Drew Stevyns
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Drew Stevyns

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Trying to be successful in the music business is a real challenge, even when you've appeared on a hit TV show. Still, thirty-one-year-old Maryland native Drew Stevyns won't be giving up any time soon. "It's so hard to get your foot in the door. You have to have very thick skin," Stevyns says. Two years ago, Stevyns, a singer/ songwriter and guitarist, was a Top 10 Finalist in NBC's "America's Got Talent"--Season Four. Even though he didn't win, he impressed reviewers. Michael Ross, of examiner.com, said at the time, "While it is freely open to speculation which of the finalists deserves to win the most, there should be no question about who wants it the most. Drew Stevyns has been an underdog from the very beginning, but unlike other competitors who were at risk but unaware, or who became aware of their status but did nothing to change it, Stevyns has given every round of finals everything he has as if it truly were his last chance." That hunger hasn't ended, by any means. "I learned a lot about the music industry from that experience--made a lot of good connections. But it also gave me a different perspective," Stevyns reveals. "You don't have a lot of say about what you do. You're even told what to wear. You have to take the good with the bad." He does emphasize, however, that there are a lot of good people in the industry trying to help him. "I had a great opportunity. It really taught me how to be patient."

He returned to the East Coast after the show, and kept on touring, writing music, and making CDs. His first CD is aptly entitled "Waiting." He followed that up with "Please Excuse the Machine" and then "A Long Way to Fall." All of the albums contain original material. "I've performed about a hundred and fifty cover songs, too. I may make an album using some of those songs in the future," he maintains. Stevyns says his taste in music is all over the map, from John Denver to Jimi Hendrix to The Doors. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, and refers to his own style of music as "...rock and roll, alternative rock, blues, country--it's all in there." He began his career in music at the tender age of two, singing in church choirs. This part of his career took place in England, where his father was working. He wrote his first song when he was fourteen, after learning how to play the piano. He and his family eventually returned to the United States. "I knew three chords on the piano. I was very excited about my first song and sang it to my parents. I think it was about a girl," he laughs. He experienced factory work but realized it wasn't for him. He then attended the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, but dropped out to start his musical career as a member of a band called Love Struck Nymphs. "We did pretty well for a while. We opened for SR-71, a rock band out of Baltimore," he remembers. Stevyns was actually forced to learn how to play the guitar when the lead guitarist with another band he was with quit.

He taught himself. By twenty-four, he was a lead singer, and as he approached thirty, he decided to pursue greater opportunities, hence the audition for "America's Got Talent." "I had been playing in bars most of my life. I started to think I was getting a little old for just that." Presently, Stevyns performs solo, as well as with other artists. He has had studio musicians with him in the past. He's played in such venues as The Lyric, in Baltimore, Maryland; Margaritaville, in Key West, Florida; The Whiskey, in California; and the Sunset Hills Vineyard, in Purcellville, Virginia. He recently performed at the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show in Martinsburg (WV). "I was playing in the back of a crab truck, a crab feast. It was freezing that day but it was fun. I did a lot of classic rock and the crowd really seemed to enjoy that," he reflects. Stevyns has performed with Thelma Houston and has opened for The Charlie Daniels Band, as well as Nashville recording artist Shelly Rann. He even recorded the theme song to the hit web series "Pretty." He describes his songs as snapshots of his life. "I write about things that have affected me in a profound way. Too much is fabricated these days. The music is not coming from the heart and soul. I think if you want this career, you have to realize that it's all a game. It's hard not to listen to other people's opinions. But you should do your own thing." Singer/songwriter Billy Joel once told a group of music students that they should not have other jobs. They should dedicate themselves exclusively to their music. Despite his own dedication, Stevyns' approach is not quite as severe. "Choose your own path. Do what works for you," he says, adding that the current music scene can be "disheartening." He says a monopoly exists with maybe five main producers. "It seems they want someone about sixteen years old who they can mold and control, then discard. It limits creativity. Something needs to change." Despite the many challenges in his chosen field, Stevyns will continue writing and collaborating with his peers, and performing. He has another project in the works, a CD called "American Noise," consisting of songs written by his producer Scott Ensign. After heading for another gig in Key West, he will, once again, continue his recording work, and appear at other gigs. He's waiting for that next big break, but definitely not standing still. To follow his inspiring journey, visit him online at drewstevynsmusic.com. - Around The Panhandle




Most Friday nights, it's not difficult to find country music performer Shelly Rann.

