Stephanie Haffner
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Stephanie Haffner

Band Folk Spoken Word


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The best kept secret in music


"Lawyer courts folk-pop sound"

SUBURBAN POET: Stephanie Haffner is an artist with a biting sense of humor, and she's not afraid to turn it on herself. Some people even think the 34-year-old attorney's brand of funny feminist folk pop is viciously honest.

"People laugh a lot at what I'm singing, because it's recognition of a shared experience," said Haffner, who's on staff at California Rural Legal Assistance. "People connect with my music emotionally. When I write, it's to tell the truth."

Haffner, who has lived in Stockton for the last six years, recently released her sophomore album, "Sub Urban Poet: The Lawyer Songs." She plans to hit the stage at 8 p.m. Jan. 23 for "Raucous Songwriters Night" at The Den on the Miracle Mile. Sacramento rockers Local Honey and River City poet/songwriter Roberta Chevrette will also perform.

The University of California, Berkeley, Law School graduate said her 15-track CD has songs and spoken-word pieces that reflect her experiences growing up in Maryland and New Mexico. Life in Stockton also shares space on this release, much more than her follow-up to her 2001 debut, titled "are you the one?"

"This one has a sense of place," said Haffner, who sings and plays guitar. "The last one was heartbreak and recovery. This one's more political. They're soapbox songs."

That's not to say there isn't a variety. Her favorite subjects include boys, girls, anxiety, redevelopment and suburbia.
In "las vegas," Haffner writes a very talky song about meeting a woman at conference, while "my city" was inspired by her work "on the case of people getting kicked out of downtown hotels."

Haffner recorded the "Sub Urban Poet" at Inner Ear Recording Studios in Arlington, Va., the same place where punk bands Fugazi, Minor Threat and Beloved worked on their albums.

Haffner's come a long way from listening to Billy Joel, Air Supply and Barry Manilow. She eventually moved on to the songwriters for inspiration, musicans such as Ann DiFranco, Lyle Lovett and Throwing Muses.

Although the musical communities in the Bay Area and Sacramento have more to offer, Haffner said the Stockton music scene is supportive. Places such as The Den, Blackwater
Café and Yoga Center are places where musicians can express and expose themselves, she said.
"This area is mixed," she said. "It has (urban) elements and suburban elements to it."

"Sub Urban Poet" is available at the Music Box in Stockton, as well as at and

The all-ages show at The Den costs $5.

Information: (209) 941-9600.

The Stockton Record - Stockton Record, January 15, 2004

"Stephanie Haffner 'Are You the One?'"

This Bay Area and Stockton native personifies the Davis folk scene: a bit raunchy, a bit cutting-edge, a bit traditional, a bit sincere, a bit sarcastic ... and always entertaining.

I must admit, I sometimes get a little tired of folksingers who must comment on the general state of politics and the fate of the entire world, but Haffner's commentary truly is refreshing, and she's never afraid to laught at herself -- perhaps because she's an educated professional by day -- and that makes her well worth listening to.

What's also especially notable about Haffner is her exceptional guitar work. Throughout this disc, she creates various moods in a manner far above most folkies, a trait that also enhances her live performances.

Try to catch her show at Cafe Roma (the one on E Street) at 4 p.m. Sunday, and you'll see what I mean. - Davis Enterprise

"Shop pours a pair of options"

Honkey-tonk keyboards with ruby red vocals. Or acoustic guitar picking and a voice that unfolds like a July sunflower.

Fans of fiercely creative, quirky lo-fi music won't have to choose on Saturday evening. Keyboarder True Margrit and guitarist Stephanie Haffner will bring both to Serendipity coffee house in Redding.

. . .

Haffner writes and sings about relationships, too, with guys and girls. She also writes about the demons of caffeine-fueled insomnia. And the chilly wintertime San Joaquin Valley ground fog that sparks cream cheese and salami cravings.

"My songs are sort of brutally and painfully honest," Haffner said from Stockton, where she is a legal aid lawyer who helps very low-income people. "But I also discovered they were funny, because people laughed."

On stage, it's just Haffner, her guitar, and her heart. Her voice ranges from goldenrod to Arizona slate, from coaxing and hopeful to fed-up-with-the-whole-charade.

"I like you so much it terrifies me/When I realized how much I liked you I fell into a terrible state of anxiety/All I want is for you to kiss me again," she sings in "Kiss Me," a song she may do Saturday.

