Stephan Nance
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Stephan Nance

Eugene, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Eugene, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Stephan Nance’s bike tour plans, plus a brand new holiday track"

Stephan Nance’s A Piece of Troubled Fruit is my choice for best independent release in 2012. He has the charisma, talent and quirk to last a lifetime, and he is kind to the core. If you do not believe me, this is his self-descriptor: singer-songwriter specializing in awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano folk rock music.

What more could you want?

If what you want is to see him perform live, now is your chance. Nance began an IndieGogo project campaign to fund a bike tour down the west coast come 2013. Via the campaign, you can get much more from the singer-songwriter, including brand new studio tracks.

However, if your thirst for Stephan is not satiated, you can also listen to his brand new holiday track “Song For Santa (Jingle Your Own Damn Bells!)”. Yeah, it is THAT awesome.

Make sure to support local, independent talent during the holidays.

For more information about Stephan Nance, read below.

Full name: Stephan Christopher Nance
Nickname: Some of my family calls me Steph (with an F sound). I have never been and never will be a Steve. In Russian I prefer Styopka.
Height: 5'6"
Zodiac sign: Leo, just barely. I'm on the cusp between Cancer and Leo.
Tattoos: None!
Piercings: None!
Favorite color: Green (I want to be more specific but I'm sleepy).
If you were not human, you would be: A varied thrush — or a bicycle.
Person responsible for driving you into music: My parents, and my incredible piano teacher Vicki Brabham of the Emerald City Jazz Kings.
Best thing about being a singer: Making people smile; little kids dancing around to my music in front of the stage and distracting me.
Best thing about traveling for a living: Cycling unfamiliar paths, visiting amazing vegan eateries.
Worst thing about traveling for a living: Not yet having the resources to do it more extensively.
Sum up yourself in ONE word: Durable. - Examiner.com


"Stephan Nance, A Troubled Piece of Fruit review"

It is customary when you meet a person to let her or him inform you of her or his name before you get to know her or him. In this case Stephan Nance describes himself and his sound as “awkwardly charming vegan straight edge queer alternative piano pop music”.

Once you get past that awesome mouthful, feel free to add to the description as you listen to his album A Troubled Piece of Fruit, out today on iTunes.

If you are to listen to tracks like “Cuddlefish” or the excruciatingly emotional “Fall”, there is more than just the red hair in common with the likes of Kate Nash, Regina Spektor, and Lenka. These tracks, consistent with Stephan’s sound, contain large amounts of genuine wonderings on top of layers of upbeat melancholy and optimism. Oh, and much enjoyed quirky energy.

Get lost in the soothing “Spring”, or the quick dose of “Made in Vermont”, or the morbid yet enchanting story “Paid By Weight”, or multi-tongued “Japanese Garden / Jardin japonais / ???????? ???”.

If you are pressed for time, start at the very end with the begging-to-become generational anthem “Song for Losers”, where Stephan can brighten up your day with a joke…if you let him. - Examiner.com


"‘Impossibly kind’ rocker sticks to his principles | Stephan Nance’s accessible, piano-based songs reflect a thoughtful person"

A few years ago, when he was part of one of the first Kidz Rock! concert series, I interviewed Stephan Nance because I was intrigued by his “Song for Losers.”

I had hoped to write about him when he released his first full-length CD, but I did not expect it would be four years before that happened.

Nance, who has just released “A Troubled Piece of Fruit,” still may feel like a misfit among youthful peers who don’t share his veganism, bike activism and/or aversion to mind-altering substances such as marijuana and alcohol. But in the years since he transitioned from “kid” to adult rocker, he seems to have gained a stronger sense of self and an increased comfort in being alone.

On Monday, Nance’s 25th birthday, the North Eugene High School graduate is releasing his album without compromising any of his beliefs.

As explained in “Song for Losers,” he doesn’t drink, smoke or want “to poke everything with a pulse.” He’s also “impossibly kind” and won’t ever forget your birthday.

Here’s a chance to return the favor and party on Nance’s terms with an outdoor, early evening concert at Washington Park on a stage where the full band will be powered by bicycles. The free, family friendly event also will feature free vegan treats from Coconut Bliss for all the guests.

