Upon hearing his radiant voice or seeing him in action as a dynamic actor and drag performer, one might not imagine that Stephonne Singleton used to struggle with a heaping sense of self-doubt around his music.
“I stopped listening to the music and instead listened to rejection, doubt and a lot of self-sabotage,” he said in press materials.
That all changed with the work behind his sultry single “Want Me,” which dropped in 2019 but had been written well before his 2018 debut album, “Caged Bird Sings Songs About Red Beard.” The song sparked a successful crowdfunding effort, which would lead to a gorgeous music video and the inception of Stephonne's next EP.
“I finally found a full confidence and strength in myself again,” he said. “I got so much closer to my dream than ever before… a dream with steps and goals that I’d written down and prayed aloud for since I was 7.”
Today, Stephonne returns with “Deep,” the first official single from the upcoming “SIS: Side A” EP.
The song’s content came to him during a flight from Seattle to Kansas City.
“The melody and lyrics hit me like a brick, and after trying to hide my weeping face from the two passengers next to me, I went to that tiny bathroom and got everything on my phone,” Stephonne said.
"Deep" is a soaring, visceral pop tune that deals with unrequited love. It showcases his expansive vocal range, with a raw urgency that summons the memory of Prince, one of his prime influences. The single is a taste of what’s to come on the EP, which valiantly draws upon Stephonne’s evolving sense of his own artistry and identity.
“Sis, I’m Black, unapologetically Queer, and very sex-positive,” he said. “I’m at a point in my life where I embrace every single part and won’t spend energy on anything but self-love, my music and the things that I can help with to change this world for the better.”
Stephonne will commemorate the release of “SIS: Side A” on Friday, Aug. 7 at the Lemonad(e) Park Outdoor Concert Series. More details are available at the recordBar’s website.