She's usually singing at El Chico Cafe in Nashville.

This month, she's taking a brief break from those performances to go on an East Coast tour to promote her new music.

It's been a decade-long struggle, but Rann is enjoying a breakthrough year, in which she recently released an album. She'll be performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.

Rocker Drew Stevyns, of Sykesville, who also recently released an album, is scheduled to be the opening act. The concert will give the audience a chance to hear two singers from different genres who are trying to carve out larger fan bases.

Making connections

It's rare that Rann misses a Friday night at El Chico, the same restaurant where previous "Nashville Star" winners Buddy Jewell and Chris Young once had gigs.

She's been performing there ever since Jewell no longer could, due to his nationwide tour following his victory in the inaugural season of "Nashville Star," the now-defunct singing competition that offered a record deal to the winner. It aired on USA from 2003-07. The final season aired on NBC in 2008.

Prior to being cancelled, "Nashville Star" gave a platform to Jewell and Young. Miranda Lambert, the reigning Country Music Association Top Female Vocalist, was also a contestant in the show's first season.

Rann, reached by phone just a few hours before singing at her El Chico gig Friday, said she used to work with Jewell and knew that his victory would open up a coveted gig in the competitive Nashville scene.

"I called him after I knew that he won," she said. "I said, ‘Dude, I want your job at El Chico.' So I went by and met the managers. I've been performing there ever since."

Rann, a Lexington, Ky., native, said her gig there helped build her fan base locally. She's garnering more national fans ever since releasing "Afterwords," her first major studio album produced by Henry Paul, the lead singer for the country group Blackhawk.

She wrote nine of the 11 songs, choosing from a database of 400 songs she's written over the years in Nashville.

"Hell on Heels," her debut single, debuted at No. 76 on Mediabase's country music chart in June. Mediabase is a music industry service that bases its charts on radio station airplay.

Rann is taking a break from El Chico in July and performing throughout the mid-Atlantic. She said it took a long time but she is glad to being close to reaching her country music dreams.

"In a way, I'm glad it didn't happen before now," she said. "I wouldn't have the quality of songs that I have now for my record."

Debut performance

Two years after advancing to the finale of NBC's "America's Got Talent," Stevyns is getting the opportunity to perform at the Carroll Arts Center for the first time.

He will open for Rann and perform selections from "Please Excuse the Machine," an edgy rock album he released just a few months ago. He said his current album has more of a hard rock edge to it.

"It's definitely been a good response," he said. "It's a lot different than my first [album]. People really seem to be digging it."

The Arts Center is one of the few venues where Stevyns hasn't performed over the years. He's a mainstay at local restaurants and bars.

His new album caught the ear of Rann, who said she was impressed by the effort. She said she would like to share the stage with Stevyns for a song Saturday. It would be a chance for the two performers, toiling in different genres, to collaborate for the first time.

"It was a lucky thing that she invited me to be part of this," Stevyns said. "I'm really looking forward to it." - Carroll County Times




When visitors to The Great Frederick Fair heard a band performing Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" inside a hospitality tent, they ventured in to see who was playing.

They got a surprise. Ryan Watson, 9, of Westminster, was the lead singer, flanked by preteen and teen bandmates performing a hit released more than 15 years before any of them was born.

"I loved seeing people's faces when they saw them," said Pam Watson, Ryan's mother.

Pam started posting videos of her son and his first band on YouTube, an online video site becoming the preferred online multimedia hub for local entertainers. YouTube receives more than 2 billion video views per day, according to a release from the five-year-old video site.

