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L.A.-based “sultry casino pop” singer Willow Stephens performs at the Troubadour’s Sound Collective Showcase this week, so we chatted…
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you start singing, writing and performing, and when did you know it could be a career?
WILLOW STEPHENS: I grew up in a very musical family. I’ve been singing and performing since I could talk. I started studying classical piano when I was 7. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that I started writing and performing my own music. It was magic — I felt like my whole brain was unlocked. I was really hesitant to pursue music professionally. Even after I started recording and releasing music, I was still pursuing a career as a Spanish teacher. I took the summer of 2013 to perform all over the Pacific Northwest and and realized that fear was the only reason I hadn’t gone for it. I didn’t want fear to be the driving force of my life, so I jumped!

Describe your sound…

My sound has been described as sultry casino pop. Think Norah Jones meets Charlie Puth. It’s pop music with smart lyrics, groovy beats and lush harmonies that’s sexy in an understated way.

What is your proudest career moment to date?

I think playing the Troubadour to celebrate the release of my album All That Glitters is gonna top the list. It’s the culmination of so many things. It’s evidence of how I’ve grown and evolved as an artist since I moved to L.A. four years ago. On top of that, I get to showcase this body of work which I am so proud of. I really love these songs.

What can we expect from this show?

This L.A. show will be the first show where I’m not behind an instrument the whole time. I always play keys or guitar. But this time I just get to dance and get into the songs with the audience. I have a really killer band for this show. Everybody’s been working so hard to make it happen.

What’s next?

2020 is gonna be a big year for writing and collaboration. I’m also excited to play some shows up the West Coast later this spring to promote the record. My next gig in L.A. is an acoustic showcase at Writer’s Block L.A., January 28 at the Hotel Cafe.

Willow Stephens plays with Miette Hope, Lucy Walsh and Michelle Vezilj at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 9 at the Troubadour.

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