Haffner has sung "for as long as I can remember." She started playing guitar after getting her hands on one as a 16th birthday gift.

The instrument has become a midwife that helps her create music. The sounds she draws from it color and shape the mood her lyrics will express, she said.

Saturday will be Haffner's second performance in Redding. She played in the area before cutting her 2001 CD "Are you the one?" - Redding Record Searchlight

"Laurel Blankinship, Peace & Social Justice Hour"

[Sub Urban Poet] gave me a new appreciation of you as the whole person (the legal aid lawyer/poet/songwriter/singer/human with yearnings) and I wanted to share that with the listeners today . . . Kudos. - KZFR 90.1 Chico, January 2004

"Jeff Hoyt"

You’ll always have an enthusiastic fan in me and we’re still playing a bunch of your music. - Voice of Vashon radio, Vashon Island WA Novembe 29, 2004

"anonymous fan, Sacramento"

Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that the other day, I was driving up from Sac to Nevada City to walk along the Yuba River. There was fog in the central valley, just like your song says, and it truly has been "foggy in her mind". As I drove past the Victorians of Sac and headed onto highway 80, through impenetrable, mousse-like fog, with the faux mini-mansions and the same fast food franchises on every corner, I popped your CD into the player, and you know, it completely, utterly spoke to me...."the fog came in when she moved's still foggy in her mind"....and the song about "fuckin' girls...why can't it be easier for me". Your music truly captured the moment, like my life was intimately locked in with your words, like the last few months were simply a video to illustrate the soundtrack that you'd made. THANK YOU. I just wanted to let you know that your music really spoke to me.
- January 15, 2005


Sub Urban Poet: the Lawyer Songs (Gorgeous Giant Music 2003) -- available through CD Baby, Tower Records, The Music Box (Stockton)

Are You the One? (Gorgeous Giant Music 2001) -- available through CD Baby, Tower Records,
the Beat (Sacramento), the Open Book (Sacramento), the Music Box (Stockton)
Forthcoming: "Claudia" on "They're From Here" (compilation of former Sacramento artists)

Radio Free Berkeley
KKUP Cupertino CA
KAOS Olympia CA
Town and Country Radio Show, New Zealand
'Nette Radio (Internet)
Voice of Vashon Vashon Island WA
ArtistFirst Radio (Internet)

Most popular tracks per digital sales:
Kiss Me (from Are You the One?)
Las Vegas (from Sub Urban Poet)
Arizona (from Are You the One?)
Hey Baby (from Sub Urban Poet)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Folkpop songstress Stephanie Haffner shares brutally honest, wickedly funny, excellent original songs about boys, girls, coffee, anxiety, redevelopment, suburbia, rock-n-roll & all manner of real life — all presented with fine guitar work and (according to fans) flat-out beautiful voice. Stephanie started composing songs at a wee age when she would walk the “99 acres” between the Gallup NM school bus stop and home, singing to herself. She fell into writing songs down during a break from studies at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, and quickly began building a following around the SF Bay area. After law school, she found herself in the CA Central Valley community of Stockton, contributing to Stockton and Sacramento music scenes by hosting open mics, songwriter shows, and queer & grrl-friendly productions - all while holding down her day job as a fearless legal aid lawyer.

In November 2003 Stephanie self-released her second CD - Sub Urban Poet: the Lawyer Songs - to a sold out party at Sacramento's beloved True Love Coffeehouse. Love of girls and music convinced Stephanie to move to Long Beach in July 2004 – where she alternately takes time out to recover her artist's soul and obsessively explores Los Angles County’s fertile musical turf.

Stephanie’s music benefits from years of training in piano, guitar and violin, madrigal singing, and -- since elementary school -- participation in every chorus she could find. None of this training, though, explains her comedic sense of timing. It’s this package of wit, skill and unabashed honesty that’s captured progressive, political, queer and not-so-queer supporters around Northern, Central and Southern California, & beyond.

Some associations of note:
Indiegrrl Performing Member January 2005 - present
Member, Folk Alliance 2002, 2004
Member, PASA (Political Artists of the Sacramento Area)
Host/MC 3rd Saturdays at LLACE, Queer Performance Open Stage, Sacramento, 2002-04
Host/MC, 2002 & 2003 Summer Music Series, The Open Book, Sacramento
Performing member, DivaBands, SF Bay Area indie women musicians, 2001-02