While YouTube has sparked the careers of some national performers, most notably teenage sensation Justin Bieber, it also gives exposure to entertainers on the local and regional scene.

Seven YouTube clips featuring musician Drew Stevyns, of Eldersburg, received 10,000 or more views. Two tongue-in-cheek rap performances by Winters Mill High School graduate Will Sharkey got more than 7,500 views.

The number of video views often surprises the performers who star in them. Sharkey's most popular video, a gangster rap that serves as an ode to Carroll County, has been viewed more than 33,000 times.

"The Carroll County one was a little surprising," he said. "The main reason it got a bunch of views was because it was spread by word of mouth."

Jonathan Slade, an associate professor of communication and cinema at McDaniel College in Westminster, said media convergence is drawing more people to online videos than ever. Previously, different forms of media existed individually. Yet smart phone screens are starting to serve as video players as well. It allows YouTube videos to be viewed remotely.

"We have the technology to tell a story to its maximum potential," he said. - Carroll County Times


Now, its no secret that we PEV boys enjoy touting the artists in our own backyard - the Baltimore-Washington backyard. We bring it up whenever we feature such an artist, celebrate it a bit. But today... is different. Today's artist comes from more than just our regional/state backyard. He comes from my (Walt's!) hometown - a small place in the southeast corner of Carroll County called Sykesville (or Eldersburg depending on who you're talking to). And to see this kind of talent come from next door - Mr. Drew Stevyns - it just does my soul some real good.
Stevyns once played in his own band, a collaboration called Another Time. When the band started to break away from each other, Drew faced a dilemma; stick to the road, or find another path. And like any good Sykesville native, Stevyns kept pushing. So much so that he's already about to drop his third record, a collection titled "Please Excuse The Machine". Drew says of the album, "It is real, deep, soulful, extremely penetrating, and full of passion. Thirteen unique modern adult contemporary originals. Authentic and real. I sing with a sense of truthfulness and I always try to tell a story."
You should check it out. And keep an eye on the schedule - Stevyns plays more than just MD, you know. Continue on now for all the answers to the XXQ's.

XXQs: Drew Stevyns

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

DS: Authentic and real. I sing with a sense of truthfulness and I always try to tell a story.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene?

DS: Music is a tough business. There are so many talented artists these all trying to get a shot to have their music heard.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Drew Stevyns show?

DS: A soulful non-forgettable performance. Hopefully one that will keep fans coming back and wanting more.



PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

DS: I am very thankful to those who have taken time out of their life to come and see me.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

DS: I write music as a way of expressing myself. My songs reflect my experiences in life. I feel fortunate to be able to record them and ultimately share them with my fans.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

DS: Always. I don't think there is an artist out there that does wonder if they could have or should have done something differently. Music is a journey and changes as life moves on.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Drew Stevyns?

DS: I use to sing in a choir in the UK.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a goal for you?

DS: Yes. I have been singing since I was about 2. I sang in a choir in play the piano as a childhood. Music has always been an interest of mine.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release? Tell us more about this album.

DS: It is real, deep, soulful, extremely penetrating, and full of passion. Thirteen unique modern adult contemporary originals.

PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete and you can sit back and listen to it being played the way you envisioned?

DS: To get from an idea in your head that gets transferred to a piece of paper then to music, recorded and released is a sense of relief.

PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

DS: I have never been to Las Vegas. I would love to play music of some of those distinguished venues.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

DS: I love playing for the hometown fans. Having grown up in the Baltimore area, it is very rewarding to play here.

PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

DS: I like to spend time with my girlfriend as well as see local bands play.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

DS: Nirvana is one of my favorite band and I would have loved to have done some type of collaboration with them.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

DS: Way too many to name. So many young, talented band out there that are good and deserve a chance.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what do you think each of you would be your career?

DS: That is a very good question. I honestly don't know because music is something that I have always wanted to do.

PEV: So, what is next for Drew Stevyns?

