Welcome, Stephan Nance! Your recent single "Why Snow White" has debuted and features articulate piano stylings alongside your intensely tenacious vocal sound. How did you intend for your listeners to particularly feel when listening to this track? How is it that you personally feel while listening to this track, especially now that it has been released? I wanted this song to be emotionally ambiguous and sort of hypnotic, like a lullaby but a little bit sinister. I think the dark side comes through in the bridge ("You know deep down you don't belong here"), but if not, it should be clear from the eerie synth outro that swells slightly as the last notes of the song fade away. When I listen to it, I feel happy with the mix and excited for other people to hear it! Are you able to walk our readers through the ultimate storyline of "Why Snow White", and why you felt compelled to write this distinctive song? I actually wrote the song when I was supposed to be learning a cover for a show. I was procrastinating and watching the birds outside my window. White-throated Sparrows are one of my favorites, and I thought it'd be nice to work them into a song. On one level, the song is about several boreal bird species that show up in Oregon in the winter and how out of place their white features appear in the Willamette Valley where it rarely snows. On another level, it's a reflection on whiteness, living on colonized land, and the phenomenon of white flight — white people moving out of urban areas where people of color live and into the suburbs. The visuals for the lyric video explore this second meaning. As an artist who has already toured across many countries, and seen a vast array of audiences, where would you say your favorite location is to travel and perform? Do you feel that the audience at your shows is pretty much consistent all across, or do you feel contrasting energies from the people in the crowd depending on the location you're in? It's a close tie between Japan and Russia. I can't pick a city in Japan, but in Russia, it's Kaliningrad. The shows are really heartwarming and the audience is so engaged and enthusiastic. By the end of the night, my face hurts from smiling so much. I also love playing Sofar Sounds shows no matter where they are. The energy can definitely vary, but I feel like it's actually gotten more consistent in the past year or so. I started looking at my performances more critically, and I think they've gotten a lot stronger and more engaging. Your second album, "Look at the Harlequins!" is set to release in the near future! Are there any specific themes that you were wanting to unfold with this specific album of yours? Birds! The album references 21 species of birds. Birds lend each song a strong sense of place. The Glaucous-winged Gulls and Sooty Grouse in "Grey & Green" characterize Vancouver, BC. Then in “Reverse Nature Shock (家の家)," a song about coming back to the US after touring Japan, we have hashibuto and hashiboso garasu (Large-billed and Carrion Crows). One track, "Pompeii," is birdless, but the location is pretty obvious there. It's a migratory album. What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020? Well, I just made the difficult decision to postpone my fourth Japan tour till 2021, which is a huge bummer. I have bad asthma, and my lung collapsed when I was a kid, so I'm not taking any chances. The bright side is that I'm going to use the extra time to record my third album, Sparkbird. Mathias Kunzli (Regina Spektor, Lauryn Hill, Moby) just started tracking drums this week! I'm also working with him on a single that will come out in November. And I'm putting together a piano and vocals EP, hopefully, I can release it this fall as well.
Stream "Why Snow White" here, and connect with Stephan Nance on social media below.