As a balladeer, Stephen Souza will quickly be joining the ranks of Lovers Rocks' top male vocalists. An inspired songwriter, anyone who listens to his songs can relate to them, as they are his words, but your story, and with his soulful voice, his tantalizing lyrics and his charming good looks, you can't help but be captivated.
Photo & text courtesy of Ruff Stuff Records.
At an early age, his family noticed his creative musical mobility, as he was adept at interpreting popular songs and transforming them into his unique style. Stephen's semi-pro debut began with his High School Band, "Phase II". They rocked concerts in Central Jamaica and as their popularity grew they caught the attention of the more established bands such as Fab 5, Chosen Few, Third World and We The People. They were also featured in numerous articles in the Jamaica Daily News, Star and Gleaner. It was Glen Bowen, a reporter from the Daily News who honed the often heard phrase, "Phase II dem talented fe true." As Stephen's and Phase II's fame grew, promoters sought them out to open for many top recording artists such as Yellowman, Toots & the Maytals, and Carlene Davis, just to name a few.
Stephen migrated to the USA, to pursue his studies in electrical engineering and computer science. While at college, pursuing his degree, he seized the opportunity to improve his singing and song writing skills. Stephen provided background vocals on numerous recordings; the most successful of which was Danny Dread's "Respect Due". His next move was to team up with the Mount Vernon Based band, Azmari Jahz. His versatility, energy, and appeal transformed the band into a sexy reggae ensemble, which led them to open for Third World. The audiences loved them and the women just couldn't get enough of Stephen. It was Basil Marshal, formerly of RCA Records, and George Golding, former manager of Third World, who decided to showcase Stephen as a solo artist opening for Dawn Penn and Nadine Sutherland. This union lead to the release of "Crying Over You", a Stephen Souza original which did very well on the local charts.
For the next five years, Stephen Souza's musical home was at Virquarian Records. He was featured on Pam Hall's album, "Magic". Their duet, "Save The Last Dance For Me", received excellent reviews both locally and internationally and was a radio and club favorite in Japan, Sweden and Australia. Also released was the single "Say Yes". Written by Stephen Souza, this single was a radio and club favorite and earned a spot on the charts of Reggae Report magazine's Crucial Cuts. For Virquarian Records, Stephen Souza also wrote and co-produced the single, "Tell Me You're Not Leaving", for Erika Newell of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Another Stephen Souza original "Just One Look" can be found on the compilation CD "Sweet Love Vol. 2".
Now with Ruff Stuff Records, Stephen has headlined at most of the Tri-state's popular nightspots with such "greats" as the late Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Barrington Levy, Sugar Minott, Pam Hall and Glen Washington. Manager and producer Junior "Baugh" Ewart is putting the finishing touches to Stephen's debut album, an impressive collection of original and classic lover's rock.