell of treasured hits by Donny Hathaway, Burt Bacharach, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Bucking the trends of today's pop music climate has served her - and her audience well.
Her all-original Christmas album "Celebrate" has received multiple accolades, including a #2 Billboard hit with Happy Holiday, and an HMMA Award (Hollywood Music in Media) for Jingle Jangle (awarded "Best in Holiday"). Additionally, Jingle Jangle is featured in three films; "Noelle" (Disney+), "Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen" (Hallmark), and "Black Christmas," which made it's theatrical debut on December 13th, 2019.
Rehya's latest single "'Tis The Season" is a self-penned, fun-loving ode to the stress and chaos of the holiday season. Stevens' seasoned talent is showcased boldly on this track, which comes off as a sure-fire holiday classic for the ages. The singer’s masterful vocals sweep engagingly throughout, leaving no wonder as to why it's been so well received. Perhaps it's simply a foreshadow of future success to note that 'Tis The Season is featured alongside Jingle Jangle in the Disney+ film, "Noelle" (starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, and Shirley MacLaine).
Unlike traditional tried and true Christmas songs, Tis The Season brings something fresh, yet evergreen to the same old holiday playlist. We’ll definitely be playing this song on repeat throughout the holidays!
Check out 'Tis The Season here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Rehya! Your musical career includes quite the repertoire! Was writing music for film/tv etc. placements a goal when you started out?
No! I started out writing and recording music that I wanted to make - with no designs on film and tv. The film/tv placements happened unexpectedly. I have written songs specifically for film and tv, but the songs that see the most placements were written just because.
Your talent has been compared to some other great artists like Carole King and Stevie Wonder. Are these the artists that influence you the most?
I have so many influences. Growing up, I was mesmerized by Tapestry and Songs in the Key of Life. But nestled in-between were albums like Joni Mitchell's "Blue," every album from Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin, The Carpenters, Madonna, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, George Michael, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and all the pop and jazz standards from the American songbook. I have always been a music junkie.
What was the creative process for making "Tis The Season"?
I started writing 'Tis The Season at my Yamaha upright, after two glasses of wine. I was puttering around the house - just trying to let go of the long day I'd had and in pops this melody and lyric, "Deck! the halls with boughs of holly (fa-la-la-la-la it's Christmas time)... 'Tis the season, oh by golly too..." so I stayed up and worked on it until the wee hours of the morning. A few weeks later, I played it for Jon Kubis, and we decided to finish it together. He's a father of 3 young children, so he started rattling off all the demands of pulling off a 5 star Christmas for the family. Like, staying up until 4 am on Christmas Eve, putting bikes together -- and trying not to wake up the kids. But, you're so exhausted that you keep dropping tools -- losing washers, nuts, and bolts, and bumping your head on the coffee table.
I mean, who hasn't experienced the exhausting side of the holidays? It was fun to write about the chaos of Christmas, with a little "Que sera, sera" nod to the season. I mean, we all know that we drive ourselves mad at Christmas time, but we do it over and over again, year after year! I guess it's a testament to the fact that we all feel compelled to create and experience the magic, no matter the cost.
Where did the desire to write a holiday album come from?
I have always loved Christmas music. I love the lush elegance of the holiday standards. The melodies are so musical. The lyrics are like 3-D paintings. The arrangements are timeless. Yet, as much as I love those 20-30 standards, by mid-December each year, I want to hear something fresh. So, I set out to make a Christmas album that people might cherish for years to come. I suppose I needed to hear new Christmas standards SO desperately, that I decided to take a swing at writing a whole new Christmas catalog. The Celebrate album is a collection of 9 all-new original Christmas songs, so that's a good indication of my level 10 passion for Christmas music! Also, I just love to celebrate. It's fun to make music that celebrates the journey. Without big, fun, festive indulgences now and then, we'd never take our noses off the grindstone long enough to appreciate our lives!
What's next for you in the coming new year? I've written songs for a few artists that I'm crazy about! I can't wait to see them launch, and how they're received. I also plan to release some new music in the summer and follow up with another Christmas album in the fall. If all goes like clock-work, I'll be able to do all of it. It'll take some heavy lifting, but I believe in this new music, so I'm excited about the adventure!
You've put us right in the holiday mood with "Tis The Season," how are you spending your holidays this year?
I'll be loading up my sleigh, and heading up to northern California to be with family. I plan on cooking and baking up a storm, reading, watching movies, taking long walks and bike rides through the woods, playing in the snow, and enduring epic 5-day games of Monopoly with my niece, Sarah and my nephew, Matt. We go hard! All we need is a block of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese, ritz crackers, and cider, and we're ready to roll for days!