DS: I am currently working on my third album and hope to continue playing venues all over the country. - Pens Eye View


Okay, bad pun, and maybe it wasn’t just about local singer, Drew Stevyns, who recently made the top ten in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” but Main Street Sykesville was packed Wednesday, October 8 for the Century High Homecoming Parade. According to Brandon Oland’s nice article in the Carroll County Times, Stevyns life hasn’t changed all that much since garnering all that national attention. He’s still playing bars and clubs and isn’t generally the featured attraction in a parade.

The parade itself was a great small town blast. The sidewalks were packed. The floats, okay there were no actual floating floats, we’re not exactly New York City here, so let’s say the pickups and trucks filled with costumed-kids throwing candy to the crowd, were great low-budget fun.

There was a marching band, Dorothy and her crew, a strange skinny gorilla, cheerleaders doing cheers, and a horse with someone dressed as a Native American to pick up after the horse, and yes the horse did perform, and the Indian with the shovel did have to use it, right in front of Beck’s.

And yes Drew Stevyns did drive through in a nice red Plymouth convertible waving to the crowd, and then sadly, it was over. Way too quick, but nice. Very nice.

Read more about Drew at his website, which is were we stole this picture. We hope he doesn’t mind. - Sykesville Online


While it is freely open to speculation which of the Top 10 finalists deserves to win the most, there should be no question about who wants it the most. Drew Stevyns has been an underdog from the very beginning, but unlike other competitors who were at risk but unaware, or who became aware of their status but did nothing to change it, Stevyns has given every round of finals everything he has as if it truly were his last chance.

That hunger – that determination – is what has brought Stevyns into the Top 10. Stevyns has been up against the proverbial wall since he began, but just as a cornered rat will bite the cat, Stevyns has met his opposition with the greatest he has to offer.

Vocally, Stevyns is a lightweight, especially compared to Lawrence Beamen or Barbara Padilla, but he seems perfectly aware that he is coming in behind them. Piers Morgan had cautioned Padilla that being the frontrunner meant that the other nine finalists would know exactly what they have to do to surpass her, and if anyone will rise to the challenge, it will be Stevyns.

More importantly, Stevyns is the last of Simon Cowell’s wildcard acts, which may very warrant spoiler status upon him. The judges have never been such a source of frustration from many an AGT viewer as they were this season, and nothing would please the AGT discontent more than to see a performer the judges had previously discarded take the crown overall.

When Drew Stevyns was announced as a wildcard act, few imagined that he would be able to live up to the legacy of Donald Braswell. Now he is in a position where he could very well surpass it. - Examiner.com


After the Top Judges’ 40 were revealed at the end of the Vegas Verdict, millions of AGT viewers were thrilled to learn that Simon Cowell had intervened. The reveal of Cowell’s eight chosen wildcard acts, however, was equally as disappointing as the reveal of the forty chosen by the judges. Six of these groups proved to be nothing more than filler candidates, while a seventh, Jay Mattioli, went on to earn a spot on a future list of letdowns.

Finally, there was Drew Stevyns, a performer that viewers of America’s Got Talent had never even seen until he performed live for the very first time. Fittingly enough, the performer that had been disregarded by both judges and AGT editors alike went on to become the only wildcard act to prove himself worthy of his additional inclusion.

So, is Drew Stevyns the next Donald Braswell?

No. Far from it, in fact. Many a viewer may want to believe Stevyns is their chance to stick it to the judges once and for all, but unlike the eight wildcard acts of Season 3, which the judges had assembled in order to fill a vacancy left in their original Top 40 by an injury, Cowell’s only motivation appears to have been to add more variety. While Braswell was indeed one of the most talented performers initially rejected by the judges during Season 3, the greatest talents rejected by the judges this season remained ignored.

A perfect song choice for his first performance definitely increased his chances of making it into the Top 20, but now his future seems much more uncertain. Were he performing in the first round of semifinals, he might have had a better chance, but unfortunately, competition among the second round semifinalists will be many times fiercer.

