Wholly Confident: An Interview with Steven Christopher

From an early age, all Steven Christopher needed was some music and a pair of headphones to be content for hours. He would read the jacket of CDs from front to back, mimic what he heard on the radio and watch intently as his family members sang in church. For the rest of his childhood, nothing else spoke to him like music did.

He learned pretty quickly that members of the music industry tend to judge books by their cover; he said that he physically wasn’t seen as an artist and felt looked over or hardly looked at at all. For many people, that could be the deciding factor on whether or not pursuing a career in music is the right fit. For Christopher, it showed him that he would just have to do it all himself.

He tried to work in as many different aspects of entertainment as possible, from writing for other people to shooting music videos and even taking acting classes. He went from Atlanta to Los Angeles and eventually established a core group of collaborators that lift each other up in the best ways possible.

“I guess people didn't really see too much special about me so I had to take the things I wanted to do and create my own opportunities,” he said. “Atlanta is where things seemed to be popping music-wise so I moved out there but I got there and felt a little stunted creatively. Since I moved [to Los Angeles] I’ve felt like I created a community of people that creative-wise if I want to do something I know who to call to help make it happen.”

Something else that Christopher has struggled with is his songwriting ability. He has never been the person that is able to sit down and write a hit song in 30 minutes or less, and is definitely envious of those who can. However, he prefers to think of his songwriting as more like completing a puzzle. He might be cruising the streets of Los Angeles when an idea comes to him. A week later, he might look back at that idea and add a few more. As the puzzle pieces start to fit together, he finds that hit songs are written in a variety of ways.

He said he is still nowhere where he wants to be but he finally feels like he’s in a place where he understands who he is, what his sound is and what he wants things to look like and sound like. The best example of his progress is his latest single, “Don’t Feel Like Dancing”.

The song is a reflection of how his feelings for love have changed. He considers himself a hopeless romantic, but since his move to Los Angeles, he has found himself more focused on finding out what makes him happy instead of finding someone who can make him happy. He used to think he wouldn’t survive or live if he didn’t find that one love, but now he thinks of love as an “added bonus” to everything else he has going for him.

When it came to creating the music video, he decided he wanted to step into the role of director. He found himself learning all about different camera angles and lenses, types of equipment and ended up writing the treatment himself. He had his frequent collaborators on board when the threat of COVID-19 shut down any chance of creating what he wanted. He scaled down his ideas but wanted to make sure that the emotions of the song were still conveyed in the video. So he decided to “just break some shit up.”

In the middle of a hot spring day, Christopher painted the blue background, carried up (and eventually carried down) all the props and created the next best thing. It was another learning experience that was well worth it in the end.

“It feels like the first time I’m putting something out that I'm wholly confident in,” he said. “I feel really confident in this song. I feel really confident in this video and I'm happy with what I have and hoping that continues moving forward.”

Being a DIY artist is what makes a stronger artist, and Steven Christopher is as DIY as it gets. He is finally in a place where he’s both comfortable and confident, but knows that more hard work is what will get him to the next stage.