Defying an easy label, Steven’s music is incredibly diverse, ranging from acoustic ballads to hard rock. With three studio albums and a host of indie bands claiming him as their producer, Joel Steven is becoming a force in the world of new rock. His latest album “The Dark After Dawn” is a powerful, haunting tale of one man’s struggle in the modern faltering world. Akin to great albums like Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ and Sting’s ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales”, the new rock album is raw artistic expression touching on themes of love, drug addiction, insanity, depression, and war.
Not just a songwriter, Joel is also performer, recording engineer, and multi-instrumentalist with proficiency in guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. At the age of 16, Joel hit the stage as a rock guitarist where his dynamic intensity as a live performer quickly gained him notoriety. By the age of 18, Joel was doing live shows across his home state of Michigan capturing the attention of his audiences with his electrifying stage presence and blistering yet bluesy guitar style often described as a cross between Jimmy Page and David Gilmore.
In 1986 Steven settled in Kalamazoo Michigan where he sought to hone his skills as a songwriter and lyricist by gaining a degree in creative writing. He attended Western Michigan University from 1986-1990 and graduated with a BA in English. His talent as a poet was refined, and his love of imagery began to make its way into his original songs, creating a solid foundation where words and music reinforced one another.
“People always ask me if I use my degree in the real word. I smile and reply every single day. The depth and into which I delved into the art of writing poetry and in understanding the English language formed the basis of my skills as a lyricist, and I value this education above all of my other learning”.
While attending the University, Steven continued to play live and became know as a prolific songwriter. He formed twe original bands to showcase his music. The hard rocking ‘Mana Rule’ (1990-1994 and ‘Eel pie Island’ (1994-1995) both of which became known for Joel’s unyielding stage performances and edgy improvisational guitar riffs.
Wanting always to learn and grow musically, Steven moved to California in 1995 and began to explore the realm of audio engineering. Forever fascinated by musical arrangements and how instruments and tones work together, Joel pursued a career as a live sound engineer. When he wasn’t performing live, he was mixing night club and concert sound for prominent national bands such as Charlie Daniels Band, Iron Butterfly, Dread Zeppelin and Suicidal Tendencies.
“I absolutely loved mixing live sound. It taught me extremely valuable engineering skills that I would later come to cherish as I sought my lifelong dream of becoming a recording artist in my own studio”.
Following his dream Steven did just that. In 1999 he opened a small recording studio and established the indie label Octagon Records with the intention of writing and recording independent music that he believed In. This was the start of Joel’s career as an independent recording artist. Since then he has released three albums of original music, “North Coast”, “Fathomless” and “The Dark After Dawn”, as well as two albums of instrumental rock with the venerable keyboardist Paul Grove under the name “What Man Was”. Several songs form Joel’s CDs can be heard on MTV’s Real Word, Road Rules, Made, and Extreme Challenge as Well as two indie films, “Read White and you” and “Insomnia Century 21”
Edited by joel8steven on 31 Mar 2012, 18:24
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