Kindred spirits

Not all of Nance’s compositions are about social alienation. He’s got songs with sea creatures and squirrels as characters and many with environmental themes.

While “Song for Losers” had a wide-eyed, why-is-the-world-like-this tone, a more recent song, “Paid by Weight.” It’s a pointed warning, an almost-intimidating song about the selfish ways of some, and what those actions are doing to our environment.

Nance is a thoughtful, complicated person, and his piano-based songs reflect this. But he also keeps most of them short and musically accessible.

He classifies his sound as “piano-pop.” But music that veers into activism generally does not end up being popular.

Popular is not how you would describe Nance in social settings, either. But online — anchored by “Song for Losers,” which has almost 100,000 hits — he has found many kindred spirits frustrated at the idea that you have to alter yourself to fit in.

“It’s hard to fit in when you don’t buy into the intoxication culture,” he said. “My directive, my aim, is to not be influenced by outside forces — to figure out myself as I am without escaping reality.

“I wasn’t thinking of myself as a loser, but just sort of explaining the reality of the situation and where I stand in college.”

Exploring ideas honestly

Nance’s songs are an avenue to express things that bother him, and that subject seems to have hit a nerve.

Nance suggests in song that people like him are less visible, and the online response has shown him that it’s true. It is more common to hear someone boasting of last weekend’s exploits in drunkenness and less likely to hear someone tell a friend how he did not get drunk.

Teachers have played the song for their classes, youth have shared it among their peers, and YouTube users jumped to Nance’s defense when a cyber-bully tried to say he really is a loser.

“I realized in therapy that a lot of why I was feeling overwhelmed was I was feeling a hyper vigilance,” Nance said. “I was super aware of the sense that everyone was drinking except for me, and it was sort of me against the world.”

That is the beauty of songwriting like Nance’s: more evidence that for every idea you have that goes against the grain, there is someone to share it with if you just look long enough.

“I feel like if there is anything I value above all, it is my sense of being myself and my mind being my own,” Nance said.

Many friends have encouraged him to give up that stance and to “loosen up.” Sobriety has not been a choice without social consequences, but he knows it’s the right thing, and he has been willing to adjust to the fallout of that decision.

Nance’s courage is not limited to turning his back on a wasted youth. He speaks up in favor of genuine connection, close relationships and stewardship of the Earth.

He is not tethered to any religion. And while his politics lean to the left, Nance seems the most interested in exploring ideas honestly and making rational choices.

Nance is an artist you can share with your children and not fear what he’s going to say. And even if he doesn’t feel comfortable hitting the club circuit the way other acts do, he most likely will find a wide audience of “losers” who appreciate him. - The Register-Guard


"Stephan Nance – Awkward Piano Pop For You To Fall In Love With"

Always remember that music does not have to be technically beautiful to be good. The differences in musicians’ styles are needed to separate the quality from the crap. If all you listen to is top 40 radio you never get to experience how diverse music can actually be. We discovered an artist today that describes his sound as awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano pop music. That is a beautiful description. Come aboard to Stephan Nance’s world.

The Oregon native totally accepts his awkwardness and turns it into a very captivating trait. Maybe it is just the piano but I do get hints of Ben Fold’s when I listen to Stephan. He is not afraid to make fun of himself or make corny jokes to amuse the listener. This Tuesday he will release his true debut album. A Troubled Piece of Fruit is an album full of 13 songs that most of us can relate to very well. This makes for a very easy listen. The single that people are already starting to fall in love with is ‘A Song For Losers’ with its self-disparaging lyrics and poppy piano style. A song ready for heavy college radio rotation. In fact the homemade video he made for it in his apartment already has over 94,000 views. Another song that really hit my ear was ‘Paid By Weight’, a darker song where Stephan introduces more instruments to the mix. This song could be an alt-rock anthem with a full band playing it.

Bottom line: Stephan Nance has a hit album on his hands in ‘A Troubled Piece Of Fruit’ if he can get the right people to hear it. Indie Band Guru plans on helping spread the word. Remember we always like to be first to the next big thing. Tell your friends you heard it here:

www.stephannance.com

You can stream the album at:

www.stephannance.bandcamp.com - Indie Band Guru


"Indie Artists Alert: Stephan Nance"

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now and have been woefully behind on it. But I’d like to draw your attention to an indie artist who specializes in music that’s described as

awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano pop

You can learn more about Stephan and his work at his website. He’s currently putting together a CD, and as a donor to his project, I’m also on his mailing list, which updates me on his current status.