Presently, Stevyns seems most likely to find himself sandwiched right in the middle of the semifinals results. To one side are three acts who appear to have a spot in the Top 10 all but reserved for them (Lawrence Beamen, Barbara Padilla and the EriAm Sisters) with a fourth act riding a wave of momentum that could easily carry them into that fourth and final spot (Recycled Percussion).

To his other side are three acts that will be hard-pressed to even justify their inclusion in the Top 20 (FootworKINGz, Erik & Rickie and Jeffrey Ou), and two more acts that have will be hard-pressed to maintain the momentum they have built for themselves (Hairo Torres and Mario & Jenny).

This by default leaves Stevyns at the mercy of the judges for that fifth and final spot, and what are the chances of the judges voting in favor of an act they had previously rejected? The judges at this point are only looking out for themselves. While Piers Morgan is capable of facing up to his mistakes and Sharon Osbourne is apparently using all of her votes as a form of damage control, ultimately the judges can only be counted on to vote for whichever act they believe will cast them in greater light.

While he had made progress restoring his image with his choices in the previous three rounds, Morgan ultimately backpedaled on his progress and contradicted his prior policies by voting against Mia Boostrom, the performer he had previously rejected in Season 3, even in spite of the fact that she had qualified for their vote with two other strong female vocal acts competing against her.

With this in mind, Stevyns should recognize that the judges have a target on his back as well start aiming to surpass the four aforementioned leaders. If he wants to make it into the Top 10, he will need to give the performance of his life. - Examiner.com


1. Tell us more about yourself, who’s Drew Stevyns? How you got started in the music scene?

Music has always been a part of my life and always will be. I am from a small town outside of Baltimore, MD and I started stinging when I was very young. I primarily play guitar although I was taught how to play the piano as well. I have written and co-produced 2 albums. I currently perform solo although I have played in a band as well.



2. Was guitar your first instrument?

No, actually piano was the first instrument that I learned to play. I then taught myself at a later time to play the guitar. Much easier to carry a guitar with you while touring then a piano. hahaha



3. So many may know you for your appereance on NBC’s America Got Talent. We see some reactions of it in the TV, but not everything.

How you felt when you were selected and make it to the finals? How was your experience in the show? Making it to the finals on America’s Got Talent was an incredible experience. The show was very fast paced but knowing that it was the fans that voted for me and kept me in to the finals was a humbling experience.



4. How was it working with Nigel Wright and Shane Keister?

It was absolutely amazing. They are 2 of the best producers in the business.



5. How you felt when you heard you would be performing with Thelma Houston?

It was an honor to perform with such a gifted singer-songwriter. She won a Grammy award for singing ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ which is the song that we performed on the show.



6. What are your music influences?

There are a wide array of very talented musicians that have influenced me including but not limited to Nirvana, Marvin Gaye, John Denver, and the Temptations.



7. What has been the funniest moment you have been or took part while touring? (At least one story)

Nothing really comes to mind. I try to have fun during each show that I do and give the crowd their monies worth.



8. Can you give us more details about your third album?

My third album is going to be somewhat different than my first 2. Listeners will hear a little bit of country, some blues, and some rock. I don’t believe in putting artists in a box and necessarily defining them by genre. Good music is good music.



9. Are there any plans for the near future?

Continue writing and producing my third album. Also working on touring throughout the US.



10. What’s the message you are looking to spread with your music?

Music is an extension of my thoughts and feelings. My hope is that every person who listens to my music is moved and feels all of the emotions that the song is intended to portray.



11. Do you feel you are moving on the right direction?

The music business is a tough industry. There are times when you feel as though you are moving in a positive direction then you are told “NO”. There will will always be hurdles but you have to persevere and believe in yourself. - Vent Magazine


1. Tell us about the audition process for America's got Talent?

Very long and drawn out. A whole day of waiting in line with 20,000 other people. Then you have 20 seconds to grab the producers attention. Then off to the next round of judges until you get before the main three. Huge screening process for sure.


