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One of Stephan’s most recent songs, “These Hard Days,” was a finalist at New York City’s Oniros Film Festival. The singer also was named NPR’s “slingshot artists to watch in 2022. She also recently performed at South by Southwest’s showcase (Photo provided by @casiistephan via Twitter).

Artist Spotlight: Casii Stephan’s slow musical start has led her to success

For soul and pop-rock singer, Casii Stephan, Minnesota gave her roots, but Tulsa provided her with wings of her own. After moving to Oklahoma to launch her musical endeavors, it’s clear that Stephan is a potent force.

Praised for her subtle vibrato and intense melodies, as well as her emotional lyrics, Stephan has been compared to the likes of artists such as Florence Welch, Fiona Apple and Carole King. Her voice possesses a warmth that many artists seem to lack in an ever-changing music industry, but the singer isn’t keen on fitting in.

Yet, this strong sense of self took a long time for Stephan to embrace. The singer grew up shy and afraid of her voice but started writing songs on her family piano in South St. Paul when she was 16. Music was able to transcend Stephan’s normal reality into a world where she could find a deeper sense of self.

In 2014, Stephan moved to Tulsa, not intending to start a musical career, until she received encouragement from her friends to do what she’d always longed for. Thus, she started releasing music from there on. Her first single that year, “Yo-Yo” went on to become a fan favorite, earning even more praise and recognition.

Stephan slowly continued to drop music two years later with her next single, “I Like the Way," a song about being infatuated with the person you love. In 2017, she followed up with “GhostShips,” a haunting track reminiscent of the past. A year later, she released “Letters,” a track that highlighted Stephan’s range and vocal strength. 

Throughout all of Stephan’s music is the underlying theme of hope. “It’s such a cliche word and yet there are so many layers to it,” she said. “Hope keeps us alive. It keeps us moving. But it also feels flighty some days like a pixie that does what it wants. But it's not a pixie. It's more like the air we breathe. Some days its presence is stronger than we realize and some days we forget in our day-to-day lives that it's there... keeping us moving forward.”

Since the launch of her career, Stephan has witnessed success. She’s been nominated for her work at the Independent Music Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards and USA Songwriting Competition. In 2020, Billboard profiled Stephan as well. 

In her free time, the singer heads a female-fronted music festival called MisFEST in Tulsa, gaining recognition locally and nationally. Additionally, Stephan hosts a live stream music morning show, “Coffee with Casii,” which landed her a performance at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

One of Stephan’s most recent songs, “These Hard Days,” was a finalist at New York City’s Oniros Film Festival. The singer also was named NPR’s “slingshot artists to watch in 2022.” She also recently performed at South by Southwest’s showcase. 

In March, Stephan released “Already Gone,” a soulful rock anthem against domestic abuse.

Now, as Stephan’s almost a decade into her career, she continues to keep hope at the center of all her music, but is eager to advocate for social justice in her future endeavors. After the release of “Already Gone,” it seems that she is ready to turn over a new leaf sonically and thematically, causing listeners to grow eager with excitement at the start of her new musical chapter.

@grace_koe

gk011320@ohio.edu

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