Chance encounter at coffee shop led to singer/songwriter Stephanie Fagan signing to indie label Yonder Music | JazzCorner.com News
The days of an artist getting signed because of a chance meeting at a coffee shop are long gone. However, somebody forgot to tell that to singer/songwriter Stephanie Fagan.
The dulcet-voiced troubadour has just released her debut album, Heart Thief, on the independent record label Yonder Music, and she can partially thank this country's dependence on a morning caffeine rush for that accomplishment. "I was living in Florence, South Carolina working an office job at 21. I had gotten burned out and fired from that so I had just gone to work for a local coffee shop," Fagan recalled. "I was meandering, depressed, and writing the best songs of my life. One day this guy with shaggy blonde hair, Ken Jones, comes into the shop, and we have this long conversation about city planning of all things. Two weeks later he calls me at the coffee shop and asks if I want to come to his house and do some computer work for him. I knew nothing about computers but he didn't strike me as an axe murderer, and I needed extra money, so I said sure. I went to his house and met his super cool wife, Missy Davis Jones, and it wasn't long before I was doing odd jobs for her. I hit it off with both of them on a friend level, and through that they heard my music. As it happens they had just moved there from Los Angeles and were both working in and around the music merchandise business. The next thing I knew they had opened a really top-notch recording studio and founded Yonder Music with me as the flagship act."
Given the emotionally charged singing and insightful lyrics on Heart Thief it's no shock that Yonder Music would be attracted to Fagan's artistry. Versatile enough to balance her folk and country inspirations without leaning towards too much on either of them, Fagan is a definite crossover musician, among the few who can do so without any trace of self-consciousness. For Fagan, it's all about going back to her listening roots, to a certain generation of singer/songwriters that refused to see stylistic boundaries. "The first music I ever remember listening was a lot of ‘60s and ‘70s singer songwriters like Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, John Denver, and Gordon Lightfoot," Fagan revealed. "They all had fairly simple instrumentation and really charming well-crafted lyrics. Those were probably my first loves. They still are."