2. Describe a day in the life of a Contestant?

Meet the van drivers in the hotel lobby, Get driven to CBS Studios L.A. Sit around for hours until its your time for B roll or camera blocking. Drink lots off coffee. Try to look pensive when needed.

3. Life after America's got Talent?

Life after AGT is much the same as it was before.

4. Share the stage with anyone dead or alive who and why?

Joe Bonamassa/ Jeff beck. Probably the 2 best guitar players in the game right now for sure. As for bands I would love to be on stage with The Flaming Lips, Rick James Or The Clash, All for obvious reasons. But believe me there are many more.

5. What is coming up for Drew Stevyns?

Currently I am working with my producer Scott Ensign on my third album. As well as working on a side project co written with songwriter Greg Barnhill. Very excited about both.

6. Drew what did you take away from the experience?

Def a much broader understanding of the entertainment industry. Also how to deal with high stress situations.

7. Advice for someone thinking of trying out?

Don't do it lol! No seriously though you have to have very thick skin. Everyone will be convinced they know what is right for you and you will be torn in different directions. By making one side happy you will piss off the other so just be at peace with the fact that you can't make everyone happy. You will go crazy trying! - The Backstage Beat


Discography

Drew Stevyns Album "Waiting" UPC#842994018810

1. Intro
(0:21)

2. Promise
(3:58)

3. Enough
(3:23)

4. Waiting
(4:51)

5. Finally
(4:00)

6. All That I Want
(2:50)

7. Where You Are
(4:52)

8. One Last Try
(4:04)

9. Don't Need No One
(2:52)

10. Interlude
(1:10)

11. Evening Sky
(4:02)

12. Into The Sky
(3:06)

13. Another Day
(3:51)

14. The Person I Think I Am
(4:00)

Drew Stevyns Album "Please Excuse the Machine" UPC#700261328362

1. Cold
(3:33)

2. Set Me Free
(4:03)

3. Alison
(3:16)

4. Last Chance
(4:00)

5. Far Away
(4:11)

6. Sound the Alarm
(4:34)

7. Overboard
(4:44)

8. Pawn
(4:26)

9. It's Not Over
(4:11)

10. Say It Isn't Me
(4:45)

11. Hilltop In Jersey
(4:24)

12. Made Up My Mind
(3:48)

13. Legend
(2:36)

Photos

Bio

The Baltimore, MD native spent his childhood singing in church and choirs in England. In 2009, Drew touched the hearts of millions as a TOP 10 finalist on the NBC show ‘America’s Got Talent’. While on the show, Stevyns was fortunate enough to work with top music producers Nigel Wright and Shane Keister as well as perform with the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Thelma Houston. In the same year, he released his first highly popular album ‘Waiting’.

Shortly after the conclusion of ‘America’s Got Talent’, he was asked to perform with his band at the ‘Whisky A Go Go’ to endorse a new brand of Paul Reed Smith guitars. In 2011, he opened for Grand Ole Opry member ‘Charlie Daniels’ , CTK Records recording artist Josh Doyle as well as Nashville recording artists ‘Shelly Rann’ and 'Sarah Lou Richards'.

Drew was invited by the 'Artist to the Stars' Corey Frizzell to perform at the "Lyrics for Lyric" benefit show in Nashville TN to support Childhood Cancer research. In the same year, he also performed at the legendary 12th and Porter Nashville lounge in front of a packed house. In 2012, after receiving rave reviews on his first album, he released his second album ‘Please Excuse The Machine’. Drew was honored to have been asked to perform at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. on the grounds of the Washington monument. Drew was asked by Emmy award winning and Grammy nominated songwriter Greg Barnhill to join him in Nashville to write several songs.

In each song that Stevyns writes he tries to tell his story through the words. His voice is hypnotic in nature and pulls the listeners close in a unique way that allows the audience to feel what he feels. The response to his music has been extremely positive and his popularity continues to grow through a wide range of fans worldwide.

You can find more information about Drew Stevyns on Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter, Reverb Nation and Google. Send him a friends request to get updates on his career and upcoming performances.