I’ve already checked out his videos, and his music style reminds me of They Might Be Giants without the inevitable overproduced polish of a hoity-toity studio. Granted, They Might Be Giants still stood apart from much of the indie scene back in the 1980s, but I prefer my quirky music – in vegan terms – raw.

And as a bit of an apology to Stephan for my oversight, I only now realize that I was completely wrong in this post regarding gay cyclists. I’ll have to add Stephan to the Rare Breed list (though we’ve yet to talk shop about the pro cycling scene) because he rides his bike pretty much everyday and tackles 30 – 40 miles at a stretch. I’ve seen photos he’s taken during some of his two-wheeled rambles, and I must say that I’m freaking jealous of his location. :D - Hayden Thorne


"Stephan Nance: My new boyfriend goes on a world tour!"

I would never leave Allen, but if I were going to be all “to the left, to the left,” it would only be for an adorably awkward ginger who loves frozen yogurt, writes songs about how people should be nicer, and reminds me of a less cynical Bo Burnham and an off-Broadway musical about coming out to your mom and hugs. Luckily for Allen, such a dude did not exist to, and he has always responded to my threats with a nonchalant “good luck out there!”

Then I stumbled onto the website of Stephan Nance. OK, I didn’t stumble—why would I make a wholehearted effort at finding a replacement for Allen?—Stephan sent us an email to promote his upcoming tour and I thought I would take this opportunity to support his efforts and also break up with Allen in a really public fashion so he wouldn’t cause a scene. Just like in Jerry Maguire.

I also thought it would be fitting to write about this now because my ex (Allen) just informed me that Wednesday is “Ginger Wednesday” on turntable and we are totally rocking out in a room full of ginger avatars on there. Also, GET OFF THE COUCH, ALLEN! YOU HAVE TO MOVE OUT! Also-also: Stephan’s stuff is on turntable! I especially like “Immunodeficiency” and “Song For Losers.” What? I do my research!

Ok, so about my new boyfriend and his career: Stephan Nance (pronounced Steven but never spelled that way, as per his website) has come up with a genre all his own that he calls “awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano pop.” Since I have trouble understanding genre in the first place—never mind that there is something called “blue-eyed soul” that is an accepted thing—I am just going to take his word for it. Also, every time I hear piano pop I am all “oh yeah, totally! Tori Amos! I love her!” This seems to annoy a lot of people because apparently Tori Amos is not the only person to play a piano. Prime example: Stephan Nance also plays the piano. And he doesn’t just play the piano; apparently he plays it for a cause. I can’t wrap my head around that either. I can’t even wake up for a cause, let alone write songs and then record myself doing them for one.

From Stephan’s email:
“I’m about to embark on a tour of vegan-friendly frozen yogurt shops (and other frozen treateries and places that happen to have vegan froyo or soft-serve) in Oregon and Northern California, with later dates in Washington and B.C. In part this will be to promote my first full-length album (to be released in September), A Troubled Piece of Fruit. Since the album isn’t quite ready, I’ll be bringing along an EP of five songs, A Piece of the Piece. My larger goal is to challenge the popular interdependence of entertainment and alcohol consumption, and to encourage musicians and all-ages, alcohol-free businesses (e.g., sweet frozen treat parlors) to build relationships that will be beneficial both mutually and for the community as a whole.”

Awesome. Why are you not getting dressed for this already? Oh, right you want to know where he’s playing. OK, here you go. I even noted which fro-yo “treateries” (new boyfriend, you are adorable with your little words!) serve vegan options and which are dubious (because their websites don’t state it).Also, you would probably look pretty silly getting dressed now considering he isn’t playing until next week.

Saturday, Aug. 13 (TOMORROW!) at 7:30 p.m. at the Yogurt Hut in Ashland, Ore. (non-dairy options available!)
Thursday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at Redwood Yogurt in Arcata, Calif. (not explicitly stated!)
Saturday, Aug. 20, time TBA, at the Sacramento Film & Music Festival in Sacramento (no information available!)
Sunday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. at Nature’s Express in Berkeley (you kidding me? We did a piece on them. Get up on this!)
Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. at Forté Frozen Yogurt in Merced, Calif. (not explicitly stated!)
Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Vida Vegan Con Galarama in Portland, Ore. (All vegan, bitches! Also, Laura and Meave are speaking!!)

I suggest that you go to Ste - Vegansaurus!


"The song pedalers"

It all starts at noon at the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union Amphitheater with Stephan Nance, an artist who never has driven a car.

[...]

Local musician Nance said a 25-mile ride is part of his everyday life. The daily ride helps get his creative juices flowing to write songs, he said.

And being part of the Bike Music Fest is, in Nance’s eyes, revolutionary.

“You can contribute your music and people may or may not like it. But if you are doing something that is also helping the environment, you know you are accomplishing something in a less subjective way,” said Nance, 24.

“For anyone to make that choice to do something in a different way that has a positive impact on the environment and society, to me that is a better way to go.”

Nance also pointed out how much fun it is as a musician to have other people involved in his act.

In the past, when he played the festival, he was solo on stage. He enjoyed the audience members coming up and riding the bike to generate power.

It will be his first year playing the festival with a band. - The Register-Guard


"Come back to campus"

One treat from that part of the festival will be homegrown singer and keyboardist Stephan Nance, who performs at 11:15 a.m. Nance has attracted 43,000 views on YouTube to his “Song for Losers,” in which he tells of his bike-riding habit and vegetarianism. - The Register-Guard


"Young musicians get a chance in the spotlight at Kidz Rock!"

Another interesting performer is Stephan Nance. At 21 he is technically too old for Kidz Rock!, which is targeted toward those who have not yet hit the drinking age.

For Nance, there may never be a drinking age. When he turned 21 he took a 50-mile bike ride, and he sees no reason to in the words of his “Song for Losers” “fritter away” his time being drunk.

A video of him performing the song is his most popular on YouTube.com. It has more than 6,000 views, which is a pretty high number for a musician who has not put out a CD or toured.

He sings about the definition of cool and the cultural pressure to grow up too fast.

Nance, taking a break between his classes at the University of Oregon, said it’s also hard for him to get a gig in town.

Based on the positive reaction to his music online, he knows there is an audience for his message, which he said is nonreligious but combines liberal and conservative ideas that might make it hard for some people to connect with. - The Register-Guard


Discography

Song for Santa (Jingle Your Own Damn Bells!) (Single, December 20, 2012)
A Troubled Piece of Fruit (LP, July 23rd, 2012)
A Piece of the Piece (EP, 2011)
Tricky to See (EP, 2008)

Photos

Bio

Stephan Nance (whose first name is pronounced like Steven but never, ever spelled like that) was born in Eugene, Oregon, but raised outside any municipality, in the unincorporated area of Santa Clara. Like his childhood home, Stephans songwriting resists annexation; he specializes in awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano folk rock. His is not the voice of the majority, nor the voice of a generation... but it is a voice worth listening to. So shush.

Stephan's debut album A TROUBLED PIECE OF FRUIT was released on July 23rd, 2012 (also his birthday). To celebrate, he played a free outdoor bike-powered show sponsored by Pedal Power Music and City of Eugene Transportation Planning, with complimentary vegan Coconut Bliss ice cream and Viva! Vegetarian Grill sandwiches for all.

The trilingual epic "Japanese Garden / Jardin japonais / Yaponskii sad" was nominated for Best Alternative Song in the 8th Annual OUTmusic Awards. The striking album artwork by Rebecca DeMoss was nominated for Best CD Cover.

The end of 2012 also saw the release of Stephan's holiday track "Song for Santa (Jingle Your Own Damn Bells!)," an infectious 6-minute romp through snowy fields of feminism and queer theory, anti-speciesism and fair labor practices.

More recently, Stephan's "Song for Losers" was nominated for Best Song So Far in the 2013 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards.

In the near future, Stephan plans to embark on a bike music tour, pedaling his keyboard 1,500 miles and working with high school Gay-Straight Alliances to put on shows with student musicians as his band.

Song for Losers YouTube video now has more than 100,000 views, a testament to either its popularity or the frequency with which people search the word loser.